Schizophrenia is “an illness of a brain which usually begins at the age from 17 till 25”. Characteristic symptoms of this mental disorder are hallucinations when the patient hears voices or sees subjects, which other people do not hear. There can also be various forms of delirium, which means expressing of some images inappropriate to reality, for example, that someone tries to do the ill person harm or puts bad thoughts in his head. The illness forces to reconstruct the habitual schedule of life, imposes certain restrictions, changes the relations with close people. Illness symptoms can both amplify and weaken. However, even suffering a serious illness, it is possible to live.
About 1,5% of the population of the Earth suffer schizophrenia and other diseases, which are accompanied by the symptoms of psychosis. Now, on the Globe, there are “about 45 million of adult patients”, for whom schizophrenia diagnosis was established.
The clinic of schizophrenia is presented by a big range of psychopathological manifestations. Violations of intelligence and emotions are the most typical. Patients complain of an impossibility to concentrate thoughts, difficulties in material assimilation, an uncontrollable stream of thoughts, an obstruction or a stop of thoughts, parallel thought and thinking frustration. At the same time, they have an ability to catch a special sense in words, offers and works of art. They can create new words (neologisms) and use them expressing their thoughts as well as a certain symbolic, abstraction, which is clear only to them. In their speech it is difficult to catch a sense because of florid, logically inconsistent expressing of thoughts. The patients with a long adverse course of disease can show speech disruptiveness (loss of semantic communication between separate parts of a sentence) or its incoherence (a set of words). People suffering schizophrenia behave differently than they did before falling ill, but, it in many respects, they behave not as two different people, and their personality is not doubled.
Besides, the patients can be noted to have fixed ideas, arising beyond their will as well as strange painful thoughts, which the patients cannot get rid of. This is a persuasive reproduction of dates, names, terms, accounts, fears, representations, reasoning in memories.
The patient can spend a long time in thoughts about the meaning of life and death why the Earth is round, and the Universe is infinite, etc.
Now scientists do not know exactly schizophrenia reasons, but one of the hypotheses says that some people from the birth are inclined to the emergence of this disease. Some researchers consider that schizophrenia can be caused by a virus, which affects a brain of a not born fetus. Others believe that stresses, which can be a consequence of the most various situations, such as study at school, work, love collisions, birth of a child, etc., can start schizophrenia at the people predisposed to it. However, it is not proved that “the reasons of schizophrenia can be difficult relationships in a family or a bad attitude of parents towards the child”.
For each person, the probability to ache with schizophrenia is insignificant. In case of the absence of schizophrenia in the family members, the chance to ache with Schizophrenia is equal to 99% of 100. For the person, whose brother or sister has schizophrenia, the chance not to ache makes 93% of 100.
If one of the parents has schizophrenia, the chance to ache for the child is equal to 10-12%. When both parents have schizophrenia, the probability of this disease emergence at their child increases to 46%.
Many patients with schizophrenia are quite successful in their family life and love relations. Patients with schizophrenia can also be good parents. Despite it, many patients with schizophrenia consider that they should not have children. They know that education of children will be connected with some strong worries and the child will miss the separation from parents who sometimes have to be hospitalized for the schizophrenia treatment.
The diagnostics of schizophrenia includes telling the person about his/her worries, accompanied by a possible addition of this information with relatives, friends or colleagues, and a subsequent clinical assessment of the patient by a psychiatrist, a social worker, a clinical psychologist or other experts in the field of psychiatry. The analysis of the mental status and drawing up the psychiatric anamnesis is usually carried out during the psychiatric assessment. The developed standard diagnostic criteria consider the existence of certain signs and symptoms, their complexity and duration.
While diagnosing, the general medical or neurologic examinations in order to exclude somatic diseases, which occasionally lead to psychotic schizophrenic conditions, are sometimes carried out. They are metabolism violations, system infections, syphilis, HIV, epilepsy and injuries of a brain. It is sometimes necessary to exclude the delirium, being allocated with the existence of visual hallucinations, fluctuations of consciousness and indicating the latent somatic disease.
Schizophrenia is “an incurable disease”, according to classical medicine. To tell more precisely, it does not allow a full treatment with those means which are recommended and approved in the application in psychiatry today. In general, the division into curable and incurable is very relative as the main figure, involved in the treatment of any disease, is not a diagnosis but a person. So, many examples are known when a person managed to win against the illness, contrary to the most unfavorable prognoses of the doctors.
Medicines are the main remedy for schizophrenia. The medical preparations help to correct a strange behavior of patients, but, at the same time, they can cause such side effects as drowsiness, trembling of hands, rigidity of muscles or dizziness. Recently, the preparations of a new generation, possessing the minimum quantity of side effects, have appeared. They “allow significantly to improve the quality of patients’ life”.
An auxiliary psychotherapy and consultation are quite often applied to assist the patient suffering schizophrenia. Psychotherapy helps the patients with schizophrenia to treat them better, especially those who “feel their uselessness as a result of schizophrenia, and those who seek to deny the existence of this disease”. Psychotherapy can help the patient to find solutions on daily problems. Now, the majority of experts in schizophrenia consider that, in the course of psychotherapy, it is necessary to avoid searching for reasons of schizophrenia in childhood events as well as actions, which awaken the memories of bad events of the past.
A social rehabilitation represents a complex of the programs, directed on training of the patients with schizophrenia the ways of preservation of their independence both in the conditions of hospital and at home. Rehabilitation is concentrated on training of social skills of interaction with other people, the skills, necessary in an everyday life such as accounting of own finance, house cleaning, shopping, using public transport, etc. It also includes vocational training, which “includes the actions, necessary for receiving and preservation of work, and continuous training for those patients, who want to leave a secondary school, study in college or to graduate from the college; some patients with schizophrenia successfully get a higher education”.
Some scientists consider that schizophrenia is not an illness at all but only another, strange to the majority of people, way of perception of the world around. Anyway, a thirst for creativity really wakes up in many insane people. Thanks to the illness, the person can reveal some bright art abilities like drawing. The doctors advise to encourage the patient’s thirst for creativity in every possible way. Many psychiatric clinics even have art therapy studios. The opportunity to create something beautiful with their hands helps the person to abstract from own painful feelings, increases his/her importance and self-assessment.
The condition of the patients with schizophrenia can certainly be improved. The researches showed that the condition of the majority of the patients, who “had so heavy symptoms of schizophrenia that they had to have been hospitalized”, improved. The condition of many patients can become better, and nearly “one third of the patients can recover and do not have symptoms any more”. In the groups, headed by the former patients, there are people who suffered a very heavy form of schizophrenia once. Now, thanks to the rational treatment and the rehabilitation programs, many of them work, some of them are married and have their own house. A small part of these people resumed training in colleges, and some have already finished training and received good professions. New scientific researches are constantly conducted, and “it gives promise that the ways of treatment of schizophrenia will be found”.
In some ways, schizophrenia can be compared to any other serious and incurable illness, for example, rheumatism or diabetes. The illness forces to reconstruct the habitual schedule of life, imposes certain restrictions, changes the relations with close people. Illness symptoms can both amplify and weaken. However, even suffering a serious illness, it is possible to live: to love, to continue to work, to communicate with friends. Schizophrenia is not an exception. The further life of the patient and success of therapy in many respects depend on the relatives: whether they manage to understand and accept their loving person in a new way, whether they agree to share their experiences with him/her. After all, the mind suffers, first of all, in schizophrenia, however, the feelings like love, hatred, pleasure, grief and jealousy known to each of us do not disappear.