Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects 1% of the population. It literally means "mind splitting ", but this is not synonymous with having more than one personality. It is characterized by a cleavage between the behavior, thinking, emotions, their expression, motivational sphere, etc. This means maladjustment of the behavior and patient’s emotions to the situation, as well as the content of their speech (the primary cognitive ability disorder, problems with behavior and emotions). Additionally depression, self-mutilation, anxiety or suicide can occur.
The disease manifests itself usually at an early age: men between 15-25 years of age, whereas women 25 - 35 years of age. The causes of schizophrenia is believed to be genetic, environmental, sociological and neurobiological factors. Diagnosis is made based on an interview with the patients and their behavior.
The onset of the disease may be sudden or slow. Patients are changing, their thought processes are disturbed, they have delusions concerning judgments (persecution complex), hallucinations about sensations (usually auditory), they are distracted, listless, incapable of experiencing emotions, have fits of "empty" laugh, suicidal and bizarre behavior, they seek solitude, neglect personal hygiene, escape into religion (excessive piety), they abandon their old interests, etc.
The course of schizophrenia may be continuous or episodic.
Elementary treatment is based on pharmacology with a use of antipsychotic drugs to inhibit dopaminergic activity. Also the use of psychotherapy, as well as, occupational and social rehabilitation is important for the patient. Sometimes, when patients are threatening themselves or other people, they are sent to compulsory hospitalization.
The prognosis of this mental illness dependent on the patients susceptibility to certain therapeutic treatment and the regularity of medication. Other important issues are: age of the patient (better if it is late), permanent treatment, family support, patient’s willingness to the treatment, the dominance of the productive symptoms (e.g. hallucinations) over axial symptoms (e.g. feelings of emptiness).