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What is some basic information about schizophrenia?

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Schizophrenia is a serious and debilitating mental illness that causes distortion in the sufferer’s perception of reality, thinking, actions and emotional expressions, according to WebMD. Schizophrenia patients have difficulty functioning in society and trouble working, going to school and having normal relationships. There is no cure for the disease.

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Some schizophrenic patients have single schizophrenic episodes, while others may have many episodes over the course of a lifetime but lead otherwise-normal lives between remissions and relapses, notes WebMD. Some schizophrenic patients experience worsening symptoms and are unable to live normal lives.

Schizophrenia patients may experience delusions and hallucinations or become catatonic, reports WebMD. These symptoms may occur with slow movements, inability to make decisions, forgetting or losing items, or nonsensical talking. Some symptoms of schizophrenia are cognitive, including trouble paying attention or maintaining focus and difficulty using working memory. The disease may also cause loss of interest or pleasure in life, lack of motivation, reduced energy, poor grooming habits and hygiene, and a lack of emotion.

Doctors prescribe a combination of anti-psychotic medications and psychosocial therapy to control the disease and reduce symptoms. Patients with schizophrenic symptoms may require hospitalization until their conditions stabilize. For catatonic patients and those who do not respond to medications and therapy, doctors sometimes recommend electroconvulsive therapy, which involves delivering electrical shocks to the brain to create controlled seizures. This type of therapy often improves the patient’s thought processes and moods.

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