Schizophrenia: a mystery disease of the 20th century

In each historical period, each culture chooses a disease that will represent a symbolic reflection of the basic, deepest fears of a person – to die and lose his mind. And then, the very name of such a disease, in everyday speech , becomes the concept of insanity, mental illness in general.     

The 20th century, in terms of the cultural history of insanity, is the century of schizophrenia.   

Schizophrenia is a disease regarding which the opinions of researchers, doctors, as well as publicists, writers, film directors, as well as politicians, etc. vary significantly, but it attracts keen interest. Despite considerable efforts, to still not up to the end of the clear question of etiology (origin) of the disease. It has been unequivocally proven that both genetic and biological and socio-psychological factors are involved in the onset of schizophrenia . The share of these factors, however, is assessed differently by different authors. There is also a wide range of opinions, descriptions and diagnostic criteria regarding the clinical picture, manifestations, and treatment of schizophrenia .                 

In accordance with modern international classifications of diseases (ICD-10, DSM-IV), the classic definition of schizophrenia is a disease proceeding with psychotic symptoms (for example, the feeling of receiving or transmitting thoughts at a distance or taking them away; delusion of influence, control from the outside, feeling “ done “movements, actions, sensations and thoughts; auditory hallucinations either commenting on the patient’s behavior, or in the form of a dialogue, other voices coming from certain parts of the body, persistent delusions of pretentious content), which disrupt the patient’s behavior, change his thinking, emotional reactions and perception surrounding.            

Schizophrenia begins on average between the ages of 10 and 30 and affects about 1.5% of the world’s population.        

The group of patients with schizophrenia is distinguished by such personal characteristics, which are manifested even before the onset of the disease, such as calmness, passivity, isolation, depth in oneself, daydreaming. In the structure of schizophrenia, there can be such syndromes as delusional, catatonic, hallucinatory. They are either irreversible conditions with a gradual aggravation of the disorder, or are temporary, in the form of periodic attacks. Schizophrenia, as a rule, leads to the formation of specific personality changes. There is isolation, emotional impoverishment, decreased activity, the appearance of strange behavior, eccentricity create difficulties for the patient with schizophrenia to adapt in society, reduce his ability to work, and can lead to disability.          

When diagnosing and treating such a complex, systemic, varied in clinical manifestations and forms of disease course, an integrated approach is required , in which the work of a team of specialists is the most adequate. The primary appointment is carried out by a psychiatrist, who prescribes the necessary amount of examinations and, on the basis of them, makes a diagnosis and prescribes treatment. As a rule, in the case of a detailed psychotic episode, the patient needs to be hospitalized in a clinic, where the necessary medication is selected , and complex therapy is carried out, including psychopharmacotherapy, various non-drug methods (for example, light therapy, laser therapy, magnetotherapy, biofeedback , etc. .) and employment in psychotherapy with patients suffering from schizophrenia. During periods of remission – periods free from psychosis, the combination of psychotherapy with pharmacotherapy, carried out under the supervision of a psychiatrist , is individually selected .                          

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