Coping with Schizophrenia

drkmh Coping with Schizophrenia


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Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It is a lifelong illness, but it can be treated. Prompt treatment is important, as it can help to reduce the severity of symptoms and improve the long-term outlook. Treatment typically involves a combination of medication and therapy.


The 5 Symptoms of Schizophrenia


People with schizophrenia may experience a range of symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking, and impaired social functioning. These symptoms can be distressing and disabling, but they can be treated.


  • Delusions are false beliefs that are not based in reality. For example, someone with schizophrenia might believe that they are being followed, that they have special powers, or that their thoughts are being controlled by someone else.
  • Hallucinations are sensory experiences that occur in the absence of a real stimulus. For example, someone with schizophrenia might hear voices, see visions, or smell things that are not there.
  • Disorganized thinking is characterized by difficulty thinking clearly and expressing thoughts in a coherent way. This can make it difficult for people with schizophrenia to communicate with others and to make decisions.
  • Impaired social functioning can include withdrawal from social activities, difficulty maintaining relationships, and problems with work or school.
  • Negative symptoms are a group of symptoms that are characterized by a reduction or absence of normal behaviours and functions. These symptoms can include:
    • Reduced motivation is when the person has difficulty starting or completing tasks, and they may seem apathetic or indifferent.
    • Social withdrawal causes the individual to avoid social interaction, and they may seem uninterested in spending time with others.
    • Emotional blunting is when people with negative symptoms have difficulty expressing emotions, and they may seem flat or monotone.
    • Anhedonia is when the individual loses interest in activities that he used to enjoy, and he may find it difficult to experience pleasure.
    • Alogia is when people with negative symptoms may speak less than usual, and they may have difficulty generating words or expressing their thoughts.

What causes Schizophrenia?


The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and brain-related factors. Neuroimaging studies have shown differences in the brain structure and central nervous system of people with schizophrenia. These differences suggest that schizophrenia is a brain disease, but researchers are still not sure what causes these changes.


Some risk factors for Schizophrenia are listed below:


  • Genetics People with a family history of schizophrenia are more likely to develop the disorder. This suggests that there may be genes that increase the risk of schizophrenia.
  • Brain chemistry Problems with certain naturally occurring brain chemicals, including neurotransmitters called dopamine and glutamate, may contribute to schizophrenia. These chemicals play a role in how the brain communicates, and imbalances in these chemicals can lead to changes in thinking, behaviour, and perception.
  • Environment Some environmental factors, such as exposure to certain viruses or toxins, may also increase the risk of schizophrenia. Additionally, stressful life events can trigger the onset of schizophrenia in people who are already at risk.
  • Age Schizophrenia typically develops in young adults, between the ages of 15 and 25. However, it can also develop in children or later in life.
  • Sex Men are slightly more likely to develop schizophrenia than women.
  • Migration: People who have migrated to a new country may be at increased risk of schizophrenia. This is thought to be due to the stress of adjusting to a new culture and environment.
  • Substance abuse: People who abuse drugs or alcohol are more likely to develop schizophrenia. This is thought to be due to the effects of these substances on the brain.

Coping With Schizophrenia


Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness that can be treated but not cured. The goal of treatment is to help people with schizophrenia manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.


  • Medication

    Medication is used to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia. Antipsychotic medications are the most commonly prescribed type of medication for schizophrenia. These medications work by affecting the brain’s neurotransmitters, which are chemicals that send signals between nerve cells.

  • Reduce and Regulate Stress

    Stress can trigger or worsen symptoms of schizophrenia. Finding ways to regulate stress can help you to manage your symptoms and to improve your overall well-being. Some helpful stress-management techniques include relaxation techniques, exercise, and spending time with loved ones.

  • Take care of yourself

    Taking care of yourself physically and mentally can help you to cope with the symptoms of schizophrenia. It is important to get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly and find ways to relax and de-stress. Some helpful activities include yoga, meditation, and spending time in nature.

  • Choose Right

    Making healthy lifestyle choices can help you to cope with schizophrenia and to improve your overall health. This includes eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. It is also important to avoid smoking and excessive alcohol use.

  • Awareness of the Condition.

    Learning more about schizophrenia can help you to understand the disorder and its symptoms. This can help you to manage your expectations and to cope with the challenges that you may face. There are many resources available to help you learn more about schizophrenia, including books, websites, and support groups.

  • Go for Therapy

    There are many different types of therapy that can be helpful for people with schizophrenia. These include cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), family therapy, and social skills training. CBT can help you to identify and change negative thought patterns that contribute to your symptoms. Family therapy can help you to improve communication with your family and to develop a support system. Social skills training can help you to improve your social interactions and to develop coping mechanisms for dealing with difficult situations.

  • A Good Support System

    Having a dedicated support system can make a significant difference in the lives of people with schizophrenia. This support system can include family, friends, therapists, and other people who understand what you are going through.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, it is important to seek professional help. Prompt treatment can make a significant difference in the outcome of the illness.


Dr. Vidhya Mohandoss is a Psychiatrist
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