The common misconception about schizophrenia is the belief that the individual affected has multiple personalities in one brain. This is simply not a true diagnosis. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to recognize what is real. Being able to distinguish from what is real or not real is an important characteristic in being a productive member of society. Being unable to determine the difference between what is real and imaginary means you need help before you scare everyone off. Imagine being unable to socialize at a birthday party because you think you hear voices trapped in the birthday cake. Sounds scary
Common symptoms for schizophrenia include false beliefs (not the religious kind usually), hallucinations (such as seeing a purple unicorn), delusions (thinking you are the governor), confused or unclear thinking, inactivity (couch potato) and reduced social engagement/emotional expression. A person with schizophrenia has a tendency to withdraw from society, avoid human contact to the extreme, dress sloppily, lose a sense of good hygiene, and lose motivation and judgment. Some might even interpret some of these symptoms as depression.
Schizophrenia can affect anyone. It’s not a virus that can be caught from shaking hands or kissing. There are certain genetic and environmental issues that attribute to developing schizophrenia. In some studies, they have determined that alcohol abuse and drug addiction can initiate schizophrenia in patients. It kind of makes sense considering that both affect the brain with heavy use. There is no cure, all you can do is manage the symptoms and try to live a healthy and normal life.
The primary treatment of schizophrenia is antipsychotic medications, often in combination with psychological and social support systems. Prescription drugs are not the sole cure. Seeking psychiatric help as well as from your family are important parts of treatment. Hospitalization does occur in some instances for severe cases or even for continued monitoring when a patient can’t be relied upon. The most important part is to disregard the stigma of schizophrenia and seek proper treatment.
There is a whole list of drugs available for treatment. At one point I counted over 50 drugs that can assist with treatment. I never realized how prevalent it was until I saw the list of prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have been busy. The most common prescribed drugs are Abilify, Geodon, Latuda, Seroquel, Zyprexa and Risperdal. So now the question becomes which is the right medication for the patient.