Schizophrenia is one of the most damaging of all mental illnesses. Its victims lose touch with reality and they often begin to see, hear or feel things that are far from real. They may experience hallucinations or delusions in which they become completely convinced of things that are not true.

In the paranoid state of this illness, the patient may exhibit personal grandeur or develop delusions of persecution. At the first onslaught of the illness, paranoid schizophrenia usually will appear between ages of fifteen and thirty-four years of age.

For the ones that suffer this type of disorder, there is no known cure yet. The good news is that the disorder can be treated and controlled with drugs. In severe cases, they may require hospitalization in a mental ward, and treated by medical staff, who understand the patient’s illness and needs.

Schizophrenia is a chemical imbalance in the brain, but the reason for the imbalance remains a puzzle. Genetics play a role in developing schizophrenia if someone in your family has the illness. Stress in one’s life does not lead to schizophrenia, but can make the symptoms worse and elevate episodes.

The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia develop gradually over time but can escalate suddenly. Their family and friends will most often notice the changes evenbefore the person does.

Also, things most often noticed by others are confusion, inability to make decisions, changes in sleeping or eating habits, increase or decrease in energy levels or weight fluctuation.

 

Many have delusions, hallucinations, act nervous, make strange statements or have dramatic changes in behavior, and often they withdraw from family, friends, school or work; neglectful of personal hygiene in their day-to-day routine; anger or indifference to the opinions and thoughts of others; they also develop a greater tendency to argue more; and often feel a conviction that people are out to get them or they are better than others.

 

Care and treatment of schizophrenia has improved because of new medications developed by drug companies and combination of different medications or a cocktail to treat other problems associated with this disorder.

Drugs like Haldol, Thorazine and Risperdal combat and control the illness in four out of five patients. It may take four to eight weeks to treat an acute attack. Counseling and group therapy also help patients understand the disease and to function effectively in society.

Without therapy and proper treatment, most paranoid schizophrenics are incapable of functioning in the real world. If they develop severe delusions and hallucinations, they can be dangerous to themselves and others.