Schizophrenia is a serious disorder which affects how a person thinks, feels and acts. Someone with schizophrenia may have difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary; may be unresponsive or withdrawn; and may have difficulty expressing normal emotions in social situations.
Contrary to public perception, schizophrenia is not split personality or multiple personality. The vast majority of people with schizophrenia are not violent and do not pose a danger to others. Schizophrenia is not caused by childhood experiences, poor parenting or lack of willpower, nor are the symptoms identical for each person.
What causes schizophrenia?
The cause of schizophrenia is still unclear. Scientists recognize that the disorder tends to run in families and that a person inherits a tendency to develop the disease. Schizophrenia may also be triggered by environmental events, such as viral infections or highly stressful situations or a combination of both. Genetics help to determine how the brain uses certain chemicals.
People with schizophrenia have a chemical imbalance of brain chemicals (serotonin and dopamine) which are neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters allow nerve cells in the brain to send messages to each other. The imbalance of these chemicals affects the way a person's brain reacts to stimuli – which explains why a person with schizophrenia may be overwhelmed by sensory information (loud music or bright lights) which other people can easily handle. This problem in processing different sounds, sights, smells and tastes can also lead to hallucinations or delusions.
If you suspect someone you know is experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, encourage them to see a medical or mental health professional immediately. Early treatment – even as early as the first episode – can mean a better, long-term outcome.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SCHIZOPHRENIA SERVICES AT LAUREATE PSYCHIATRIC CLINIC AND HOSPITAL
Please call the Outpatient Clinic with questions, Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at 918-491-3700. Laureate Hospital is available 24 hours/7 days for all emergencies at 918-481-4000.