Following reports that Amanda Bynes lit a gasoline fire in the driveway of an elderly woman, burned her pants in the process and rushed into a liquor store to wash gasoline off her small dog, TMZ adds that Amanda is being kept for an extended 5150 hold because she is showing signs of schizophrenia.
“People close to Bynes are convinced she’s suffering from mental illness, specifically schizophrenia,” TMZ reports.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that most of us know a bit about because of representations in movies like Fight Club and A Beautiful Mind. Many have even watched documentaries, such as Born Schizophrenic, that reveal more about the disorder.
Now, with the latest news about Amanda Bynes, many more are curious about the symptoms of schizophrenia.
According to WebMD, schizophrenia is a form of psychosis that affects more than two million Americans each year. It is contributed to by complex genetic and chemical factors and most frequently reveals itself in young adulthood.
As a complex disorder there are multiple ways in which it can manifest: paranoid-type schizophrenia, disorganized-type schizophrenia, undifferentiated-type schizophrenia, catatonic-type schizophrenia and residual-type schizophrenia.
There is also a wide variety of possible symptoms.
“People with schizophrenia vary widely in their behavior as they struggle with an illness beyond their control,” noted WebMD. “In active stages, those affected may ramble in illogical sentences or react with uncontrolled anger or violence to a perceived threat. People with schizophrenia may also experience relatively passive phases of the illness in which they seem to lack personality, movement and emotion.”
Behavioral changes may include social withdrawal, depersonalization, loss of appetite, loss of hygiene, hallucinations, disorganized speech and a sense of being controlled by outside forces.
To better deal with and understand those symptoms, they are often categorized into four groups: positive symptoms (such as hearing voices), negative symptoms (such as social withdrawal), cognitive symptoms (such as the inability to perform basic tasks) and mood symptoms (such as depression).
Understanding the symptoms of schizophrenia is particularly vital because those behaviors are the only way to make a diagnosis — there is no simple medical test to determine whether a person is schizophrenic.
“People with schizophrenia usually come to the attention of a mental health professional after others see them acting strangely.”
It is also important not to rush into a diagnosis because there are other possible explanations for schizophrenic symptoms. Specifically, many of the signs overlap with those of bipolar disorder, major depression or drug use.
To further safeguard against a faulty diagnosis, the authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders recently raised the threshold for schizophrenia from one to two specified symptoms.
For those reasons, it’s important to withhold judgment about Amanda’s condition. Whatever is the cause of her behavior is best determined by medical professionals — it’s just step in the right direction that she is getting some care.