By Alyssa Mink

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder where a person feels like they have lost touch with reality. This disorder affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves and although schizophrenia isn’t the most common disorder, the symptoms can be very disabling. The symptoms usually start between the ages of 16 and 30 and there are three different types such as positive, negative, and normative. Positive symptoms are psychotic behaviors that are not normally seen in healthy people such as hallucinations, delusions, thought disorders, and movement disorders. Thought disorders are unusual or disruptive ways of thinking while movement disorders are uncontrollable agitated body movements. Negative symptoms are disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors such as reduced expression of emotions, reduced happiness in everyday life, trouble beginning and continuing activities, and reduced speaking. Cognitive symptoms can appear subtle for some but they can be severe for others. Symptoms include lacking the ability to comprehend information and using it to make decisions, trouble focusing or paying attention, and problems remembering information immediately after learning it. Schizophrenia is sometimes known to pass down through families but there are many people with the disorder that have no family history with it. Many scientists believe that problems during brain development can be a leading cause to schizophrenia because the changes or lack of growth could trigger psychotic symptoms. One of the most popular treatments for schizophrenia is anti-psychotic drugs. Some come in the form of pills and other come in the form of liquid injections. There’s also psychosocial treatments and coordinated specialty care. As always, the best first step is recognizing that something is wrong and being willing to ask for help. A world of help is waiting, you just have to ask.

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