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Home > Schizophrenia > World of People
Schizophrenia, Not Split Personality Schizophrenia

Most people think Dr. Jekyll- Mr. Hyde displays a good picture of what schizophrenia is. They are however, wrong, schizophrenia is not a switch in character. Schizophrenia in one sentence is defined as a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease that can be characterized by hallucinations, illusions, delusions, and disorder thinking that comes from various sources.
 
Quick Facts   People with Schizophrenia
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The World of People with Schizophrenia
Distorted Perceptions of Reality
People with schizophrenia may have perceptions of reality that are strikingly different from the reality seen and shared by others around them. Because of the unusual realities these people experience, they may have various behavior patterns. They may go from being distant and detached to becoming perfectly still to not being able to sit still. The hallucinations they experience may leave them feeling frightened, anxious or confused.
Hallucinations and Illusions
Hallucinations and illusions are disturbances of perception that are common in people suffering from schizophrenia. Hallucinations are perceptions that occur without connection to an appropriate source. Although hallucinations can occur in any sensory form—auditory (sound), visual (sight), tactile (touch), gustatory (taste), and olfactory (smell)—hearing voices that other people do not hear is the most common type of hallucination in schizophrenia. Voices may describe the patient’s activities, carry on a conversation, warn of impending dangers, or even issue orders to the individual. Illusions, on the other hand, occur when a sensory stimulus is present but is incorrectly interpreted by the individual.
Delusions
Delusions are false personal beliefs that are not subject to reason or contradictory evidence and are not explained by a person's usual cultural concepts. Delusions can take on different themes. For example, patients with paranoid-type symptoms- approximately one-third of the schizophrenic population-often have delusions of persecution, or irrational beliefs that they are being cheated, hassled, poisoned, or plotted against. These patients sometimes believe that they, or someone close to them, are the focus of this negative attention. In addition, delusions of grandeur, in which a person may believe he or she is a famous or important figure, may occur in schizophrenia. Sometimes the delusions experienced by people with schizophrenia are quite bizarre; for instance, believing that a neighbor is controlling their behavior with magnetic waves; that people on television are directing special messages to them; or that their thoughts are being broadcast aloud to others.
Disordered Thinking
Schizophrenia often affects a person's ability to think clearly. Thoughts may come and go rapidly; the person may not be able to concentrate on one thought for very long and may be easily distracted, unable to focus attention.
People with schizophrenia may not be able to sort out what is relevant and what is not relevant to a situation. The person may be unable to connect thoughts into logical sequences, with thoughts becoming disorganized and fragmented. This lack of thought clarity, termed "thought disorder," can make conversation very difficult and may help contribute to social isolation. If people cannot make sense of what an individual is saying, they are likely to become uncomfortable and will probably leave that person alone.
Emotional Expression
People with schizophrenia often "flat" affect or inability to use normal emotional expressiveness that most individuals naturally possess. This can range from speaking in a monotonous voice to having diminished facial expressions. Social withdrawal may be included in the list of behaviors and when forced to interact the individual may have nothing to say. Interest in or enjoyment of life can be greatly diminished. In some severe cases, a person can spend entire days totally immobile, even neglecting basic hygiene. These problems with emotional expression and motivation, which may be extremely troubling to family members and friends, are symptoms of schizophrenia-not character flaws or personal weaknesses.
Normal Versus Abnormal
At times, normal individuals may feel, think, or act in ways that resemble schizophrenia. Normal people may sometimes be unable to "think straight." They may become extremely anxious, for example, when speaking in front of groups and may feel confused, be unable to pull their thoughts together, and forget what they had intended to say. This is not schizophrenia. At the same time, people with schizophrenia do not always act abnormally. Indeed, some people with the illness can appear completely normal and be perfectly responsible, even while they experience hallucinations or delusions. An individual's behavior may change over time, becoming bizarre if medication is stopped and returning closer to normal when receiving appropriate treatment.
News and entertainment media tend to link mental illness and criminal violence; however, studies indicate that except for those persons with a record of criminal violence before becoming ill, and those with substance abuse or alcohol problems, people with schizophrenia are not especially prone to violence.
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