Symptoms and Treatment of Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder in which an individual is disabled by abnormal perceptions of reality that delude his or her normal thinking. It’s characterized by symptoms of psychosis, disorganization, and negative symptoms.

Individuals experience extreme social dysfunction and may be unable to cope with normal interaction with others, including relationships and employment. They withdraw into an inner world surrounded by their own delusions manifested from psychosis.

Typically, the affected individual will hear voices that they may believe are telling them instructions or are controlling their thoughts. They may also develop the idea that others are reading their minds or scheming to harm them. Hearing these voices may be terrifying for the individual and cause them to develop paranoid behavior like losing trust in others, withdrawing, or acting erratically and agitated.

Because of constant fear and retreat into isolation, many affected individuals become incapable of even providing care for themselves. Their speech may seem jumbled, nonsensical, or spontaneous due to their loss of association. Their behavior may seem irrational, extreme, and unpredictable. However, people with schizophrenia display different levels of severity at periods of time; some may lead productive lives every day while others become extremely dependent and require long-term intensive care for schizophrenia treatment. In some cases, the onset of the illness might occur suddenly, and in other cases, the symptoms grow gradually.

Symptoms

Obvious signs include catatonia, lack of emotion, inappropriate emotional response or unusual behavior, angry outbursts, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, uncoordinated movements, incoherent speech, difficulty at school and work, social isolation, and neglect of personal hygiene.

Symptoms are usually described as belonging to one of three general categories: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms.

Positive symptoms are the intensification of normal emotional or behavioral responses. These include hallucinations such as seeing things that do not exist or hearing voices giving instructions or messages, delusions such as beliefs of conspiracy and paranoid feelings of being watched, thought disorders such as jumbled speech known as word salad, and movement disorders such as involuntary jerks or repetitive actions.

Negative symptoms are the lack of normal emotional or behavioral responses. These include the lack of emotion or concern, loss of interest or pleasure, loss of motivation, flat affect, disorganized reactions and planning, and lack of interaction or response.

Cognitive symptoms may be subtle, but they describe the incapacitation of executive functioning, difficulty concentrating and marked decrease in working memory.

Treatment

The actual cause of schizophrenia still hasn’t been identified, so schizophrenia treatment is focused on eradicating the symptoms of affected individuals by biological, cognitive, developmental, and psychological intervention through the use of antipsychotic medication and psychosocial therapy.

Because of advancements in antipsychotic medications, schizophrenia can be properly managed and enable affected individuals to lead fulfilling and productive lives. Although schizophrenia may be experienced as an ongoing illness or as a period of remission, proper medication and professional support will successfully allow them to overcome symptoms and encourage growth.

Schizophrenia is a chronic illness that requires lifelong treatment. The affected individuals may experience periods of self-sustaining control under their current schizophrenia treatment, then later require hospitalization to help cope with periods of serious symptoms.

Since schizophrenics have trouble thinking clearly or having a lucid memory, proper schizophrenia treatment may be difficult to mandate. Relapse is likely to occur. The best chance of successful treatment involves improving lifestyle and environment, family, and medical support with persistence.

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