Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how a person perceives the world around them. Their perception of reality is skewed and they have trouble dealing with day to day life. It can affect anyone from children to adults from all walks of life and it can be difficult to diagnose properly.
Schizophrenia has many similarities to other mental illnesses but with the right help, you can find out if you or a loved one is affected by this mental illness.
Schizophrenics tend to hallucinate and see the world in a different way than others. For those looking at someone with schizophrenia it may seem like they are overreacting to nothing at all. To them however, these hallucinations are as real as they can be and these can be debilitating to those experiencing them. These hallucinations can affect each of a person’s senses in different ways.
- Touch: They might feel imaginary objects touching them, like hands and in some severe cases, sharp objects.
- Smell and Taste: They might smell something that isn’t really there, like sewage or rotting meat. The hallucinated smells and tastes can affect a person’s ability to eat.
- Sight: They might see things that aren’t there, like a non-existent person standing just in the corner of their eye. This can cause a schizophrenic to be in constant fear.
- Hearing: They might hear disembodied voices in an empty room. These hallucinations can vary in severity, from being as mundane as a whisper telling them to look over a bridge, to being as severe as a chorus of voices telling them to leap off a bridge.
Delusions are thoughts that are not based on reality. A schizophrenic suffering from this can either be in great fear or overconfident depending on their delusion. Some can think that something is out to get them while others think that they’re a politician from another universe. These delusions work hand in hand with their hallucinations to make an experience feel even more real.
The man in their head could just be in the corner of their eye, watching silently as they eat or looking over them as they sleep or the voices in their head could be screaming at him to make his next election speech in the middle of a class. To the schizophrenic, the phantom man and voices are as real as his Physics instructor.
Disorganized Thought and Movements
Schizophrenics have trouble getting the right words out whenever they decide to speak. To a normal person, their statements might seem jumbled and not even related to the question. Having a conversation with a schizophrenic can be a challenge as they tend to veer off topic very frequently. Most conversations can go from the south pole to cup noodles in an instant without warning.
Schizophrenics can also suffer from irritability and jumpiness stemming from being overly alert because of their hallucinations and delusions. Some might even have mannerisms that may or may not seem odd to a normal person. Foot tapping and repeated cracking of their hands and fingers can be an example of this symptom. Self harm is included in this symptom as well.
These symptoms are the normal human habits that a schizophrenic stops showing. Schizophrenics could avoid social interaction over long periods of time and drop their group of friends out of the blue. When talked to, they can sound monotone or show no emotion despite the topic being something they formerly enjoyed.
Negative symptoms can be the most debilitating set of symptoms of schizophrenia as it can force a person to just drop everything that mattered to them before it’s onset. They would quit careers that they excelled at, drop hobbies that they used to enjoy and throw away friendships that they’ve had for a lifetime. Schizophrenics just lose the drive to continue enjoying life.