Schizophrenia affects millions worldwide. It is important that we continue to raise awareness of the condition and the challenges people face with it.
Schizophrenia affects a person’s thinking, feelings and how they experience and interpret the world around them. The most common symptoms include but are not limited to hearing voices, delusions, and disorganised thinking. Many physicians describe schizophrenia as a type of psychosis, meaning that the person may not always be able to distinguish their own thoughts from reality.
Schizophrenia typically develops in early adulthood. The cause of schizophrenia is unknown however psychiatrists believe it may be a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. There is no one test to diagnose schizophrenia; a mental health specialist would usually assess the patient and their symptoms before making a diagnosis. A combination of talk therapy and medicine, such as antipsychotics, are used to treat schizophrenia. Up to 60% of people do not seek treatment for schizophrenia. Seeking treatment can help alleviate symptoms allowing one to live an every day and healthy life. Managing symptoms with cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help make future episodes of schizophrenia less severe.
The brain is divided into different lobes and different lobes of the brain are affected by schizophrenia. There is an overactivity of the Wernicke’s area of the temporal lobe in this condition. Wernicke’s is associated with speech and this area is associated with the creation of auditory hallucinations. The basal ganglia are involved in movement and emotions, when this functions abnormally, it can contribute to paranoia and hallucinations. The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown, but research believes that one of glutamates' key targets on neurons, the NMDA receptor does not signal correctly. This would be in line with the symptoms experienced.
Film and media have created an awful portrayal of schizophrenia, this day is to highlight what schizophrenia is. People with schizophrenia do not have a split personality as depicted in film nor are they outwardly violent. Movies such as Shutter Island and Donnie Darko are a very ill portrayal of schizophrenia. These movies are extremely popular, and create a very poor opinion of schizophrenia among the public. These movies portray the main characters as being outwardly violent and committing crimes. These are not characteristics of schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia are more likely to harm themselves than to harm others.
With treatment, schizophrenia can be managed. The portrayal and opinion surrounding this mental health disorder needs to change. People are afraid to seek treatment due to being afraid of how others might view them.