Here's Exactly How it Feels to be Schizophrenic
Schizophrenia is one of the most widely misunderstood disorders, and sometimes it is even confused for multiple personality disorder. However, it's important to understand what it's really like to have schizophrenia, as there is between one and two out of a hundred people worldwide suffer from this mental disorder. While that might not seem like a lot, one may never know when it could be effecting their family member, friend, or neighbor. Therefore, it is highly important to learn what it's like in order to offer compassion and understanding.
How schizophrenia develops
Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that can develop from a young age, even sometimes as early as five years old. However, it is more common for men to develop it between 16 and 25, and women between 25 and 30. Despite the discrepancies in age, men and women have equal risks of developing the disorder. To date, there is no definitive cause of schizophrenia, but many believe that genetic make-up, pre-natal viruses, and early brain damage could be responsible.
There are many symptoms associated with schizophrenia that include hallucinations, disordered thinking, delusions, and unusual speech patterns or behavior.
Unfortunately, there has not been a cure for schizophrenia as of yet, and only one in five patients experience a full recovery. However, there are methods of treatment, such as antipsychotic drugs, that are usually prescribed to patients.
Certain therapies like electro-convulsive therapy, where a small amount of electric current is placed on the brain to cause seizures, are still given, but have been dismissed by many. Another way that helps patients to alleviate symptoms is taking a large dose of Vitamin D.
The most common treatment, antipsychotic drugs, treat the abnormalities in the structural connectivity of the brain. When the brain is impacted by schizophrenia, a significantly higher number of neurotransmitters are released between neurons, resulting in the symptoms associated with the disorder.
Researchers initially believed the problem originated from too much dopamine in the brain, but soon discovered that serotonin, a neurotransmitter, plays a large role in the development of the disease as well. This was found by tests that showed many patients who experienced more positive results when taking medications that made an impact on serotonin as well as dopamine transitions inside of their brains.
New technology, testing, and procedures has enabled scientists to learn more about the structures of schizophrenic brains by launching new studies. By Magnetic Resonance Imagery (MRI) and Magnetic Resonance Spectroscropy (MRS), the different lobes of the brains were examined and compared to brains of those who did not have schizophrenia. The structures were shown to vary significantly, with the most common result of enlarged lateral ventricles, which are fluid-filled sacs that surround the brain. There were also other differences that proved to be significant, despite the fact that they could not be considered universal. Some evidence shows that the volume of the brain may be lessened, and the cerebral cortex could be smaller. Further testing would be necessary to ascertain how common these traits are and how they impact schizophrenia specifically.