Schizophrenia is a chronic disorder, and fears about it rarely contain any truth. While it can be serious, a diagnosis of schizophrenia doesn’t mean a life of never-ending worsening symptoms and recurring hospitalizations. It means setting aside the myths that say you can’t get better, embarking on the treatments that have proven you can.
For some, schizophrenia suddenly appears without warning. Though for most, it’s slower, starting with subtle warning signs and a gradual decline in functioning. Often, loved ones will know early on before the first severe episode some things are not quite right but are unable to tell why. Early on, you may seem eccentric, unmotivated, emotionless, and reclusive to others. You may neglect your appearance, abandon hobbies and activities, and work or school performance may deteriorate.
Symptoms vary dramatically from person to person in pattern and severity and can change over time. Not everyone will experience all symptoms, but there are five most common types:
- Delusions– Illogical, bizarre ideas or fantasies despite clear evidence it’s not true.
- Hallucinations– Auditory sensations believed to be real.
- Disorganized speech– Repetition of words or statements, made-up words, shifting from topic to topic.
- Disorganized behavior– Lack of impulse control and decline in daily functioning.
- “Negative” symptoms– Seemingly lacking interest in the world. Lack of emotional expression.
How Schizophrenia Can Affect Your Life
The most common form is schizophrenia with paranoia. Individuals with paranoid schizophrenia may see or hear things that don’t exist. They may speak in confusing ways and believe that others are trying to harm them or feel they’re constantly watched. These disrupt normal daily activities like bathing, eating, or running errands. Many also experience relationship issues, withdraw from the outside world, and act out in confusion and fear.
Schizophrenia symptoms can make life difficult at times. However, many people can manage their symptoms and function independently. With the proper support, medication, therapy, and self-help strategies, it’s possible to live a full, rewarding life with schizophrenia.
You Can’t Outgrow Schizophrenia, but You Can Help Improve Options.
When a potential new therapy for schizophrenia is discovered, clinical research studies are vital to bringing them closer to the patients who need them. Research studies form partnerships with patient volunteers. Through their experiences with schizophrenia, we can evaluate the safety and effectiveness of these potential options before they are available to the public.