Mental illness

Mental illness refers to a wide array of disorders that affect behavior, mood and thinking.

They range from eating disorders, depression, anxiety, bipolar disoder, and the most severe is schizophrenia.

These disorders may occur due to genetical predisposition, drug use(medication and illegal substances) and even environmental factors.

Mental illness itself does not cause death but the accidents that occur due to the illness.

The most misunderstood of them all is schizophrenia.

we will therefore cover in details what schizophrenia is, causes, treatment and how to live with it.


Refered by layman as madness


It is a severe chronic mental disorder that makes one lose orientation with place and time.

It is characterized by visual and audial hallucinations and delusions.


It is generally accepted that schizophrenia is caused by excess dopamine in the brain or excessive responce to dopamine by dopaminergic receptors to dopamine. Dopamine is  a chemical substance that relays information between brain cells.

There are many theories and models as to what causes the illness.

Vulnerability model.

This model states that some people are vunerable  to getting the disease and stress is the major trigger of the disease. 

such people are advised to stay away from any situations that might cause stress.

Developmental model,

There are critical periods in neuronal development and if adversely affected may result in schizophrenia in later years.

The critical periods occur during fetal development and adolescence.

Ecological model.

External factors like, physical, social and cultural forces in the sorounding may cause the disease.

These factors such as individual space,  population density and socioeconomic status.

Genetic model.

Some people are just genetically predisposed to developing schizophrenia due to their genetical make up.

Lastly substance abuse may lead to schizophrenia. Infact in Kenya it is a major cause.

signs and symptoms

Schizophrenia altenates between hyperactive to hypoactive episodes.

  • Elevated moods to depression.
  • Akward behavior.
  • Delusions
  • halucinations
  • Hearing of voices.
  • Seeing strange things that do not exist(visual hallucinations).
  • Talking to oneself.
  • Untidiness 

Treatment and management.

Treatment involves use of medicines and social and family support to the patient.

With supportive families and society, the patients are able to lead normal lives.

The medications used act to normalize the dopamine receptors sensitivity to brain's dopamine.

The antidopamine medications lead to low moods and therefore mood stabilizing medications are also used.

The antidopamine medications also cause termors which is treated using medications too.


Schizophrenia can be prevented by staying away from the causes like stress for those who stress can cause and avoiding substance abuse.

Living with schizophrenia

Schizophrenic patients can lead normal lives if they strictly adhere to medications.

The society also has a major role in managing the patients. Support and encouragement to take medication is very imporatant to management of the disease.

Schizophrenia is just like any other chronic disease.

With medication, patients are able to do their everyday jobs.

If you see any strange behavior take the patient to the nearby hospital.









Related posts:

Dr Mathu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *