Medical Questions » Psychiatry Questions » Question No. 832
|Question:||Could you please write an item on schizophrenia and its consequences? One of the members of my family is marrying someone who has it.|
|Answer:||Schizophrenia is a condition that can have widely varying effects. Many people may have only minimal symptoms and no effect upon their daily life, while at the other extreme, a minority may be permanently hospitalised with severe problems.
The symptoms of schizophrenia may be very subtle at the beginning, with minor changes in personality, and friends commenting that the patient is just not the same person they used to know. This is followed by a deterioration in work, conflicts in relationships and a deterioration in self-care and hygiene.
Patients become perplexed about the way they are feeling, tend to isolate themselves from others and, as the condition worsens, become very anxious and frightened. This may progress to the final stage with the patient being in constant terror caused by a world that is perceived to be out of control.
Other symptoms may include hallucinations, delusions, incoherence in speech, inappropriate emotional reactions, bizarre behaviour, the inability to control bodily functions, hearing imaginary voices, odd beliefs and a lack of energy.
There are no specific blood or other tests that will diagnose schizophrenia. Only the clinical skill of the treating doctor can make the final diagnosis.
There is an hereditary tendency, but it is certainly not the case that people with parents who have schizophrenia will inevitably develop the condition.
The majority of victims can be adequately treated and lead a normal life provided that they use regular medication in the form of daily tablets or injections that are given every few weeks.
Schizophrenia is a disease in the same way that asthma ot diabetes are diseases. All can be controlled by medication, but none can be cured. It is unfortunate that because schizophrenia affects the mind rather than the lungs or blood sugar it is put in a different category by many members of the public.