Schizophrenia is a prevalent mental illness affecting around 24 million people worldwide. Those with the condition often have delusions, hallucinations, and reduced cognitive ability. Spotting these signs is relatively easy; however, one may also experience other symptoms which can be hard to link to schizophrenia. Here, we will focus on some common and uncommon signs. We will also understand how the condition can be treated and managed to improve the patient’s quality of life.
This sign is common in teenagers but uncommon in adults. People with schizophrenia withdraw from society. They try to avoid people, including their friends and family, and be alone in their room. Some also feel like staying in bed all day and show no interest in anything. This includes being disinterested in the activities they once loved, such as a sport or hobby. And any attempt to reach out to them makes them irritated. If this symptom is ignored, one can also fall into depression, making matters worse.
Struggling with the basics
Many people with this mental disorder struggle with basic tasks, like grooming and organizing things. As a result, they depend on their loved ones or caretakers for such activities. The condition also affects their performance at school or work, and they often get annoyed by little things. Some people face memory and concentration issues and find it challenging to remember important information, such as paying bills. The problem develops gradually over time and may be hard to notice initially.
Issues with communication
It is a common sign of the illness. Patients often avoid talking; when they do, they avoid eye contact and get distracted. This makes it difficult to hold a conversation with them. Some individuals face problems pronouncing words and speaking clearly, making it difficult for others to understand what they are saying. Further, patients may fail to maintain a train of thought. They tend to wander away from the topic of discussion or give answers unrelated to what was asked. These symptoms are subtle and last longer in most people.
People who have schizophrenia may experience insomnia. Insomnia is when one finds it hard to fall asleep or get quality sleep even when tired. The patient may toss and turn in bed all night and feel restless. Insomnia is not a new problem, and many people struggle to sleep for months together due to stress, blood pressure problems, cholesterol, etc. However, it is rarely linked to schizophrenia, causing the disorder to go undetected.
Unfortunately, many individuals prefer not to speak about their mental health, which leads to the progression of such disorders until the symptoms become severe. Diagnosing schizophrenia early can help manage the problem better and prevent it from worsening.
How is the condition diagnosed and treated?
When one visits a doctor after experiencing the signs, the health professional first rules out the possibility of other conditions that cause similar symptoms. After that, specific tests are recommended, such as an MRI or CT scan. Depending on the findings of these tests, doctors recommend a treatment plan. The treatment often differs depending on the patient’s age, the disorder’s stage, and the severity of the symptoms.
The doctor may recommend oral treatments to regulate neurotransmitter activity in the brain and thus manage the symptoms. These are often supported by therapies like psychotherapy to normalize thought processes. Family therapy may also be recommended to help the patient’s loved ones cope with the situation. Patients may feel apprehensive while undergoing schizophrenia treatment and may not want to open up with friends and family. However, they must be encouraged to ask for support, help, and other services whenever necessary.