What is the disease/ condition?
Schizophrenia is an illness that affects the normal functioning of the brain, interfering with a person’s ability to think, feel and act. Some do recover completely, and, with time, most find that their symptoms improve. However, for many it is a prolonged illness which can involve years of distressing symptoms and disability.
People affected by schizophrenia have one 'personality', just like everyone else. It is a myth and totally untrue that this affected have a so-called split personality.
Cause of the disease/condition
No single cause of schizophrenia has been identified, but several factors have been shown to associate with its onset. Men and women have an equal chance of developing the illness, although the onset for me is often earlier. • Genetic factors A predisposition to schizophrenia can run in families. In the general population, only one precent of people develop it over their lifetime, but if one parent has the illness it increases the child's chance to 10 precent • Biochemical factors Certain biochemical substances in the bran are believed to be involved in schizophrenia, especially a neurotransmitter called dopamine. One likely cause of this chemical imbalance is the person’s genetic predisposition to the illness. Complications during pregnancy or birth that causes structural damage to the brain may also be involved. • Family relationships/stress No evidence has been found to support the suggestion that family relationships. However some people with the illness are sensitive to family tension, which for them may be associated with recurrent episodes. It is well recognized that stressful incidents often precede the onset of schizophrenia. These may act as precipitating events in vulnerable people.
• Alcohol and other drug use Harmful alcohol and other drug use, particularly cannabis and amphetamine us, may trigger psychosis in people who are vulnerable to developing schizophrenia. While substances use does not cause schizophrenia, it is strongly related to relapse.
Treatment for the disease/condition Because the causes of schizophrenia still aren't 100 precent, treatments focus on eliminating the symptoms of the disease. Treatments included antipsychotic medications and various psychosocial treatments.
Prevention of the disease/condition
There's no sure way to prevent schizophrenia. However, early treatment may help get symptoms under control before serious complications develop and may help improve the long-term outlook. Sticking with the treatment plan can help prevent relapses or worsening of schizophrenia symptoms. In addition, researchers hope that learning more about risk factors for schizophrenia may lead to earlier diagnosis and earlier treatment.
For people at increased risk of schizophrenia, taking proactive steps such as avoiding illegal drug use, reducing stress, getting enough sleep and starting antipsychotic medications as soon as necessary may help minimize symptoms or prevent them from worsening.
Statistics about the disease/condition * Schizophrenia is the most severe of the mental illnesses and can affect all spheres of life, including perception, thought, judgement, mood, drive and ultimately, personality. * Approximately fifteen people in every thousand will be affected over their lifetime. * This will lead to well over a million Australians (as family and friends) being directly involved. * Schizophrenia is ten times more common than AIDS, cot death and melanoma combined. * It is estimated that schizophrenia costs the community at least $2.5 billion per year in direct costs, which can be multiplied many times to account for the indirect costs. * Schizophrenia occurs in all societies at about the same rate, regardless of class, colour, religion, culture or intelligence. * The majority of people will develop schizophrenia between the ages of 15 and 30 -