Are schizophrenics able to love someone

Schizophrenia - an attack on yourself

Schizophrenia is difficult to imagine for healthy people. "As part of the psychosis, patients with schizophrenia experience a comprehensive change in the reality that surrounds them. The perception of the outside world is changed, the senses deceive them. They hear voices, colors and smells can be perceived differently.

Everyday processes take on a deeper meaning, connections with one's own person are suspected or interpreted delusively. But the perception of oneself is also changed, one's own thoughts are experienced as alien, the logic stops, "explains Jens Mersch. Psychiatrist in Ternitz / Lower Austria as part of an educational event in Vienna organized by the pharmaceutical company Lundbeck.

Slipping into social failure

Overstimulation, delusional ideas, fears of persecution, hallucinations, voices that persistently persuade them, curse them, talk about them, order them to do things - this leads to loneliness, confusion, fear. And in the worst case to suicide, as a radical attempt at liberation to put an end to the tormenting psychotic experiences, or out of self-hatred due to the lost ability to cope with life.

The disease very often runs in bouts. Overstimulation, delusional ideas, fears of persecution, hallucinations, voices that keep talking to you, insulting you, talking about you, ordering you to do things, are sometimes stronger, then again weaker.

For people with schizophrenia, reality and fiction become blurred. Everyday life is perceived as a conspiracy and a threat. Delusions, fears of persecution, hallucinations, fear and voices that keep talking to them, and the daily struggle against them determine the lives of those affected. The ego attacks itself as it were. This leads to loneliness, confusion, fear and in the worst case to suicide, as a radical attempt at liberation to put an end to the tormenting psychotic experiences, or out of self-hatred due to the lost ability to cope with life.

Fear of the sick

Most healthy people are afraid of the mentally ill. This is understandable, because people fear the unpredictable, and people with schizophrenia often behave unpredictably. This fear of them, in turn, can fuel their insecurity and delusions. According to the motto: "They have something against me, they conspire against me." And there are always acts of violence committed by people with schizophrenia.

"The fact that there is a connection between schizophrenia and dangerousness is a fact, at least in public opinion, which is repeatedly confirmed by reports of serious acts of violence committed by people with schizophrenia," says Heidi Kastner, head of the clinic for psychiatry with a forensic focus at the Kepler University Linz. However, this would be contradicted by the most comprehensive epidemiological study to date on the violence of the mentally ill (Böker, Häfner 1973). In this, an overall not increased risk of violence for psychiatric patients was found.

Further studies showed that so-called "late starters" who had led a largely inconspicuous life before the onset of the disease and delinquency had a significantly better prognosis than the so-called "early starters" who had been violent before the onset of the disease. If it is possible to establish adequate drug and social therapeutic treatment with "late starters", the risk of committing an act of violence falls back to the level of the average citizen.

In order to prevent future acts of violence, however, it is important to take risks seriously and to force appropriate treatment. Kastner: "Another quite efficient and still not sufficiently used treatment strategy is based on the recommendation for depot treatment, which has proven to be the best possible form of treatment in innumerable studies, both pharmacodynamically and with regard to the long-term course of the disease."

Medicines as a support

Medication is available for the distressing symptoms of schizophrenia. "Today, schizophrenia is mostly treatable, even if it is all too often not curable," explained Christoph U. Correll, Director of the Clinic for Psychiatry, Psychosomatics and Psychotherapy of Children and Adolescents at the Charité University Medicine Berlin. Ideally, the therapy consists of an individually tailored combination of drug treatment, psychotherapy and other therapeutic methods such as occupational therapy, sociotherapy, etc. Antipsychotics are used as drugs, which influence the messenger substances in certain brain regions in such a way that, above all, the positive psychotic symptoms (such as hallucinations, delusions, lost thoughts) are inhibited.

"The success of the therapy depends largely on the duration of the untreated psychosis. The sooner a suitable therapy is started after the onset of the first psychotic phase, the better this has an effect on the further course," says Correll. And it is important to prevent relapses into psychotic phases at all costs. The best way to avoid relapse is with continuous long-term therapy.

Tremendous burden for relatives

Schizophrenia is an enormous burden for those affected, but also for their relatives, says psychiatrist Nestor Kapusta from Med-Uni Vienna. "The example of schizophrenia also shows the high burden

g of the relatives clearly. Relatives of people with mental illnesses often develop affective disorders and burnout themselves up to suicidal thoughts or identificatory crises with imitation suicides. Suicidality is thus a complex phenomenon that not only affects those affected, but also the environment. "

The great fear for relatives is the Suzidge danger, which is between five and twelve percent for these diseases. "In addition to the reported suicide, which is committed due to the apparent hopelessness from the illness or due to the living conditions or the current situation, suicide occurs again and again as an 'accident of psychosis'. Because the reality changed during a psychotic phase can lead to a changed one Lead risk assessment: That means, the voices command the suicide, one believes to be able to fly or something like that ", so psychiatrist Mersch. The rate of suicide attempts is estimated to be two to five times as high. "Young patients with schizophrenia are disproportionately more affected by suicidality," says Kapusta, who heads the Suicide Research Group at the Medical University of Vienna. If patients are well adjusted in the long term, this naturally has a positive effect on the risk of suicide. (red, 10.10.2019)

Aid services for people who are in a crisis or who have thoughts of suicide:

There are a number of contact points for people in crisis situations and their relatives. At you can find emergency numbers and first aid for thoughts of suicide.

Emergency aid:

This number provides you with qualified and quick support around the clock:

Immediate psychiatric help (midnight): 01/313 30

Crisis Intervention Center (Mon-Fri 10 am-5pm): 01/406 95 95

Advice and help with suicide risk: 0810/97 71 55

Social psychiatric emergency service: 01/310 87 79

Telephone counseling (midnight, free): 142

Advice on the phone (midnight to midnight, for children and young people): 147

Helpline for children, adolescents and adults (Mon – Sat 2–6 p.m., free of charge): 0800/20 14 40

Men's emergency number Styria: 0800 246 247

For further reading:

30 genes linked to schizophrenia

Why neural networks lose their rhythm in schizophrenia

Schizophrenia: stigma increases