Updated: Oct 23, 2019
When thinking about schizophrenia one might think of someone who hears and sees things that aren’t there, and that people who experience symptoms like these are incompatible with the rest of society and need to be thrown into an asylum for their own safety.
In this article I’ll aim to discuss what exactly schizophrenia is by bringing up what the symptoms are, differentiating it from psychosis and discussing the ways people with this disorder cope with it their day to day lives.
Schizophrenia is a chronic (An illness persisting for a long time or constantly recurring) mental disorder which affects less than 1 percent of the population of the United States, making it quite rare (1). Symptoms of this disorder can but may not always include; hallucinations, delusions, Impaired speech (2), lack of motivation and trouble with thinking and concentration (1).
Schizophrenia is often confused with psychosis. Psychosis is referred to as a syndrome or a group of symptoms and major indicators include hallucinations and delusions which are two very common traits of a schizophrenic; however schizophrenia causes psychosis, not the other way around (3). Psychosis may even be triggered by other brain disorders such as Bipolar disorder, depression, dementia and borderline personality disorder. Psychosis is the symptom of something larger and not an illness on it’s own, those who experience psychosis most likely have a mental disorder that triggers it while schizophrenia is not a symptom, it’s an actual disorder.
Another common misconception about schizophrenia is that those who have it are often violent, dangerous and are either homeless or live in hospitals where they are kept away from the rest of society (1). Most schizophrenics actually live lives that are quite similar to the ones that undiagnosed people live, they usually live with family, in groups or on their own (1). With medicinal and psychological research on the rise, it is becoming more and more possible for schizophrenics to live a normal life, and the two most common treatments include; psychosocial treatments and coordinated specialty care (CSC).
Psychosocial treatments These treatments are most helpful for those patients who have already found medication which works best for them. In treatment patients learn to find healthy coping skills to handle the everyday challenges that come with schizophrenia which in the long run helps them pursue their life goals. Those who participate in this regularly are less likely to be hospitalized or have a relapse in the future (4).
CSC This form of treatment integrates different kinds of treatment such as medication and psychosocial therapy. It also includes the involvement of family, supported education and employment services which is all aimed to relieve symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life(4).