What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a severe and chronic mental disorder, which affects the way a person thinks, behaves or feels. Schizophrenia in children is very rare and its symptoms usually start between 16-30 years of age.
People with schizophrenia often seem as if they have lost touch with reality.
What Are The Symptoms Of Schizophrenia?
Symptoms of Schizophrenia can be categorized into following three categories:
1. Positive symptoms: Psychotic behaviours, not seen in healthy people normally. People having positive symptoms sometimes lose touch with some aspects of reality. Positive symptoms may be:
- Movement disorders
- The dysfunctional or unusual way of thinking, thinking disorder.
2. Negative symptoms: Negative symptoms disrupt normal behaviours and emotions. Some of the symptoms are:
- Flat affect: Expression of emotions through voice, tone or face reduces.
- The feeling of pleasure reduces in everyday life.
- Lesser speaking
- Difficulty in starting or sustaining activities.
3. Cognitive symptoms: These are subtle for some and severe for others. Patients may experience changes in memory or other thinking aspects. Cognitive symptoms include:
- Executive functioning: Poor ability to understand, process and make use of information for decision making.
- Trouble in focusing or paying attention.
- Problems with working memory: the ability to make use of information immediately after learning it.
What Are The Causes Of Schizophrenia?
Exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown; however, a combination of physical, environmental, certain factors like genetic and psychological factors seems to play an important role in the development of schizophrenia.
Some factors that can lead to schizophrenia are as follows:
- Brain development
- Changes in levels of neurotransmitters
- Complications during birth.
- Drug abuse
What Are The Things One Should Do To Manage Schizophrenia?
If you have a family member with schizophrenia, remember that:
- A delusion doesn’t go away by reasoning and hence no discussion is needed.
- Separate the person from the disorder. Love the person, irrespective of your hate for the disorder.
- You may need to renegotiate your emotional relationship and to revise your expectations.
- Strange behaviour is the symptom of the disorder. Hence, don't take it personally.
- You are not alone. Sharing your feelings and thoughts with others in a support group is helpful and relieves stress.
What Are The Things One Should Avoid To Manage Schizophrenia?
In order to lower the risk of schizophrenia, one should:
- Avoid social isolation. Be socially active.
- Avoid street drugs and reduce alcohol.
- Don’t’ continue under stress for long. Take professional counselor's help on how to reduce stress.
- Learn to manage your relationships in a healthy manner.
- Keep yourself busy as the idle mind is more prone to mental disorders.
What Are The Best Foods For Schizophrenia?
- Fish oil and Omega 3 fatty acids usually found in linseed, salmon and mackerel, sardines, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, soya bean and hen’s eggs.
- Omega 3 fatty acids contain a chemical called EPA, which is vital to the functioning of the nervous and immune system. In children, it is necessary for good brain development.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables with colours, which will fulfil your daily need of anti-oxidants.
- Eat vitamin B rich whole foods like nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables.
- Folic acids rich foods like green vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and seeds
- B12 rich foods like meat, fish, eggs and dairy produce.
What Are The Worst Foods For Schizophrenia?
- Carbonated drinks full of sugary syrup are dangerous for people with schizophrenia.
- Gluten rich foods like pasta, bread, barley
- Dried fruits (these have high sugar content and reduce a key hormone of the brain called BNDF)
- Processed foods as they can cause nutritional deficiencies
- Stimulants like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine.
What Are The Medicines For Schizophrenia?
What Are The Tips To Manage Schizophrenia?
- Try to engage the patient in conversation, whenever he/she talks about his/her fear
- Schizophrenia can relapse any time, hence watch out for symptoms.
- Do not leave the treatment once the patient starts feeling better. Complete the treatment till doctor advises.
- Pl. don’t challenge the patient’s beliefs or delusions, as very ‘real’ for the person who is experiencing it.