SCHIZOPHRENIA

Charles was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was only 12. His late mother and grandmother were victims of schizophrenia. He had trouble with attention and memory. He couldn’t concentrate or focus his attention on a specific thing in his environment. He had difficulties separating relevant information from irrelevant information. Due to this difficulty, he was afflicted by a deluge of information that he couldn’t properly process; this led him to hallucinate and be delusional, taking everything to be true or real.

Charles strongly believed that his classmates were conspiring against him. He even went the extra mile to sue them, and even when there was compelling evidence contradicting his claim, he assumed that he was being silenced by these “conspirers”.

He would hear voices that weren’t there, feel bugs crawling on his skin even though there were no bugs and see faces and figures that didn’t exist.

When asked a question, he would give an answer that had nothing to do with the question. When he spoke, he would say things that were not coherent.

As a psychotic person, he had problems expressing his emotions; he always expressed himself through sudden shouting and pacing about. He sometimes even publicly masturbated in-front of his class. These strange acts of his scared his classmates away. He had no friends and was always isolated from the lot.

Symptoms: people with this disorder are mostly delusional. They may strongly believe that their minds are being controlled by someone’s else, that they have great power and are more important than any one in this world or that people are conspiring against them. Schizophrenic people also experience hallucinations. These hallucinations could be auditory; where they hear voices that don’t exist, tactile; where they believe that something is happening outside their body eg. the perception that bugs are crawling on your back and somatic; which involves the perception that something is happening inside the person eg. the believe that worms are eating one’s intestines. They have disorganized thoughts and speech. They speak incoherently and when asked questions, they give answers unrelated to the question presented. They have problems with attention, memory and the speed at which they process information. Schizophrenic people also have a severe reduction in or absence of emotional expressions.

Causes: genetics play a role in the acquisition of schizophrenia; we can say it runs in families. A gross reduction of the gray matter and deficits in the hippocampus could also cause this disorder. Excess dopamine is also known to be a common cause. Stress alone cannot cause schizophrenia but it triggers schizophrenic episodes.

MentalMondays by Akwama

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