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Home > Schizophrenia > Symptoms
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.
 
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Symptoms of Schizophrenia
The first signs of the disorder are usually confusing or shocking changes in behavior. This is especially difficult for family members who remember how this individual used to be. Severe psychotic symptoms which can occur are referred to as an “acute” phase of schizophrenia. “Psychosis” which is common for schizophrenics, is a state of mental impairment defined by hallucinations or disturbances of sensory perception, and/or delusions, which are false yet strongly held personal beliefs resulting from an inability to separate real from unreal experiences.
Social isolation or withdrawal, unusual speech, thinking, or behavior, may proceed, be seen along with, or follow the psychotic symptoms. Some people have only one psychotic episode; others have many episodes during a lifetime, but lead relatively normal lives during the interim periods. However, the individual with “chronic” schizophrenia, or a continuous or recurring pattern of illness, often does not fully recover normal functioning and typically requires long-term treatment, generally including medication, to control the symptoms.

Making an accurate diagnosis can be difficult because different symptoms may be reminiscent of other illnesses. For this reason, it is important for a clinician to perform a complete medical and psychological history of the patient in question. Medical history or commonly abused drugs can mimic symptoms of schizophrenia so blood or urine samples need to be tested at a hospital in addition to already noted histories that need to be taken. Some people with symptoms of schizophrenia exhibit prolonged extremes of elated or depressed mood, and it is important to determine whether such a patient has schizophrenia or actually has a manic-depressive (or bipolar) disorder or major depressive disorder. Persons whose symptoms cannot be clearly categorized are sometimes diagnosed as having a “schizoaffective disorder.”
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