NEUROLOGY – PSYCHIATRY
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder affecting more than 23 million people worldwide.(1)
- Schizophrenia is a psychosis, a type of mental illness characterized by distortions in thinking, perception, emotions, language, sense of self and behavior. Common experiences include:
- Hallucination: hearing, seeing or feeling things that are not there.
- Delusion: fixed false beliefs or suspicions not shared by others in the person’s culture and that are firmly held even when there is evidence to the contrary.
- Abnormal Behavior: disorganized behavior such as wandering aimlessly, mumbling or laughing to self, strange appearance, self-neglect or appearing unkempt
- Disorganized speech; incoherent or irrelevant speech
- Disturbances of emotions: marked apathy or disconnect between reported emotion and what is observed such as facial expression or body language (1).
- Schizophrenia is associated with a severe disability and can affect educational and vocational outcomes (1).
- Schizophrenia can be effectively treated with medication and psychosocial support(1).
Bipolar disorder, or manic-depressive episode, is a chronic mental illness responsible for mood disorders, most often alternating between states of exaltation and depression.(1)
- Bipolar disorder is a chronic psychiatric illness characterized by recurrent mood disorders; it was formerly called manic-depressive psychosis (1).
- In sick people, mood typically oscillates between:
- Maniac episodes
- Exaltation phases, where patients are extremely active, even agitated and sometimes feel euphoric and exalted.
- Depressive episodes
- Mood decline phases, following a manic phase, where patients may experience great sadness and lose all desire for activity (1).
- The remission intervals
- Between these manic and depressive episodes, mood can return to normal, or almost normal (1).
- Maniac episodes
Anxiety is a feeling of discomfort, such as worry or fear, that may be mild or severe but that lasts over time.(1)
- If a transient fear is a normal reaction to a stressful situation (like taking an exam, a job interview…), anxiety is an excessive but transient reaction to a situation felt to be a threat (1).
- Anxiety disorders are different from transient fear and anxiety because they are excessive and persist over time, until they cause suffering in people with the disease (1).
- Overtime, when anxiety sets in, it creates such suffering that it permanently disrupts daily life. We speak of anxiety disorders (1).
- Depression is characterized by an association of variable symptoms from one to another (1).
- These symptoms, that can be severe, are present almost every day for at least two weeks. They are a source of distress and have a professional, social and family impact. This is called a characterized depressive episode and not a simple “depression” or transient depressive reaction (1).
- Depression can affect the body and be responsible for multiple pains, sexual disturbances, a slowdown in activity or, on the contrary, agitation (1).