Sunday, July 24, 2011

Schizophrenia Definition and Symptoms

Schizophrenia is a challenging disorder that makes it difficult to distinguish between what is real and unreal, think clearly, manage emotions, and relate to others. These obstacles can get in the way of your ability to function normally and take care of yourself. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope.
The truth is, schizophrenia can be successfully managed. The first step is identifying the signs and symptoms. The second step is seeking help without delay. The third is sticking with treatment. With the right treatment and support from family, friends, and health professionals, a person with schizophrenia can lead a happy, fulfilling life.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects the way a person acts, thinks, and sees the world. People with schizophrenia have an altered perception of reality, often a significant loss of contact with reality. They may see or hear things that don’t exist, speak in strange or confusing ways, believe that others are trying to harm them, or feel like they’re being constantly watched. With such a blurred line between the real and the imaginary, schizophrenia makes it difficult—even frightening—to negotiate the activities of daily life. In response, people with schizophrenia may withdraw from the outside world or act out in confusion and fear.
Most cases of schizophrenia appear in the late teens or early adulthood. For men, the average age of onset is 25. For women, typical onset is around the age of 30. However, schizophrenia can appear for the first time in middle age or even later. In rare cases, schizophrenia can even affect young children and adolescents, although the symptoms are slightly different. In general, the earlier schizophrenia develops, the more severe it is. Schizophrenia also tends to be more severe in men than in women.


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