Schizophrenia Essay

1040 words - 4 pages

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder. It is a disease that makes it difficult

for a person to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to

think logically, to have normal emotional responses to other, and to behave

normally in social situations. People with schizophrenia may also have

difficulty in remembering, talking, and behaving appropriately. Schizophrenia

is one of the most common mental illnesses. About 1% of the world

population has schizophrenia. In the United States, there are about 2.5 million

people with the disease. Schizophrenia is the cause of more hospitalizations

than almost any other illness. Schizophrenia most commonly begins between

the ages of 15 and 25. Although it strikes men and women equally, the

symptoms may appear later in women than in men. Very rarely, the

symptoms of schizophrenia can appear before the age of 12. Childhood

schizophrenia has a more chronic disease course and involves poor early

language development. People with schizophrenia can have a variety of

symptoms. Sometimes, these symptoms come on suddenly. Usually, though,

the illness develops slowly over months or even years. At first, the symptoms

may not be noticed or may be confused with those of other conditions. For

example, people with schizophrenia may feel tense, be unable to concentrate,

or have trouble sleeping. They often become increasingly isolated and

withdrawn as their grip on reality loosens. They do not make or keep friends.

They may stop caring about the way they look. Dropping out of school or

doing badly at work are other early signs of schizophrenia. As the illness

progresses, symptoms of psychosis develop. The person starts to act

strangely and talk nonsensically. People with schizophrenia may develop

paranoid delusions. Examples of this would be that they might see, feel, smell,

or hear things that are not really there. They may have physical symptoms,

like frowning or unusual movements, and may stand or sit in strange positions.

Some people become almost motionless. Others move around constantly.

The severity of symptoms will vary from one person to another. The

symptoms also tend to worsen and improve. When the symptoms are

improved, the person may appear to behave relatively normally, but usually

there will be repeated episodes of the illness that will cause symptoms to

reappear. Schizophrenia is a complex and puzzling illness. Even the experts

are not sure exactly what causes it. Some doctors think that the brain may not

be able to process information correctly. People without schizophrenia

usually can filter out unneeded information: for example, the sound of a train

whistle in the background or a dog barking next door. People with

schizophrenia, however, cannot always filter out this extra information. One

possible cause of schizophrenia may be heredity, or genetics. Experts...

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