As many as fifty-one million people worldwide suffer from schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder (or group of disorders) marked by severely impaired thinking (Alic, Margaret PhD., et all. 1588).
Schizophrenia means “split mind” (Frey, Rebecca, 913). Schizophrenic people are typically unable to filter sensory stimuli and may have advanced perceptions of sound, color, and of other features of the environment. Most schizophrenics, if untreated, gradually segregate themselves from interactions with other people and lose their ability to take care of personal needs and grooming (Alic, Margaret PhD., et all. 1588). Schizophrenia can be divided into three stages. The stages go in order of acute, stabilization, and maintenance. In the acute stage, the patient has overall loss of reality.
In the stabilization stage, the symptoms have been brought under control, but the threat of relapse is present. In the maintenance stage, the symptoms are overall under control, and can indefinitely be kept on antipsychotic medications. Schizophrenia is labeled under type I and type II. In type I, the patient tends to have rapid acute symptoms and responds well to drugs.
Type II is when the patient poorly responds to medication, typically with this type of schizophrenia the patient will withdrawal from all society (Alic, Margaret PhD., et all. 1588).
Schizophrenia most commonly presents between the ages of 16 and 30, and males tend to show symptoms at a younger age than females. In many cases, the disorder develops so slowly that the individual does not know that they have had it for years. However, in other cases, it can strike suddenly and develop very quickly. Schizophrenia affects approximately one percent of all adults.
Experts say schizophrenia is probably many illnesses working as one. Experts believe several factors are generally involved in contributing to the getting of schizophrenia. Evidence suggests that genetic and environmental factors act together to bring schizophrenia. The condition has an inherited element, but environmental triggers also significantly influence it. If there is no history of schizophrenia in a family, the chances of developing it are less than one percent. However, that risk rises to ten percent if a parent was diagnosed. Experts believe that an imbalance of dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is involved in the onset of schizophrenia (Nordqvist, Christian).
Other neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, may also be involved. There is no evidence to prove or even indicate that family relationships might cause schizophrenia. However, some patients with the illness believe family tension triggers relapses. Although there is no definite proof, many suspect trauma before birth and viral infections may contribute to the development of the disease. Stressful experiences often can cause relapses of schizophrenia.
Before any acute symptoms are apparent, people with schizophrenia habitually become bad-tempered, anxious, and unfocused. This can trigger relationship problems, divorce, and unemployment. These factors are often blamed for the onset of the disease, when really it was the other way round, the disease caused the problems. Therefore, it is extremely difficult to know whether schizophrenia caused certain stresses or occurred as a result of them (Nordqvist, Christian). Marijuana and LSD are known to cause schizophrenia relapses. Additionally, for people with a predisposition to a psychotic illness such as schizophrenia, usage of cannabis may trigger the first episode. Some researchers believe that certain prescription drugs, such as steroids and stimulants, can cause psychosis (Nordqvist, Christian). I am proving that there is no official treatment or source of schizophrenia that is one hundred percent the cause.
Symptoms Symptoms of Schizophrenia are labels in many ways. Many people with schizophrenia have to rely on others because they are unable to hold a job or care for themselves. Many may also resist treatment, saying that there is nothing wrong with them. Some patients may show clear symptoms, but on other occasions, they may seem fine until they start explaining what they are actually thinking. Symptoms and signs of schizophrenia will differ, depending on the individual.
These symptoms are classified into four categories, one of them is positive symptoms, also known as psychotic symptoms.(“Schizophrenia”, “Childhood Schizophrenia.”) Delusions and hallucinations are examples of these. Hallucinations usually involve seeing or hearing things that don’t exist. Yet for the person with schizophrenia, they may seem real, like a normal experience. Hallucinations can be in any of the senses, but hearing voices is the most common in schizophrenia (“Schizophrenia”, “Childhood Schizophrenia.”). Delusions are false beliefs that are not based on reality.
For example, the patient thinks that they certain comments are being contemptuous, they have exceptional ability or fame, another person is in love with them, or a major catastrophe is about to occur. Delusions occur in most people with schizophrenia (“Schizophrenia”, “Childhood Schizophrenia.”) Negative symptoms refer to the lack of facial expression or lack of motivation. Lack of motivation is when everyday actions, such as washing and cooking, are neglected. Cognitive symptoms affect the person’s thought processes. For example, poor concentration is one cognitive symptom. Disorganized speech is when effective communication can be impaired, and answers to questions may be partially or completely unrelated. Rarely, speech may include putting together meaningless words that can’t be understood, sometimes even known as “word salad” (“Schizophrenia”, “Childhood Schizophrenia.
“). Extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior may show in a number of ways, from childlike silliness to unpredictable anger. Behavior isn’t focused on a goal, so it is hard to do tasks. Behavior can include resistance to instructions, inappropriate or bizarre posture, a complete lack of response, or useless and excessive movement (“Schizophrenia”, “Childhood Schizophrenia.”) Lastly, emotional symptoms are usually negative symptoms, such as dulled emotions (Nordqvist, Christian). Poor expression of emotions is when responses to happy or sad occasions may be lacking, or inappropriate.
Social withdrawal is when a patient with schizophrenia withdraws from all society; it is often because they believe somebody is going to harm them. Unawareness of illness is because the hallucinations and delusions seem so real for patients, many of them may not believe they are ill at all. They may refuse to take medication for fear of side effects, or for fear that the medication may be poisonous (Nordqvist, Christian). People with schizophrenia often lack awareness that their difficulties stem from a mental disorder that requires medical attention, so it often falls to family or friends to get them help (“Schizophrenia”). In men, schizophrenia symptoms typically start in the early to mid-20s. In women, symptoms typically begin in the late 20s.
It is uncommon for children to be diagnosed with schizophrenia and rare for those older than age 45 (“Schizophrenia”). Schizophrenia symptoms in teenagers are similar to those in adults, but the condition may be more difficult to recognize. This may be in part because some of the early symptoms of schizophrenia in teenagers, are very common for typical development during teen years such as withdrawal from friends and family, a drop in performance at school, trouble sleeping, irritability or depressed mood, and lack of motivation. Compared with schizophrenia symptoms in adults, teens may be less likely to have delusions and more likely to have visual hallucinations. Left untreated, schizophrenia can result in severe problems that affect every area of life, like suicide, self-harm, OCD, social isolation, depression, and alcohol and drug abuse.
(“Schizophrenia”, “Childhood Schizophrenia”)Tests A patient will likely be referred to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional who will ask them about their symptoms and mental health. Schizophrenia is diagnosed when 2 or more of the symptoms occur and reduce day to day life (Riley, Julie Smith). A schizophrenia diagnosis is reached by observing the actions of the patient. If the doctor suspects possible schizophrenia, they will need to know about the patient’s medical and psychiatric history. Certain tests will be ordered to rule out other illnesses and conditions that may trigger schizophrenia-like symptoms, such as blood tests, in cases where drug use may be a factor, a blood test may be requested. Blood tests are also done to exclude physical causes of illness.
Imaging studies are used to rule out tumors and problems in the structure of the brain. Psychological evaluation is when a specialist will assess the patient’s mental state by asking about thoughts, moods, hallucinations, suicidal traits, violent tendencies, or potential for violence, as well as observing their demeanor and appearance. Patients must meet the criteria in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders). This is an American Psychiatric Association manual used by doctors to diagnose mental illnesses and conditions. The doctor needs to exclude other possible mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder. It is also important to establish that the signs and symptoms have not been caused by, for example, a prescribed medication or substance abuse.
The patient must have at least two of the following typical symptoms delusions, disorganized or catatonic behavior, disorganized speech, hallucinations, negative symptoms that are present for much of the time during the last 4 weeks experience considerable impairment in the ability to attend school, carry out their work duties, or carry out everyday tasks, or have symptoms that persist for 6 months or more (Nordqvist, Christian).Treatments Schizophrenia is not curable, but symptoms can be reduced through treatment. A patient will want to obviate any relapses. Early, aggressive treatment can lead to better outcomes and may delay progression of schizophrenia to just psychosis (Riley, Julie Smith).
There are antipsychotic medications that can be used to help reduce symptoms. Antipsychotic medications are usually taken daily in pill or liquid form. Some antipsychotics are injections that are given once or twice a month (“Schizophrenia”). Antipsychotics work by blocking certain chemicals in the brain. This helps control the abnormal thinking that occurs in people with schizophrenia. Determining a drug plan can be a complicated process. Often medications or dosages need to be changed until the right balance is found. This can take months or even years.
The right balance of medication will have the least amount of side effects possible with the greatest benefit. Its important to continue taking the medication even if you are feeling better. Symptoms will return once the medication has been stopped (Legg, Timothy Ph.D.). A long-acting injection instead of daily pills may be used if you have difficulty taking regular medication.
Antipsychotics also have side effects that may make it difficult to stick to a medication routine. Common side effects include, slow and stiff movement, restlessness, facial tics, protruding tongue, some people have side effects when they start taking medications, but most side effects go away after a few days. The most common schizophrenia medications are Risperidone (Risperdal) which is less dangerous than other atypical antipsychotics. Weight gain and diabetes are possible side effects, but are less likely to happen, compared with Clozapine or Olanzapine. Olanzapine (Zyprexa) which may also improve negative symptoms. However, the risks of serious weight gain and the development of diabetes are significant. Quetiapine (Seroquel) has a risk of weight gain and diabetes, however, the risk is lower than Clozapine or Olanzapine.
Ziprasidone (Geodon), the risk of weight gain and diabetes is lower than other atypical antipsychotics. However, it might contribute to cardiac arrhythmia. Clozapine (Clozaril) is effective for patients who have been resistant to treatment. It is known to lower suicidal behaviors in patients with schizophrenia. The risk of weight gain and diabetes is significant.
Finally, Haloperidol is an antipsychotic used to treat schizophrenia. It has a week-long effect (Legg, Timothy Ph.D.
). The primary schizophrenia treatment is medication. Sadly, following the medication plan is a major problem.
People with schizophrenia often come off their medication for long periods during their lives, at huge personal costs to themselves and often to those around them. The patient must continue taking medication even when symptoms are gone, otherwise, they will come back. The first time a person experiences schizophrenia symptoms, it can be very unpleasant. They may take a long time to recover, and that recovery can be a lonely experience.
It is crucial that a person living with schizophrenia receives the full support of their family, friends, and community services when onset appears for the first time (Nordqvist, Christian). Doctors and patients can work together to find the best medication or medication combination, and the right dose. Psychiatric treatments are helpful for patients and their doctor finds a medication that works. Learning and using coping skills to address the everyday challenges of schizophrenia helps people to pursue their life goals, such as attending school or work (“Schizophrenia”). Other treatments, such as group therapy and social skills training, can help you to manage symptoms. Family therapy may also help (McCoy, Krisha).
Depression and anxiety can often occur with schizophrenia. Individual and family therapy can address social skills, vocational guidance, community resources, family issues, living arrangements, emotional support. They may be treated with antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, mood stabilizers, and anticonvulsants (Riley, Julie Smith). Schizophrenia is a lifelong condition. It can be confusing and frightening for the person with the disease and for family members (McCoy, Krisha). A major part of treating people with schizophrenia is helping them learn and practice the basics of daily living.
They face many challenges, cognitive deficits make it hard for people with schizophrenia to navigate public transportation and locate their local pharmacy. Cognitive symptoms may also make it difficult for a person with schizophrenia to convey his or her needs to their pharmacist and remember the pharmacist’s instructions. Symptoms such as paranoia may make interacting with the public stressful or scary for people with schizophrenia. Training sessions geared to teaching these skills in real, community settings have been proven to boost these life skills (Brichford, Connie).Recovery If a patient takes their medicine, is going to therapy, and doing the protocol that fits their type of schizophrenia, they should slowly get better.
You can never fully get rid of schizophrenia, but you can lessen the effects on your health. Complications associated with schizophrenia may occur in childhood or later, such as suicide, suicide attempts and thoughts of suicide, self-injury, anxiety disorders, panic disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, abuse of alcohol or other drugs, including tobacco, family conflicts, inability to live independently, attend school or work, social isolation, health and medical problems, being victimized, legal and financial problems, and homelessness, aggressive behavior, although uncommon(“Schizophrenia”, “Childhood Schizophrenia.”). Sticking with the treatment plan can help prevent relapses or worsening of schizophrenia symptoms. The patient would have to stick with this plan for the rest of their life due to the fact that you can never fully get rid of it. Schizophrenia is like the wind, because it comes and goes. Schizophrenia can be very scary to whoever has it, so it is very imported that they get treated so it doesn’t evolve it into something even more serious. You can’t prevent Schizophrenia in any way, so it is important to not blame the holder.
Schizophrenia will literally take a lifetime to recover, this is why a patient must stay on the plan prescribed to them. No matter how good a patient may feel you must stay on the plan. Recovery for people with schizophrenia means that they are not showing any symptoms, are living in their community, and are engaging in positive social interactions with friends and family. In short, a stranger would not be able to guess their mental health history.
Many people with schizophrenia experience relapses. A relapse is a deterioration in someone’s state of health after a temporary improvement. Only about 10 to 20 percent of people treated for schizophrenia don’t experience a relapse, according to a review published in the journal BMC Psychiatry in 2013. Most people with schizophrenia have multiple relapses over time. Some schizophrenia relapses occur without warning, but when early signs are present, they’re usually a return of symptoms that have occurred in the past.
Common warning signs of a schizophrenia relapse include insomnia, social withdrawal, difficulty concentrating, irritability, loss of interest, increasing paranoia, and hallucinations. Knowing these symptoms is important, but knowing the symptoms that are specific to each person with schizophrenia called “relapse signatures” is more important (Brichford, Connie). Up to 70 percent of people with schizophrenia will experience these early symptoms before a full relapse sets in. The first symptoms of schizophrenia may develop over months or years.
Relapse tends to happen more quickly. According to the BMC Psychiatry review, the average time from a return of symptoms to a full relapse is less than one month. Recognizing these symptoms early on can help immediate steps be taken to get proper treatment. Knowing the common causes of a schizophrenia relapse can tell you when to be on the lookout for a relapse. Not taking medication regularly or as prescribed is the most common cause of schizophrenia relapse.
Persistent use of drugs or alcohol and criticism from caregivers are next on the list. “Many people with schizophrenia abuse some type of drug, most commonly marijuana,” Frangou says. Stress is particularly problematic. “Stress may contribute to schizophrenia relapse, but symptoms of relapse can also increase stress,” she says(Brichford, Connie). Psychosocial treatments help people with schizophrenia and their families learn how to live with the condition. They include individual, group, or family education as well as counseling.You may not always be able to prevent a schizophrenia relapse, but recognizing relapse symptoms and getting help early can help prevent a more severe episode (Iliades, Chris).
All of the information I have found on schizophrenia, I have used it to come to the conclusion that schizophrenia has no real-existing cure.