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We’re all pretty familiar with the characteristics of the disorder known as schizophrenia: A noticable withdrawal from reality, illogical, uncacceptable patterns of thinking, delusions and (even) hallucinations. There are also other emotional and behavioral disturbances that vary from person to person. At the risk of oversimplifying, a person who suffers from schizophrenia is locked inside of a nightmare.
The term, schizophrenia, means “a splitting of the mind” and was first used in the early 1900’s. We think of schizophrenics, today, as individuals who want, more than anything else, to avoid everything that realtiy represents. More and more is being learned about the disorder, in hopes of helping those who suffer from it to lead more normal lives. Whatever “normal” is!
Many people wonder what puts a person at risk for this particular mental disorder. Especially those who have schizophrenia in their family – they’re seeking reassurance that they, themselves, won’t one day have to face this disorder.
According to Healthwise, the following situations put an individual at a higher risk for developing schizophrenia:
1. Have a mother, father, or sibling with schizophrenia ( genetic predisposition). But having a relative with schizophrenia does not mean you will develop this disorder. Many people have schizophrenia who do not have a relative with this condition, and many people who have relatives with schizophrenia will not develop this condition.
2. Have another disorder that is like schizophrenia (such as schizotypal personality) or have family members with such a condition.
3. Had a childhood head injury, especially if you have a family history of schizophrenia.
4. Were exposed to a viral infection, malnutrition, or medications ( diuretics) used to control a mother’s high blood pressure prior to birth.
5. Have a substance abuse problem. It is not yet clear whether the abuse triggers schizophrenia or whether a person with schizophrenia is more likely to have a substance abuse problem.
6. Have a father who was over age 50 when you were conceived. It is not yet clear why the age of the father may put you at higher risk. Research is ongoing to better understand and prove this risk factor.
For a fascinating look at the sort of things that a person living with this disorder faces, you have to see the VIDEO on ABC.com. The video is a 3D simulation that mainly focuses on the hallucination symptoms of the disorder. It’s a real eye-opener.
If you or anyone you know suffers from the disorder, or if you have any other concerns and/or questions, you should visit, and bookmark, Schizophrenia.com.