WHAT IS SCHIZOPHRENIA?
Schizophrenia may begin in late adolescence or early adulthood, ages 17 to 26, and is characterized by the person’s appearing disheveled, being socially detached or withdrawn, unemotional facial expression, and delusions of paranoia such as believing others are against them or that they are the center of a conspiracy.
Other examples of paranoia may include thinking that people talking on TV or radio are talking about them or that their movements are being monitored. They may believe thoughts are being placed in their head. They may hear voices or see things others don’t see. The voices may be a running negative commentary about the person or that the person should take action against their conspirators. The periods of having these experiences may come and go over time.
Friends or family members experiencing the above symptoms, should be taken to a doctor or hospital emergency room for assessment and possible treatment to reduce the delusions.
WHEN CAN SCHIZOPHRENIA TURN VIOLENT?
Paranoid schizophrenia is a condition in which the person is tormented by thoughts of broad conspiracies or that others are plotting against them. The delusion may have religious overtones associating the conspirators with evil forces. This mental illness can turn violent when the delusion becomes elaborate to the point that the individual creates a detailed plan to eliminate the imagined conspirators.
WHAT CAN BE DONE?
The College of Mental Health Counseling is urging schools and communities to develop public awareness efforts, such as educational events and printed material, to help people become diligent and informed to recognize possible signs that others are in serious mental distress and what steps can be taken to protect the distressed person and others from potential harm.
ABOUT THE COLLEGE
The College of Mental Health Counseling provides online certificate training for the general public and for professionals in the practical application of counseling knowledge, processes, and skills. For more information about training and free download mental health articles for distribution, visit http://www.ctihalifax.com