Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that typically manifests in early adulthood. The disorder is marked by a range of symptoms including hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking and behaviour. Schizophrenia can be a very debilitating condition, affecting an individual’s ability to work, study and socialise.
Genetic & environmental factors
There is no one cause of schizophrenia, but the condition is thought to be triggered by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Schizophrenia is treatable and many people with the disorder are able to live relatively normal lives with the help of medication and support from family and friends.
The first step in managing schizophrenia is to see a GP or mental health professional. They will ask about your symptoms and may carry out some tests to rule out other conditions.
If you are diagnosed with schizophrenia, you will usually be referred to a specialist team who will work with you to develop a treatment plan. This may involve taking medication, attending counselling sessions and or participating in support groups.
Early warning signs of a relapse
There are several early warning signs that a person with schizophrenia may be about to experience a relapse. These include:
⦁ Increased anxiety or agitation
⦁ Sleeping more or less than usual
⦁ Withdrawing from social activities
⦁ Poor hygiene
⦁ Unusual or grandiose ideas
⦁ Odd or bizarre behaviour
⦁ Confusion or disorientation
⦁ Paranoia or suspiciousness
How can loved ones help?
If you have a relative or friend with schizophrenia, there are several things you can do to help them manage their condition.
⦁ Educate yourself about the condition so that you can better understand what they are going through
⦁ Encourage them to stick to their treatment plan
⦁ Be supportive & understanding
⦁ Make sure they have access to reliable information about the condition
⦁ Offer to go with them to appointments
⦁ Encourage healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a balanced diet and getting regular exercise
If you think you or someone you know may be suffering from schizophrenia, it is important to seek professional help. Early intervention can often help to prevent the condition from being fully-blown.
Would you like to help?
You can by donating to the Lions Medical Research Foundation – Spring Hill, Queensland. We’re committed to raising funds for medical research into mental disorders such as Schizophrenia. Although treatments have come a long way, there is still more work and discoveries to be done. Your support would be greatly appreciated.