- Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder in which people abnormally interpret reality. It can occur in men and women of all ages.
- It may result in some combinations of delusions, hallucinations, and extreme disorder thinking and behavior that affect daily routine.
- Though schizophrenia isn’t common, so it can be chronic and disabling.
- Schizophrenia affects less than one percent of the United States population.
- A schizophrenic person needs lifetime treatment. Early treatment may help control symptoms before any complications.
Schizophrenia causes psychosis and is associated with disability. It may affect all areas of life, including personal, family, social, educational, and occupational functioning. Furthermore, stigma, discrimination, and violation of human rights with schizophrenia are common.
Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia generally occurs in phases, with different symptoms and behaviors depending on the stage.
- Onset (prodrome). It is an early phase before a person develops severe symptoms. It can contain social withdrawal, anxiety, and lack of motivation and personal hygiene.
- Active. This phase is when psychotic symptoms take full effect. Another term for the active stage is “psychotic break,” where a person disconnects from reality.
- Residual. People in this stage still have some schizophrenia signs and symptoms, but they are not severe. The most noticeable effects are odd beliefs, lack of motivation, limited speaking, and reduced emotional expression. However, this phase is temporary, and symptoms of schizophrenia will return as a person goes back into the active stage.
Positive Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Positive symptoms, also called psychotic symptoms, refer to added thoughts or actions that aren’t real. These include:
These are false, mixed, and weird beliefs that aren't real, and the person refuses to give up when shown the facts.
It involves sensations that aren’t real. Hearing voices is one of the common hallucinations in people with schizophrenia.
In this condition, a person may stop speaking, and their bodies may be fixed in a certain position for a long time.
Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Negative signs of schizophrenia include:
- Lack of emotion
- Less energy
- Lack of motivation
- Less communication
- Loss of interest in life
Disorganized Symptoms of Schizophrenia
In disorganized symptoms of schizophrenia, a person can’t think clearly or respond as expected in certain situations. Examples include:
- Using nonsense words makes it difficult for the affected person to communicate
- Quickly shifting from one thought to another without any logical connection
- Forgetting things
- Moving slowly
Cognitive Symptoms of Schizophrenia
This person will have difficulty while:
- Understanding information
- Using information immediately after learning it
- Identifying that they have any issue
Other Possible Symptoms of SchizophreniaLack of Insight
People with schizophrenia usually show signs of another condition, anosognosia. This condition is often described as a “lack of insight,” which means a person can’t identify that they have a medical problem, disorder, or illness. It is one of the significant reasons that schizophrenia is so challenging to treat.
How is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?
A healthcare provider can diagnose schizophrenia or its relevant disorders based on a variety of questions they ask, the symptoms you explain, or by observing your actions. They’ll ask questions to identify causes other than schizophrenia and compare their findings to the criteria of a schizophrenia diagnosis.
A schizophrenia diagnosis requires:
- At least two of five primary symptoms. These include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speaking, unusual movements, and negative symptoms.
- Duration of symptoms and effects. The main symptoms you have must last for at least one month.
- Social or occupational dysfunction. It means the condition disrupts your ability to work or your relationships (friendly, romantic, professional, or otherwise).
The exact schizophrenia causes aren’t known. But it’s a chronic illness with biological facts. Researchers have found several factors that make a person more likely to have schizophrenia, such as:
|Causes||What it entails|
|Genetic||If no one in your family history has schizophrenia ever, the chances of developing the disorder are less than 1%. However, the chances increase if one of your parents is diagnosed with schizophrenia.|
|Chemical imbalance in the brain||Schizophrenia develops when there is an imbalance of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain.|
|Environmental factors|| Environmental factors that increase the risk of schizophrenia are:
|Drugs and medications||Some substances in cannabis can trigger the risk of schizophrenia.|
Treatment for Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia treatment focuses on managing or alleviating the signs of schizophrenia. It’s important to consult a mental health professional. Possible treatments for schizophrenia include:
Antipsychotic medicine is a common treatment for schizophrenia. It can help manage delusions and hallucinations.
- Psychosocial intervention
Psychosocial intervention is another treatment for schizophrenia. It includes individual therapy for schizophrenia to help you manage stress and illness. Social training can improve your communication skills as well.
- Vocational rehabilitation
Vocational rehabilitation can give you the skills required to do work efficiently. It helps maintain a regular job easier.
- Family support and awareness
If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, having friends or family support can help lessen stress and create a feeling of inclusion. There are certain educational programs available for family members that can help you spot symptoms and provide help when required.
- Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC)
These are recovery-focused programs for people with an early stage of schizophrenia. Healthcare professionals and specialists work together for CSC, which incorporates psychotherapy, medication, case management, and family education and support. The treatment team collaborates with the affected person to make treatment decisions involving their family members.
- Assertive Community Treatment (ACT)
It is designed for people who have schizophrenia and are likely to experience multiple hospitalizations or homelessness. ACT is usually delivered by healthcare professionals who provide care to affected people in the community.
- Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Misuse
People with schizophrenia may have issues with drugs and alcohol. A program that possesses treatment for schizophrenia and substance use is vital for recovery because substance use can interrupt schizophrenia treatment.
Getting an Online Therapist Consultation through Telehealth Services at Omni Help
Many of you might not be in an area where you can access quick and efficient healthcare services. Others might have transportation issues or a physical disability. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the normal functioning of many hospital services as well. You can easily consult a doctor, get a prescription, and suggestions on which tests to get online from a medical expert at Omni Help.
You can access a qualified doctor online and have an online medical consultation in the safety of your own house.
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There is no certain test for schizophrenia. The diagnosis is based on a patient interview by an expert clinician and a comprehensive history of symptoms provided by the patient. Blood tests, brain scans, and EEG will be conducted to identify the presence of other diseases that may cause schizophrenia symptoms.
Different strategies can be helpful when the disorder isn't controlled by usual antipsychotics, including psychotherapy (cognitive behavioral therapy), the use of antipsychotics (clozapine), and psychotropic drugs (mood stabilizers when a mood disorder is observed) or brain stimulation.
There is no way to prevent schizophrenia. But with early schizophrenia diagnosis and treatment, you can avoid frequent relapses and hospitalizations and cut the disruption to a person's life, family, and relationships.
Antipsychotics increase the risk of tardive dyskinesia that affects movement. Someone with tardive dyskinesia may have uncontrollable movements such as eyes blinking, lip-smacking, or chewing repeatedly. Some other side effects of antipsychotics are drowsiness, weight gain, restlessness, dry mouth, and constipation.
Researchers consider that several environmental and genetic factors contribute to causation, and life stressors play an imperative role in the early stages of symptoms and their course. Since several factors may involve, researchers can't find a specific reason for the exact cause.
Although some signs may seem similar, schizophrenia is not a dissociative identity disorder (also known as split personality or multiple personality disorder). People with dissociative identity disorder may have two or more different identities that take control of them alternately.
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