WHO: One in 300 people suffer from Schizophrenia

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Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital in a past campaign. Image Courtesy

Schizophrenia affects approximately 24 million people or 1 person in 300 people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It is one of the most disabling diseases affecting humankind.

According to Port St Lucie Hospital, Schizophrenia was estimated to affect less than one percent of the United States population. The studies have also shown that Black Americans had a higher prevalence than white Americans.

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In Kenya, a cross-sectional study of patients with Schizophrenia at Mathari National Teaching and Referral Hospital in Nairobi shows a high prevalence rate of 1.4-4.6 per a thousand population

Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects a person`s ability to think, feel and behave clearly. It appears late in adolescence or early childhood. Its impact on speech, thinking, emotions, and other areas of life can affect a person`s social interactions. It can also be explained as a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally.

The exact causes of Schizophrenia are unknown but several factors are associated with its onset.

Such factors include: Genetic factors-A predisposition to Schizophrenia can run in families and biochemical factors-certain biochemical substances in the brain are believed to be involved in Schizophrenia.

 It can also be caused by alcohol and drug use-drugs, particularly cannabis, triggering psychosis in people who are vulnerable to developing Schizophrenia. Stress has also been linked to one of the factors capable of causing Schizophrenia

The common symptoms of Schizophrenia include delusions, hallucinations, emotional withdrawal, disorganized thinking, and overly excitement.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that schizoaffective disorder affects about 0.3% of the population. Men and women experience Schizophrenia at a similar rate but men develop the illness at a younger age.

There are different types of Schizophrenia, all of which are determined by the symptoms shown by the patient. They include Paranoid schizophrenia, Catatonic schizophrenia, Disorganized Schizophrenia, and Residual Schizophrenia.

Diagnosis of Schizophrenia is made if a person has two or more core symptoms. One of which must be hallucinations delusions or disorganized speech for at least one month.

There is no proven way to prevent Schizophrenia, scientists are looking for ways to make it less likely.

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