There is no difference in the incidence and prevalence of schizophrenia between men and women, although schizophrenia is more strongly associated with younger men. This may be due to the fact that women more often than men experience the beginning of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia symptoms in females, while the onset of males usually occurs in the early 20s. Also, because women with schizophrenia are more socially active, their schizophrenia may be less detectable. Read on more about Schizophrenia symptoms in females
Schizophrenia symptoms in females
The criteria for diagnosing schizophrenia symptoms in females are the same in men, but the characteristics of schizophrenia vary between the sexes. For example, women may show depression or anxiety, which may increase the risk of suicide.
Women with schizophrenia rarely have symptoms such as:
Flat affect (monotonous voice, blunt expression)
Blunt emotional reactions (not responding strongly emotionally to good or bad news)
Women with schizophrenia may be more physically active and more hostile than men. They may also experience more auditory hallucinations as well as paranoid and persecuting illusions. Paranoid delusions consist of thoughts like “my husband cheats me” when he is not.
Life challenges for women with schizophrenia
Usually, women with schizophrenia function better than men, often because the late age of the disease is a less serious form of mental illness. Women with schizophrenia more often experience less hospitalization and shorter hospital visits than men. Some researchers believe that the later effect is that hormones such as estrogens have a protective effect. However, this difference in the starting age does not occur in all ethnic groups. For example, many studies in India did not show a difference in the average age of men and women.
Women with schizophrenia are more likely to have married and have children. It is more likely that they will have unplanned pregnancies than women without this disease. In developed countries, women with schizophrenia experience greater homelessness. However, they are less susceptible than men to disorders related to substance use or smoking. Older women experience severe late dyskinesia (TD), an involuntary movement disorder usually seen in the jaw, lips and tongue caused by antipsychotic drugs, more often than older men. In the end, being a woman and suffering from schizophrenia is also more related to the incidence of a migraine and thyroid problems.
Treatment of women with schizophrenia
Although the treatment of mental illness is not usually distributed on the basis of sex, doctors best serve women, taking into account their unique experience of schizophrenia and the unique challenges they face. Because women have a later onset of the disease and rarely feel affective symptoms, clinicians need to be careful to exclude other mental disorders such as the schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder when diagnosing schizophrenia.
Treatment of women with schizophrenia should include psychoeducation and support for the needs of mothers with children. Antipsychotic drugs can affect breastfeeding and the amount of energy that a mother needs to give birth to her babies. 7 Women-friendly treatment programs should also include education about physical health. Women with schizophrenia rarely care for their physical health. This leaves the risk of untreated breast cancer, osteoporosis, and thyroid disease. Mental health specialists should also consider creating safety plans for women with schizophrenia who are at increased risk of committing suicide.
Every person suffering from a mental illness is a natural person and experiences challenges related to mental illness as a natural person. Women with schizophrenia are no exception.