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Schizophrenia is a mental disorder in which patients exhibit abnormal behavior, impaired speech, and difficulty in understanding reality. Patients might also present with symptoms such as troubled thinking, hallucinations, belief in a false reality, lack of empathy and so on. This mental disorder is usually associated with other psychological conditions such as depression, anxiety, and the abuse of illegal substances. These signs and symptoms do have a gradual onset, mostly in people between the ages of 20-30, and might never resolve, except in some cases. The exact cause of this disease is not known yet, although two factors have been identified. These factors are genetics and the environment. Studies have shown that the excessive consumption of cannabis in adolescence can trigger the development of this disease. Other environmental factors that contribute to the development of this disease include infections, poor nutrition, especially during pregnancy, and so on. Physicians diagnose this disease by evaluating the signs and symptoms presented by the patient. Apart from this, the medical record and family history of the patient is also taken into consideration. In addition, the culture of the patient is put into the account. Physicians treat this disease through counseling, social rehabilitation, and medications. Examples of the medications administered include antipsychotics, such as clozapine and so on. Studies have shown that the life expectancy of people affected with this disease is usually 5 to 10 years less than the general population. About 5% of affected persons also end up committing suicide. This is why it’s important to be able to identify and start treatment as soon as possible. Researchers are working on ways to make stem cell useful for the treatment of the disease.

What Are the Early Signs and of Schizophrenia?

It’s important to be able to identify some of the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia, so we can help relatives and friends that are affected by the disease. In some people, the disease just starts manifesting without any prior warning. However, it has a gradual onset in a lot of people. Patients usually present with different signs and symptoms before the first severe episode. Some of the common early signs of schizophrenia include depression, sleep disorders, lack of personal hygiene, anxiety, anger, isolation, lack of empathy and so on.

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What Are the Symptoms of Schizophrenia?

The symptoms of schizophrenia can be divided into five parts. These are delusions, hallucinations, trouble speech, negative symptoms, and abnormal behavior. These symptoms would be discussed one after the other.

  1. Delusions: This is a condition in which an individual holds firm to an idea despite obvious evidence that it isn’t true. Delusions are a false belief that is not based on reality. As an illustration, a person suffering from delusion might believe that he owns Gucci company, so he walks into a random store, and demands to have their products for free. There are different types of delusions.
  • The delusion of persecution: This is the type of delusion in which an individual believes that some people are out to get him/her. For example, an individual that covers the windows of his house with black materials, because he believes an assassin is watching him, through the scope of a gun.
  • The delusion of grandeur: This is the type of delusion in which an individual believes that he/she is very famous. An example of this is a random guy on the street that feels he’s the present president of the United States of America.
  • The delusion of reference: In this type of delusion, a neutral environmental event is seen to have a personal meaning, when it clearly doesn’t. A schizophrenic patient might strongly believe that the person is talking on the television, is speaking to them.
  • Delusions of control: This is the belief that your thoughts and actions are being controlled by an external factor. An example is an individual that believes that some specific thoughts are inserted into their mind.
  1. Hallucinations: Hallucination is a condition in which a perceives some sensations as if they were real when they really don’t exist. There are various types of hallucinations, and they involve all the five senses. The types of hallucinations include auditory, tactile, visual, and so on. The auditory and visual hallucinations are the most common types in schizophrenic patients. These hallucinations seem very real to these patients
  2. Impaired speech: This is a condition in which schizophrenic patients have difficulties in maintaining a train of thought. This usually shows in the way they speak. They might give irrelevant responses to questions or queries. Examples of disorganized speech include clang, neologism, loose associations and so on.
  3. Disorganized behavior: This is a condition in which an individual has lost the ability to take good care of him/herself. Some of the signs you’d notice include a carefree and reckless attitude to essential things, reduced productivity, lack of purpose and so on.
  4. Presence of negative symptoms: Negative symptoms are conditions that shows the lack of normal behaviors displayed by adults. Some of these include the lack of empathy, lack of interest in important things, difficulty in speaking, and so on.

What Are the Causes of Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is caused by a combination of genetics and environmental factors. Studies have shown that the excessive consumption of cannabis in adolescence can trigger the development of this disease. Other environmental factors that contribute to the development of this disease include infections, poor nutrition, especially during pregnancy, and so on.

How Is Schizophrenia Currently Treated?

Schizophrenia is a chronic disease and therefore requires life-long treatment. Physicians usually administer medications. These drugs help to improve the symptoms of this disease, by regulating dopamine, an important brain neurotransmitter. In addition, psychologists would have to frequently assist the patient in working with to improve their social interaction skills

Stem Cell Therapy and Schizophrenia

An experiment was performed on some rats affected by schizophrenia. Stem cells were transplanted to these patients, and they were restored to their normal healthy state after some weeks. The stem cells were essentially remodeled to repair and replace the abnormal cells in the brain. It’s the hope of researchers that this would be successfully replicated in humans in the nearest future.
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