Schizophrenia is, perhaps, the most common type of mental illness. Most of us have heard of it from somewhere or other, whether from the TV, or maybe a friend or family member has been diagnosed with it. Schizophrenia can affect anyone but usually males aged 15 - 30 years of age and females a bit later at 25 - 30 years. This being said it rather depends on factors causing it in the first place. Many people think violence and having a split personality are prominent in sufferers of the disease, however this is a common misconception. The brain is made up from billions of nerve cells, each one sends out and receives messages. They do this by emitting chemicals, known as neurotransmitters to each other. If you have schizophrenia the messaging system doesn't work as well as it should.

Three are different levels of the disease ranging from very mild, where the patient might, sometimes, not be able to concentrate on a given task. All the way to a patient hearing voices that aren't there and even having Hallucinations. It is still a topic we know little about but, being one of the most well researched brain problems, we are beginning to understand bits and pieces. For example some of the causes and how to diagnose properly someone with schizophrenia.

So what are some of these causes? Bearing in mind that there is a lot of different opinions out there.

  • Stress is thought of as a factor, if you live in a large city environment or have long term family problems.
  • Mental trauma can be a factor too, especially young people.
  • Most professionals believe that drug abuse can lead to having schizophrenia, either strong mind effecting ones such as LSD or, long term cannabis use.
  • Genes, many researchers think you have a higher chance of symptoms of schizophrenia developing if there's a history of it in your family.
  • Imbalance of chemicals in the brain. Eg. if you're someone who's mood changes quickly and for no reason.

The symptoms of schizophrenia can easily not missed, or confused with other health problems. Lets take a look at some of these symptoms :

  • The patient may have feelings or emotions for no apparent reason. Eg. They might feel guilty when they haven't in fact done anything wrong.
  • Hallucinations. This is a major symptom of schizophrenia apparent in severe cases.
  • May be lacking in emotions. This is quite a common symptom, the patient may feel that they can't be happy, no matter what happens.
  • Some people may be socially withdrawn and not be good with communicating with other people. Another common symptom.
  • Other sufferers report an inability to finish things they start, from hobbies to housework, either because they feel disheartened or just can't be bothered.
  • Another major symptom, in severe cases, is the feeling that a patients thoughts are being taken from them, this also leads to paranoia.
  • Behavioural problems. In adults as well as young people.

The symptoms of schizophrenia can be hard to diagnose, due to there not being a physical test for it, but doctors are starting to have more of an understanding of the condition and with the right experience can spot the signs to make a correct diagnosis.