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World Schizophrenia Day: Five things you must know about this mental illness!


 A recent study led by Vikram Patel, a prominent mental health expert, suggests that by 2050, India will lose 39.6 million years of healthy life to mental illnesses unless appropriate steps are taken.

Studies have shown that a third of global mental disorders occurs in India and China, indicating the growing burden of untreated mental illnesses in the world’s two most populous countries.

Schizophrenia is one of the most serious mental health conditions, affecting 26 million people worldwide. According to psychiatrists, more than 10% of schizophrenics commit suicide.

Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves.

Here are five important facts you must know about this mental disorder-

Schizophrenia typically begins in late adolescence or early adulthood, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

Symptoms include –

       Hallucination: hearing, seeing or feeling things that do not exist.

       Delusion: fixed false beliefs or suspicions that are firmly held even when there is evidence to the contrary.

   Abnormal behaviour: strange appearance, self-neglect, incoherent speech, wandering aimlessly, mumbling or laughing to self.

People with schizophrenia are 2-2.5 times more likely to die early than the general population as a result of physical illnesses, such as cardiovascular, metabolic and infectious diseases.

The causes of schizophrenia are not known, but researchers believe that a combination of genetics and environment contributes to development of the disorder.

Schizophrenia is treatable and is usually treated with a combination of medication and therapy appropriate to each individual. But, more than 50% of people with the condition are not receiving appropriate care.

Knowing that schizophrenia is a biological illness, it is important to care for and support someone who lives with the condition. Doing so can help reduce the chances of future psychotic episodes and improve relationships.

World Schizophrenia Day is observed on May 24 to create public awareness about the disorder and other mental illnesses.

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