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Stigma in Schizophrenia and Difficulty in Diagnosing It

Date of upload : 13.04.2021 18:24

Early detection of schizophrenia enables taking unpleasant symptoms under control, therefore, improving the quality of life of those who struggle with this disorder. One of the pivotal problems psychiatrists face in their fight against schizophrenia is its stigmatiosation in society.

Psychiatrist Emre Tolun Arici, MD, NP ISTANBUL Brain Hospital, University of Uskudar shared his opinion concerning early diagnostics and treatment of schizophrenia.  

Schizophrenia is a chronic disease.

Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatric disorder, the onset of which usually takes place in late adolescence or early twnties. Men as well as women can develop this disorder ragrdless of their race and geographic location. The disease affects badly cognitive functions of the brain, thus, having negative effects on relations with people.

Schizophrenia is a chronic disease, that is why it requires on-going follow up visits and correct individual treatment plan. Early phase of schizophrenia can also mimic some symptoms of depression or other psychiatric disorders. The exact causes of schizophrenia are still unknown and psychiatrists suggest that a stressful life event might trigger this condition.

Three Groups of Symptoms

Psychiatrist Emre Tolun Arici, MD, has revealed three groups of schizophrenia symptoms: positive symptomes, negative ones and cognitive disorders.

Positive Psychotic Symptoms

Positive psychotic symptoms tipically include hallucinations, delusions, delusion of persecution. Those symptoms are usually seen during an acute phase of the condition, while they can be absent during a prodromal phase.

Negative Psychotic Symptoms

Negative psychotic symptoms often include but not limited to social withdrawal, deterioration in hygiene and clothing, dicreased motivation and reduced productivity, lack of energy.   

Cognitive Disorders

The next group of symptoms is cognitive disorders. They are manifested in the form of noticible and measurable decline in cognitive abilities as speech inconsistency, uncontrolled use of slang and abusive words, disorganized thinking and speech, catatonia.   

Schizophrenia Stigmatization

First of all, it should be highlighted that schizophrenia symptoms can be similar to ones of other psychiatric disorders. Schizophrenia is a chronic condition, which requires long-term follow up and taking medications on a regular basis. The outcome of the treatment can be different depending on health pecularitites of a patient, his or her profession and relations in their family. This condition affects badly a social part of people’s lives. People strugling with schizophrenia find it difficult to persue their career and creat a family because of stigmatization of this disorder in society. That is why, even if a person has got some symptoms and complaints, he or she keeps postponing visits to mental healthcare providers.

Genetic Predisposition  

Psychiatrist Emre Tolun Arici, MD, claims that genetic predisposition or family medical history of schizophrenia can increase the risk of an early onset of this condition in 7-10 times. Apart from that, living in a megapolis might also trigger this condition. Approximately 1% of Earth population struggles with schizophrenia all around the world regardless of social status or race. However, men are more likely to develop a severe form of this condition than women. Furthermore, being genetically prone to this disease doesn’t guarantee its debut in the future. The most obvious cause of schizophrenia is supposed to be a very stressful life event or a situation.

Early Diagnostics and Family Role   

The onset of schizophrenia cannot be predicted, thereofre, prevented. The absence of relatives with schizophrenia or orther psychiatric disorders will not guarantee a future free of schizofrenia. The early symptoms of this condition are often similar to those of depression. That is why, family engagement and care always play the pivotal role in detecting this disorder. Those of us who have risky family medical history should avoid nerve-racking tense stressful situations and consult a doctor in case of complaints mentioned above.

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