What is schizophrenia? (1)
A chronic brain illness that affects one percent population of the U.S It causes hallucinations and delusions when it is in active form. Trouble in thinking, slurred speech, and lack of motivation are also associated with this disorder. Treatment of schizophrenia will help minimize the symptoms and improve the quality of life of a patient.
Treatment can also diminish the recurrence of this disorder. No cure for schizophrenia is available while researchers are trying to reach a safer and innovative approach for the treatment of schizophrenia. Experts are struggling with unveiling the cause for schizophrenia by conducting a study on genetics, behavioral research and also utilizing imaging to look at the structure of the brain and also it’s functioning. Such approaches will lead to new and effective therapies.
According to research schizophrenia can be found in men and women both equally but men usually have an earlier onset of this disorder. Around the world affecting rates are the same. Unlike the general population, people with this disorder die earlier largely due to the co-occurrence of medical symptoms like diabetes and diseases of the heart. Schizophrenia is not common like other mental disorders, it is a more chronic and disabling disease. If a person is having schizophrenia they often face problems in society, at school, and also in personal relationships. This disorder is lifelong and cannot be cured but it can be controlled if proper treatment is given.
Sign and symptoms of Schizophrenia:
Signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are shown in men first when they are in a phase of teens or early 20s. On the other hand, women get affected when they are in their 20s or 30s. Symptoms may last for days, weeks, and also years. There is no specific trigger so it is hard to identify this disorder. Only a subtle change in behavior is noticed in teens like:
- Change in grades
- Social withdrawal
- They have trouble concentrating
- Flares in temper
- Difficulty in sleeping
Positive symptoms of schizophrenia
Word positive really doesn’t mean good in this scenario. It is called positive because thoughts and actions in this disorder are not reality-based. These symptoms are called psychotic and they include:
- Delusions: they are not based on reality and are mixed with false beliefs but the person with schizophrenia refuses to believe that they are not real even when the facts are shown to them. For example, a person says they can hear their thoughts or believe that the other person is plotting against them.
- Hallucinations: sensations that are not real are involved in hallucinations. People with such disorder hear voices mostly and the voice they hear may insult them or give orders to perform tasks. Such people also see things that might not exist there. They smell different odors. They also feel the sensation as if something is present on their skin even when nothing is touching their body.
- Catatonia: in this type, the person may stop talking and their body stuck in a position that is fixed and they remain in this state for a long time.
Disorganized symptoms of schizophrenia may include:
- When they talk their sentence is out of sense and they use nonsense words while talking which makes another person uncomfortable
- They shift quickly from one thought to another that has no connections
- They move slowly
- They are not able to make decisions
- They write excessive but has no meaning
- Forgetting things or losing
- Repeating movements
- They have problems in making sense.
A person with schizophrenia will have trouble in:
- Understanding information
- Making decisions
- Focusing or paying attention
- Working memory in which they use the information immediately after learning them
- They don’t recognize if they had such a problem
Absence of being normal in people with such symptoms. Symptoms of negative type are:
- Lack of emotion
- The limited range for emotions
- Withdrawal from family and social activities
- Less energy is seen
- They speak less
- Lack of motivation
- Loss of pleasure
- Lack of interest in life
- Poor hygiene
- Poor grooming habits.
Causes of schizophrenia: (2)
As discussed earlier the exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown to researchers and doctors. Schizophrenia has biological bases like cancer and diabetes. Researchers have unveiled the cause that may appear to develop schizophrenia. That includes:
- This disorder may run in families by passing from parents to children.
- Brain chemistry and circuits: brain chemicals usually known as neurotransmitters are unable to regulate their function in people with schizophrenia. Such chemicals control circuits of nerve cells that alter thinking and a person’s behavior.
- Brain abnormality: research shows that there is some abnormality found in the structure of brain cells in such people. But this cause cannot be applied to all kinds of schizophrenia. It can also affect anyone even those who are not having this disease.
- Environment: there are some other factors that contributed to causing schizophrenia-like infections, exposure to any toxic substance like marijuana, or any other situation that is stressful. Schizophrenia is more likely to develop in people with hormonal and physical disturbances and this mostly happens with teens and young adolescents.
Treatment of schizophrenia:
The treatment goal for schizophrenia is to lessen the symptoms and reduce the occurrence of relapses or reoccurrence of symptoms. Treatment for schizophrenia involves these therapies:
Antipsychotics are the primary medication that is used to treat schizophrenia. They don’t cure schizophrenia but help in relieving the symptoms that include delusions and hallucinations.
First-generation drugs of antipsychotics include:
The second general of antipsychotic drugs are:
Some other treatments are also given like
- Coordinated specialty care
- Psychosocial therapy
- Cognitive remediation
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy or support group therapy
- Hospitalization: such people are treated as outpatients in hospitals but hospitalization is the best way to control the symptoms and patient should be kept under observation for better treatment for people with severe symptoms.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)