Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald: Understanding the Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia affects some 2.4 million adults over 18 in the United States in any given year. This chronic condition is defined as a serious brain disorder in which patients are unable to interpret reality adequately. The condition can produce hallucinations, distorted mental processes, delusional thoughts, and maladaptive behavior. Although a number of effective pharmacological and psychological treatments exist that can alleviate symptoms, individuals with schizophrenia typically require lifelong medical support.

Males and females exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia in equal numbers. Men most often manifest the disorder in their late teens or at the beginning of their 20s; onset in women typically occurs in their 20s or early 30s. Children and people past their mid-40s seldom receive initial diagnoses of schizophrenia.

Among the symptoms of schizophrenia are reduced capacity for long-range planning, withdrawal from social life and customary activities, diminished motivation, lack of attention to hygiene and grooming, apparent flattening of emotional affect, and suicidal thoughts. People with schizophrenia often have trouble processing and understanding information, remembering, and focusing attention. Because a certain amount of withdrawal, irritability, and emotional volatility often occur during adolescence, diagnosing schizophrenia in teens can be problematic. Teens with schizophrenia are more apt to experience visual hallucinations and less prone to exhibit delusions than adult patients.

If you suspect someone you know has from schizophrenia, urge him or her to seek professional medical assistance. Many individuals who experience the disorder lack the ability to understand the serious nature of their situation. Appropriate medication and a strong support network can make a tremendous difference in the quality of life for individuals with schizophrenia.

The founder or co-founder of several biotechnology and investment companies, Dr. Lindsay Rosenwald has been instrumental in successfully bringing to market medications to treat schizophrenia, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, and other serious conditions.

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