Schizophrenia is a complex and serious mental disorder that affects about 21 million people worldwide.15 It is not just schizophrenia, but schizophrenia, since there are several forms with very different severity.
It is a pathology of the brain that seriously affects a person’s ability to think, their emotional life and their behavior in general. It causes a series of symptoms, known as “psychotic symptoms”. The list includes positive symptoms such as hallucinations (e.g. seeing or hearing things that are not there) and delusions (having beliefs of a bizarre or paranoid nature that do not fit with common sense), but also cognitive deficits such as difficulties in paying attention. , concentrating and withdrawing, negative symptoms, which translate a kind of desubstantialization of the personality, such as a decrease or loss of will, apathy, emotional and affective blunting and affective symptoms, such as anxiety, depression and emotional changes in general.16 Both cognitive deficits and negative symptoms are the main responsible for the social insufficiency that these patients present and which greatly hinder their social integration.
There is no known single cause for schizophrenia. It is thought that different factors, such as genetics, environmental factors or use of drugs and illicit substances, contribute to the development of schizophrenia, as with other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease.17
Generally, the first signs of schizophrenia appear during adolescence or early adulthood, which does not mean that they cannot appear later.18 Both men and women can develop schizophrenia, and in men the symptoms tend to be more common arise a little earlier.19
Schizophrenia has a major impact on patients’ lives, and can profoundly affect their lifestyle and social image. Treatment, which essentially consists of antipsychotic medication and other therapies, is essential to reduce or eliminate symptoms, in order to allow the individual to participate in daily activities and reduce the number of relapses.21
Relapses are more likely when antipsychotic drugs are interrupted or taken irregularly.22 It is very important, in the treatment plan, to ensure that people with schizophrenia adhere to the treatment and relapse prevention plan.