​​​​​​Schizophrenia is commonly misunderstood as 'split personality' but it is actually more a disorder of ‘split reality’. Because of this, schizophrenia is considered a major psychotic illness. It takes a while before people suffering from schizophrenia seek help. By the time they do, they would have experienced a losses in interpersonal relationships and daily functioning at school or at work. Schizophrenia affects both men and women equally and while it happens at any age, it usually occurs in adolescence or young adulthood.

 6 Common Misconceptions Abo​ut ​Schizophrenia

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​​A person who is suffering from schizophrenia may show positive and/or negative symptoms. Positive symptoms refers a distortion or exaggeration of mental function (thoughts, feelings, perceptions and behaviou​rs) that are normally present, whereas negative symptoms refer an absence of a mental function that is normally present.

Positive Symptoms:

  • Hallucinations (sensations, like sights, sounds, touch and tastes that other people are not experiencing at the time)
  • Delusions (i.e. of being persecuted or controlled, or his / her mind being read)
  • Disorganised behaviour

Negative Symptoms:

  • Poverty of speech or having very few words or expressions
  • Social withdrawal
  • Emotional blunting (i.e. not displaying any emotion whether positive or negative)
  • Apathy
  • Attention impairment
  • Lack of motivation and drive

​​An untreated person, as well as those around them, experiences great distress and confusion. In addition, persons with untreated psychosis are at a higher risk of suicide, aggression and drug abuse. It is therefore important to seek professional help early. Treatment usually entails a combination of the following:

1. Medication

As schizophrenia is often due to abnormal biochemical balances in the brain, medication can help to normalise these imbalances. This type of medication, known as antipsychotics or neuroleptics, can relieve the hallucinations, delusion and thinking problems associated with schizophrenia. These antipsychotic medicines are also important in reducing or eliminating the chances of relapse.

2. Psychotherapy

Besides medication, another effective form of treatment is psychotherapy. Psychotherapy helps the person make sense of his illness, can take various forms and can be conducted on a one-to-one basis or in a group setting. Issues that may need to be addressed include: the person’s feelings about the illness, their experience of medication, denying the illness, the impact that the illness has on the person’s self-esteem, interpersonal relations and other aspects of their life.

3. Rehabilitation and Counselling

Rehabilitation and counselling empowers the individual to live meaninfully in society. Social skills training, which can be provided in group, family or individual sessions, helps to build social relationships and independent living skills.​


EPIP

​​The Early Psychosis Intervention Programme​ at IMH emphasises early detection and treatment. This team works closely with private doctors, polyclinics and social agencies to help spot the early signs of mental disorders amongst those aged 18–40. EPIP also works with educational institutions and youth workers to identify the onset of psychosis amongst the young.

These partners help to refer patients to IMH or, if applicable, jointly assess them. At EPIP, every outpatient is assigned a case manager, who will assist in managing his overall needs. Psychosis can be treated with medication, medical support and good family care.

For more information on EPIP, please call 6389 2972.

To make an appointment to see a doctor, please call 6389 2200.