When it's left untreated, the mental disorder schizophrenia can have tragic effects on a person's life. Problems with the physical makeup of the brain or with its balance of neurochemicals can lead to this disease. Its effects most often show up in people aged 16 to 30.
A Devastating Illness
In essence, schizophrenia separates patients' minds from the real world. They might hallucinate or suffer from powerful delusions, and they might start moving their bodies in erratic ways. Their thought processes and reasoning abilities are often disturbed as well.
Other effects of schizophrenia are less dramatic but equally problematic. Many patients have a hard time focusing and finishing the projects they've started. Their memories can be adversely affected. They might show little or no emotion and speak infrequently or not at all. Some people with schizophrenia are just plain unhappy all the time.
Schizophrenia on a Day-to-Day Basis
Given the drastic symptoms of this disorder, how does schizophrenia affect daily life? Understandably, many schizophrenic patients are unable to hold a job. Therefore, they must live with friends or relatives who can care for them.
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On a typical day, schizophrenics might hear voices in their heads. It could be one voice at a time or multiple speakers, and they may converse with those voices or even follow their orders. And, at times, those instructions can lead patients to inadvertently harm themselves.
If you live with a schizophrenic individual, you may occasionally have trouble communicating with him or her. In fact, that person might sit still and remain silent for hours at a time. He or she might not respond or even look at you when you say something. At other times, the answers you get might not have anything to do with what you said. In addition, you may need to help that person carry out some of the basics of personal hygiene.
Daily life with schizophrenia can be frightening. In many instances, patients come to believe that they are in some kind of danger or that certain people they know are plotting to harm them. Naturally, these misconceptions can lead to ranting and raving, antisocial behaviors and higher levels of negative stress.
What's more, when people with schizophrenia go to public places by themselves, they could face ridicule for their actions, or they could unwittingly start fights with people who don't realize they have the disease.
Even as all of these symptoms are emerging, most schizophrenics either won't understand that they have a problem or will downplay it. For example, they might believe that they simply need to relax more.
Keep in mind that the severity and intensity of these schizophrenic symptoms varyfrom patient to patient. In some people, they might be relatively mild. Furthermore, most people who have schizophrenia are not dangerous to other people. Nevertheless, this disorder almost always has negative consequences on a person's career, social life, physical health and emotional well-being.
The good news here is that schizophrenia can be treated. Different courses of treatment work for different people. Possibilities include psychotherapy, art therapy, medications or some combination thereof. For more information on how you or someone you love can get help for schizophrenia and return to a productive and happy life, please contact Affinity Treatment Centers.