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World Schizophrenia Day 2024: Lesser Known Facts About The Mental Illness – 10 Points

World Schizophrenia Day is observed every year on May 24 to raise awareness about Schizophrenia, a mental illness. Dr Aditya Gupta, Director of Neurosurgery and Cyberknife at Artemis Hospital Gurugram and Dr Himanshu Champaneri, Senior Consultant Neurosurgeon, at Marengo Asia Hospital Gurugram, share insights on the illness, which is often misunderstood. The doctors share 10 lesser-known facts about schizophrenia to help foster a better understanding and reduce the stigma associated with the condition.

What Is Schizophrenia?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), schizophrenia causes psychosis and is associated with considerable disability and may affect all areas of life including personal, family, social, educational, and occupational functioning. Schizophrenia is characterised by significant impairments in the way reality is perceived and persistent delusions and hallucinations are common. People with schizophrenia often also experience persistent difficulties with their cognitive or thinking skills, such as memory, attention, and problem-solving, the WHO further mentions.

World Schizophrenia Day: 10 Lesser Known Facts About Schizophrenia

Dr Aditya Gupta and Dr Himanshu Champaneri list 10 facts about the mental illness 

1. Schizophrenia And Split Personality Are Not The Same

Contrary to common belief, schizophrenia does not involve a split or multiple personalities. It is a severe mental disorder characterised by disruptions in thought processes, perceptions, emotional responsiveness, and social interactions.

2. Onset Of Schizophrenia Is Early

Schizophrenia typically manifests in late adolescence or early adulthood. For men, the average age of onset is late teens to early twenties while for women, the onset of schizophrenia is from late twenties to early thirties.

3. Genes Play A Role

While the exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown, genetics play a significant role. Individuals with a family history of schizophrenia are at a higher risk of developing the disorder.

4. It’s Not Always Chronic

Schizophrenia is often perceived as a lifelong, unmanageable condition. However, with early intervention and proper treatment, many individuals can lead productive lives. Some may even experience significant recovery or remission.

5. Schizophrenia Manifests Cognitive Symptoms

Beyond hallucinations and delusions, schizophrenia can also cause cognitive symptoms like poor executive function, trouble focusing, and memory issues. These symptoms can be particularly challenging and often overlooked.

6. Environmental Triggers Matter

Environmental factors such as prenatal exposure to viruses, malnutrition before birth, and psychosocial factors can contribute to the development of schizophrenia. Stressful life events can also trigger or worsen symptoms.

7. Treatment Advances Has Improved Lives Of Patients

Advances in antipsychotic medications and therapeutic interventions have improved the quality of life for many with schizophrenia. Newer medications often have fewer side effects and are more effective in managing symptoms.

8. A Sound Support System Makes A Difference

Family support and a stable living environment are crucial for individuals with schizophrenia. Supportive relationships and community services can significantly enhance their ability to manage the condition.

9. Comorbid Conditions Can Exist

People with schizophrenia are at a higher risk for other mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, as well as physical health problems like cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Comprehensive care is essential for overall health.

10. Hope Through Research

Ongoing research continues to explore the underlying causes of schizophrenia, leading to better diagnostic tools and treatment options. Neuroimaging and genetic studies are particularly promising areas of investigation.




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