7:17 pm

Hello everyone!

I will be talking about schizophrenia, a mental disorder with A LOT of stigma and controversy attached to it. Which is why I think it's important to raise awareness about this.


Schizophrenia is characterised by fundamental distortions in thinking and perception. There are three main categories for symptoms:

1)    Positive symptoms: for example
-      Hallucinations (perceiving stimuli when it is actually absent) – these are normally auditory (e.g. hearing voices)
-      Delusions – these are false and irrational beliefs (e.g. believing that someone is out to get you)
-      Failure to accept symptoms aren’t real

2)    Negative symptoms: for example
-      Social withdrawal
-      Lack of energy
-      Demotivation
-      Anhedonia (not being able to experience pleasure from usually pleasurable activities)

3)    Thought disorder – manifests in bizarre, incoherent and distorted speech and communication

As with many mental disorders, there is no complete physical or lab diagnosis that can be made for schizophrenia. Judgments are made based on observations and clinical symptoms.

Sufferers can often feel lonely as they don't receive the love and support they need

In the past, schizophrenia sufferers were treated in disgraceful manners:
-      Exorcism - believing they are possessed by demons: drilling holes in the skull, blood-letting
-      Attempting to ‘reset’ the brain: spinning, shock, frontal lobotomy
-      Keeping them locked away: chained down in dark rooms 

Thankfully, there is progress in understanding and treating the disorder. Although, it still sickens me to think someone who is going through a mental illness can be treated in such an inhumane way..

Causes (I will only briefly mention some of these):
-      Excessive dopamine activity: dopamine is a neurotransmitter (chemical in the brain) and high activity of this is associated with symptoms.

-      Genes: it is not completely genetic, but some genetic predisposition has been found - 40% concordance rate between monozygotic twins.

-      Substance abuse: early use of cannabis has been linked with schizophrenic symptoms. Amphetamine abuse can cause a condition called ‘amphetamine-psychosis’ producing producing paranoia, delusions and hallucinations. The drug causes an increase in dopamine levels by promoting its release and preventing reuptake (in the synapse).

-      Psychosocial factors: being from lower socio-economic groups and experiencing long term life stress have been associated with developing schizophrenia later in life.

Most people suffering from schizophrenia will be attempted to be treated by antipsychotic drugs. These are generally very effective, but can often be used in conjunction with a form of psychological therapy. Electro-convulsive therapy (shock therapy) used to be used in the past, but its effectiveness is low and there are many other factors (e.g. high relapse rate, memory loss) that have resulted in it NOT being a method of treatment for the disorder.

Schizophrenia is manageable/ treatable and research has shown that support and care from loved ones can highly aid the recovery of patients, and prevent relapse too. 

Schizophrenia sufferers should not be classed as ‘mad’ – they are going through a terrible ordeal and for people to be less judgmental and understanding would make things more bearable for them. I always like to remember that anyone can go through a mental illness (including ourselves) so we should treat people the way we would like to be treated.

Take lots of care,
Ayesha xxx

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  1. Helpful post dear!
    You have an amazing blog:)
    I just followed you,maybe you can follow me back?

  2. Such an interesting and thought-provoking post! I know people who suffer from it and medication really makes all the difference to them. Thankfully there seems to be less of a stigma surrounding it these days.

    Tara x


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