What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that has a long course and is accompanied by a mismatch of mental processes, motor skills and increasing personality changes.

The first signs of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia can develop slowly and imperceptibly for the patient. The first signs of schizophrenia are usually isolation from society, social isolation, emotional coldness, indifference to relatives and their appearance, loss of interest in things and events that carried the patient before. Sleep disturbances are possible. In adolescents, the first signs of schizophrenia can be confused with the problems inherent in this age. A child can begin to learn worse, lose interest in friends, become depressed or irritable, his sleep may be disturbed.

The main symptoms of schizophrenia

Symptoms of schizophrenia are usually divided into 3 main groups. Psychotic (positive) symptoms are hallucinations (patients with schizophrenia often "hear voices"), delusions (misconceptions, while the patient is very difficult, if at all possible, to dissuade them). To the same group of signs of schizophrenia include impaired perception, the inability to tidy up one's own thoughts (patients can stop at the middle of the phrase and / or invent words that do not exist, the speech becomes confusing, difficult to understand) and unusual movements (repeating the same movements again and Again, or "fading" for a long time in a strange pose - catatonia). Negative symptoms of schizophrenia: patients are difficult to show normal emotions, they are not able to have fun, they can look depressed or detached from reality (they are not here, as it were), they do not communicate with other people. Cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia, that is, a violation of the thought process: it is difficult for patients to use the information they just received, make decisions, they can not concentrate, their memory worsens. Each group of symptoms of schizophrenia can be expressed in varying degrees.


There is no single test for schizophrenia. To determine whether a patient has schizophrenia, a psychiatrist's consultation helps. The specialist will conduct a survey to distinguish schizophrenia from other diseases with similar symptoms. It is important to diagnose schizophrenia as early as possible, since the earlier treatment is initiated, the more likely to succeed.

Forms of Schizophrenia

The American Psychiatric Association has abolished the division into catatonic, paranoid and disorganized schizophrenia, since this does not help to select a treatment and to understand how effective it will be. However, the previous version of the Manual on Diagnostic and Statistical Mental Illness (DSM-IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association, reflected two types of classification of schizophrenia: the nature of the course (continuous or sluggish schizophrenia and paroxysmal schizophrenia) and manifestations (catatonic schizophrenia, Disorganized schizophrenia, paranoid schizophrenia, undifferentiated and residual).

With catatonic schizophrenia, the patient does not talk and remains in one posture for hours and days, but on the contrary - shows an increased but aimless activity: walks in circles, waving his hands, makes loud noises, grimaces, repeats words and movements of other people. The patient may not respond to requests and resist attempts to change his posture. It is also possible wax flexibility - with this hand or leg of the patient can be given any position, and it will remain in this position for hours. With disorganized schizophrenia, a person loses touch with reality. His thoughts are confused, too. Characteristically disorganized behavior - the inability to dress, wash, prepare food, establish meaningless disputes, as well as a languid manifestation of emotions, lack of eye contact, body language. Sometimes patients show emotions incongruously situations, for example, can laugh out loud during a serious conversation. Paranoid schizophrenia is nonsense and auditory hallucinations. Characteristic signs of this form - anxiety, anger, a tendency to argue, violent actions, thoughts of suicide and that someone wants to harm the patient or his relatives. With the residual form negative symptoms are present (it is difficult for patients to show normal emotions, they are not able to have fun), and positive (delusions, hallucinations) may not be or they are weakly expressed. About undifferentiated schizophrenia is said if there are psychotic symptoms (delirium, hallucinations), but the picture does not correspond completely to catatonic, disorganized or paranoid schizophrenia.

Stages of schizophrenia

In the course of schizophrenia, the stage of exacerbation is distinguished, when the psychotic symptoms (delirium, hallucinations) are the strongest, and remission, when these symptoms are weak or nonexistent. Sometimes another stage of stabilization is identified - an intermediate stage between exacerbation and remission.

Treatment of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia can be treated, but can not be cured completely. Existing ways of treating schizophrenia help to get rid of the manifestations of the disease or reduce them; Today many patients with schizophrenia can lead a normal life, find a job, create a family. But they must constantly take antipsychotics selected by the doctor. Sometimes a patient has to try several while there is a medicine that is right for him. Drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia can cause such side effects as blurred vision, anxiety, drowsiness, dizziness, rashes and others. Patients can gain weight. But sharply to throw medicines from a schizophrenia it is impossible, about all by-effects it is necessary to tell to the doctor, he will pick up other preparation. In the treatment of schizophrenia, psychotherapy, group therapy, rehabilitation and educational programs, training of social skills are also used.

Medicines for schizophrenia belong to the group of antipsychotic drugs. They help to eliminate or reduce hallucinations, delusions, impaired perception and other psychotic symptoms, and also reduce the risk of exacerbation. Antipsychotic drugs can be administered orally (through the mouth) and injectively (with the help of injections). Currently, there are long-acting drugs that can be injected every two weeks or a month. Drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia can cause such side effects as blurred vision, anxiety, dizziness, palpitations, rashes and others. Patients can gain weight. But the doctor can replace the medicine for schizophrenia.

Is schizophrenia a disability?

Schizophrenia can be an indication of disability, but this decision is made by experts of the medical and social expert commission. Studies show that 70 percent of those with schizophrenia in the United States would like to get a job on a general basis, but this is less than 15 percent of patients. Working and earning, people with schizophrenia can feel themselves useful members of society, in addition, teamwork improves social skills, while self-isolation at home worsens negative symptoms. It is recommended that working patients avoid stress and fatigue. In the UK, they are entitled to a shorter working day and a flexible schedule. If the patient does not work, he is entitled to financial support.