Understanding Schizophrenia

This is the 27th in a series of blogs, using answers I provided to pass Mental Health qualifications.  This series of blogs are about different types of depression, this being the first of three about Schizophrenia.

As with many mental health subjects, they can all be massive topics with reams of books written on them.  I will aim to break schizophrenia down into 3 easy to read blogs, describing schizophrenia and the possible causes, how schizophrenia can affect individuals and the people around them, and how it can be treated and managed. 

I strongly believe there is no one-size-fits all approach to managing any kind of mental health condition. It is the main reason why I am not a massive advocate of medication.  I prefer to consider natural, healthy ways to recognise and manage any kind of mental ill health, tailoring each treatment and therapy to suit each individual. I do this from experience.  It is what helped me which is why I believe it can help others too.

The meaning of the term ‘schizophrenia’

It is considered that 21 million people worldwide have schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness affecting an individual’s thought processes, resulting in symptoms of paranoia, psychosis, delusions and hallucinations, cognitive impairment, social withdrawal, self-neglect and loss of motivation and initiative.
The person will have erratic emotions and behaviours because of their severely impaired thought processes. They are unable to tell the difference between what is, and is not, real.

How media coverage may cause fear and misunderstanding regarding schizophrenia

Media coverage is portrayed in a very negative way with sensationalised headlines using words such as loony, nutter, weirdo, psycho, split personality and violent.

All these words tend to cause fear and stigma as people associate schizophrenia with a person being dangerous.

Overall, most of the media coverage is very negative, with very little of the content being educational and helpful.

Although people with schizophrenia rarely harm others, media coverage (and TV programmes and films) depict violent killers as Jekyll and Hyde characters. If this is the view people see, it is what makes the public fearful of people living in the community amongst them and receiving community care.

Possible causes of schizophrenia

Real causes are not known and there is still much debate about possible causes, which include:

Genetics, prenatal development, early environment, neurobiology, and physiological and social processes are all considered to be factors:

– Neurobiology – Certain RNA neurons called Gormafu are consistently low in the brain, not enabling correct connections with proteins.

– Genetics – people are at higher risk if they have had a parent hospitalised for schizophrenia.

– Earlier environment of stressful traumatic events are sometimes considered to be factors in causing schizophrenia. These can include one or all of abuse, losing a job, home and a loved one.

– Prenatal development could cause some form of brain damage, being a potential link to schizophrenia.

– Regular use of street drugs are reported to suggest that people who regularly use street cannabis are six times more likely to develop schizophrenia.

The next blog will continue with how schizophrenia effects people.

Tracey of PlumEssence Therapies and Training is a qualified stress management consultant, mental health first aider, clinical hypnotherapist and body work therapist focusing on helping reduce and alleviate concerns connected to both physical and emotional wellbeing.  Tracey is also a teacher and trainer, delivering workshops and accredited mental health courses.

Tracey is available for a no-obligation chat to see how we could work together on 01889 808388 or tracey@plumessencetherapies.co.uk