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Schizophrenia: Symptoms and Treatment

  1. It is often said that people with schizophrenia have multiple personalities. However, this is based on a misunderstanding that has arisen because the word schizophrenia in Greek means "split mind." Schizophrenia is a complex disease with serious consequences.

  1. Voices in your head, delusions, confusion. Psychosis can indicate schizophrenia, but not everyone who goes through psychosis has the condition. We only speak of schizophrenia when someone undergoes one long-term or multiple psychoses and no longer functions properly in between. A psychosis can also occur after a difficult period, with drug use or depression.

Positive symptoms

  1. In schizophrenia, the symptoms associated with psychosis are called positive symptoms. These are visible symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations and confusion. A person's feelings in psychosis don't seem to match what's going on around them. They live in their own reality and cannot separate external stimuli. This creates an overdose of stimuli and the brain becomes overloaded.

Delusions

  1. Some patients think they are being chased or poisoned, others see themselves as God or someone with extraordinary gifts. The first is more commonly known as paranoid delusion, the second an identity delusion. A third well-known delusion is relational delusion: someone thinks that events or reports, for example in the media, are especially intended for him.

Hallucinations

  1. In hallucinations you see, feel, smell or hear things that others do not perceive. Hearing voices and seeing things or people are especially common. Such a voice can also provide comments, advice or commands.

Confusion

  1. Someone with schizophrenia has a hard time getting their thoughts straight. In a conversation he jumps from one subject to another, loses the thread of the story or rattles on and on. Behavior can also change. This is expressed, for example, in strange facial expressions and body movements.

Negative symptoms

  1. The positive symptoms of schizophrenia are the visible complaints. Absence or obliteration of something is also common. We call this the negative symptoms. You can think of a lack of energy and motivation, flattened emotions, memory problems and difficulty with concentration. These symptoms often make it difficult for people with schizophrenia to work, maintain social contacts and live independently. People also function less well socially and psychologically in the periods between psychoses.

Origin

  1. Heredity plays an important role in schizophrenia. The condition is more common in some families than in others. Some scientists think that schizophrenia already develops during pregnancy, others see a disturbance in the development of the nervous system during childhood as the cause. Psychological and social factors determine whether this predisposition to schizophrenia is actually expressed. Dramatic and stressful events can trigger the disease. People with schizophrenia do not tolerate change and stress. The use of drugs can also trigger psychosis in some people.

Treatment

  1. Almost 1 percent of the Dutch have some form of schizophrenia. The disease usually manifests itself between the ages of 16 and 30. The consequences are often drastic. About 10 percent of patients eventually take their own lives. Schizophrenia cannot be cured, but it can often be treated well. The sooner you start, the greater the chance of a good result. Medicines, therapy and contact with fellow sufferers together form the best treatment for most patients. Antipsychotics can reduce psychosis. They help to think clearly and push the delusions and hallucinations into the background. The negative symptoms are also reduced. Therapy (for example talk therapy or behavioral therapy) also contributes to a reduction of the symptoms and also provides a better insight into the diseases, leads to recognition of symptoms and helps to combat subsequent psychosis. During a psychosis, temporary admission to a psychiatric hospital may sometimes be necessary. Such an admission is decided in consultation with the patient, general practitioner or practitioner.

  2. Almost 1 percent of the Dutch have some form of schizophrenia. The disease usually manifests itself between the ages of 16 and 30. The consequences are often drastic. About 10 percent of patients end up



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