Dedicated to patient care since 1985
Schizophrenia, one of the most debilitating and baffling mental illnesses, defines a group of disorders that cause distorted thought and perception. Thoughts can be scrambled or jump from subject to subject. Perception can be distorted beyond reality, causing people to hear or see things that are not there.
People with schizophrenia go through periods of getting better and worse - remission and relapse. They can go for long periods of time without any symptoms, but because schizophrenia is often a chronic illness it requires ongoing medical attention, like hypertension and diabetes.
Schizophrenia is neither "split" personality nor multiple personality disorder, a different and extremely rare problem. Though often stigmatized for the behaviors caused by the illness, people with schizophrenia did not bring the illness upon themselves by becoming involved with the "wrong" crowd or interests. And contrary to the beliefs that are reinforced by movies, television and books, people with the disorder are more likely to withdraw into isolation or become victims of crime than they are to hurt anyone else.
Much less common than other chronic diseases, schizophrenia occurs in around 150 of every 100,000 people, or about one to one and a half percent of the population, and usually appears during adolescence or young adulthood. However, it can be one of the most catastrophic illnesses because it can cause devastating impairments, emotional and financial losses, and the need for intensive medical and supportive care.
Causes of paranoid schizophrenia are still debatable. Heredity does play a part in paranoid schizophrenia, and although stress is NOT a factor in paranoid schizophrenia it certainly exacerbates the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia
The signs and symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia are apparent to friends and family before the victim of paranoid schizophrenia notices the changes. Some signs of paranoid schizophrenia are confusion; indecision; nervousness; strange behavior; general withdrawal; indifference; anger; argumentative tendencies, changes in normal habits suicide and homicide.
If paranoid schizophrenia sufferers fall prey to an acute attack they require full-time hospitalization. As the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia begin to wane they can be transferred to a partial care program.
The following hospital procedures are common for paranoid schizophrenia treatment:
group therapy allows paranoid schizophrenia patients to share coping strategies
individual therapy allows personal discussion to deal with paranoid schizophrenia
family meetings with medical staff prepare for the discharge of the paranoid schizophrenia patient.
According to NIMH (National Institute of Medical Health) about one in a hundred people develop schizophrenia during their lifetime. Schizophrenia cause is not a result of poor parenting, on the contrary the schizophrenia causes in most victims are errors in brain development that arises from genetic and environmental factors.
Damage to the brain is not a schizophrenia cause, although schizophrenia cause can rather be attributed to faulty brain development.
Although it has been ascertained that schizophrenia appears in males in their teens and 20s in women in 20s and early 30s and that childhood schizophrenia is rare, the schizophrenia cause of this devastating affliction has not reached a solution although there has been extensive research for schizophrenia cause.
Some schizophrenia causes spring from hormonal changes of puberty and the biochemical changes of those at risk begin at this point.
It seems as if schizophrenia cause probably happens prior to birth. Schizophrenia cause increases with complications surrounding birth. Schizophrenia cause exacerbate during labor and delivery complications. Schizophrenia causes are also based on theories that the risk for schizophrenia increases when the developing fetus or newborn is deprived of oxygen.
Schizophrenia causes are also linked to a higher rate of the disease in cities than in non-urban areas. Schizophrenia causes resulting from virus such as flu epidemics need more research to substantiate the link. There is no single schizophrenia cause, although there is ongoing research into schizophrenia causes.
Early schizophrenia symptoms are benign enough to go unnoticed by family and friends. As the illness progresses the variety of schizophrenia symptoms increase as well as intensify. Schizophrenia symptoms are triggered by a number of disease processes coupled with genetic factors and environmental stresses.
The most common of the schizophrenia symptoms are hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking and behavior, and an abnormal and lethargic expression of emotions. The most prominent schizophrenia symptom is hallucination. Hearing voices that others don't is the most common type of hallucination of the schizophrenia symptoms. This hallucinatory schizophrenia symptom embraces voices that either describe the patient's activities, carries on a conversation, warns of impending dangers or these voices orders the patient what to do.
Another common schizophrenia symptom is delusions of persecution or grandeur. This schizophrenia symptom involves incomplete lines of thought. The result of this schizophrenia symptom is fragmented thinking and jerky conversing.
An added schizophrenia symptom is a deadened emotional syndrome resulting in a voice monotone and mask-like facial expression. A linked schizophrenia symptom is inappropriate emotional response.
Delusional behavior, a belief that someone can hear their thoughts, control their feelings, actions and impulses, is one symptom of schizophrenia that requires attention.
Another symptom of schizophrenia is a distortion of the senses known as hallucinations:
The patient with the auditory hallucination symptom of schizophrenia hears sounds that are not there.
The visual hallucination symptom of schizophrenia causes one to see things that don't exist.
The tactile hallucination symptom of schizophrenia is an intense sensation that has no cause like burning or itching.
Finally the olfactory hallucination symptom of schizophrenia causes the patient to smell non-existent odors.
Some experts recommend classifying the variety of symptoms into different groups - positive symptom of schizophrenia and negative symptom of schizophrenia. An example of a negative symptom of schizophrenia is low sociability. An example of a positive symptom of schizophrenia is manifested as a psychotic symptom (either hallucination or delusion) or cognitive impairment (thought disorder).
It is important to remember that a patient may have more than one symptom of schizophrenia, but rarely does a schizophrenic patient have all of them. Many or just one symptom of schizophrenia may occur during remission and then worsen during the active phase.
Like many other mental illnesses schizophrenia treatment involves many therapies tailored to the individual patient's needs and symptoms. There are many forms of schizophrenia treatments (medications and therapies) used in isolation or more effectively in combination. While no absolute cure has been found the improvement in the last 20 years in schizophrenia treatment leads to schizophrenic patients leading fulfilling and independent lives.
An early schizophrenia treatment in the 1940's whose benefits are not definitive is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or shock treatment. This alternate and newer ECT technique for schizophrenia treatment does not affect the brain structure. This schizophrenia treatment is viewed as safer than drug therapy for severe depression.
Substance abuse increases non-compliance with anti-psychotic drug schizophrenia treatment in addition to other adverse effects.
Nicotine may be a form of self-medication schizophrenia treatment that helps reduce psychotic symptoms.
Once the patient has responded to one or multi schizophrenia treatments, the addition of individual, family or group psychotherapy sessions may be a helpful schizophrenia treatment enhancement.
Utilizing both drug therapy and some form of psychosocial treatment for schizophrenia treatment is supportive, positive and reality-oriented.
Schizophrenia treatment that is geared towards rehabilitation programs for job counseling and training, problem-solving or money-management, social skills and the use of public transportation is found to be the most essential and beneficial post crisis schizophrenia treatment.
Cognitive therapy to relearn problem solving techniques, retrain basic living skills for a basic quality of life and strategies to reduce the risk of relapse is a favorable schizophrenia treatment.
Relapse figures decrease significantly when positive family involvement is introduced as a part of the schizophrenia treatment. Caregivers with this part of the schizophrenia treatment can be taught to recognize impending symptoms and stressful situations as well as helping enforce drug regimens.
Community schizophrenia treatment programs can be highly beneficial and cost effective. Professional caregivers who provide treatment and support within the home is preferable to frequent hospitalization as a schizophrenia treatment choice.
Vocational rehabilitation is a schizophrenia treatment that helps the health of the patient through paid employment.
Although there is no current schizophrenia cure, the combination therapy and drug schizophrenia treatment effectively controls the disordered symptoms enabling the patient to live more functional lives.
Another more severe schizophrenia symptom is called catatonic schizophrenia in which the patient is immobile and unresponsive. Catatonic schizophrenia is characterized by marked psychomotor disturbance. In catatonic schizophrenia, a catatonic stupor indicates a marked decrease in reactivity to the environment and in spontaneous activity. Catatonic schizophrenia sufferers display a resistance to all instructions or attempts to be moved. Symptoms of catatonic schizophrenia can also involve the maintenance of a rigid posture. In another form catatonic schizophrenia victims can be excited and display uncontrollable and apparently purposeless motor activity. Associated features of catatonic schizophrenia are stereo-typed behavior, mannerisms and waxy flexibility. Catatonic schizophrenia is dominated by physical symptoms.
When treatment begins, recognize that many of the antipsychotic medications will likely cause the patient to require more sleep than usual. Also, understand and be prepared to recognize possible medication side effects as well as symptoms that would require contacting the doctor.
Speak clearly and simply. Because the illness can cause problems with thinking, it is helpful to limit conversation to the most simple statements and questions. Recognize delusions and hallucinations as symptoms. The perceptions are real to the patient; do not argue that the delusion is true or false. Pointing out that he or she does not have to listen to the voice or wait for the voice to speak again can be helpful.
Find a way to empathize. For example, the loud music played by the neighbors at night might be interpreted in a delusion as a tactic to control the patient's thoughts. Rather than insisting this is untrue, acknowledge how upsetting loud music can be while trying to sleep.
Provide structure. Help the person recovering from the illness to plan the days to include plenty of sleep, healthy food, fresh air, time for exercise, cleanliness and social interaction.
Family and friends should plan ahead and be prepared for possible crises. Medications, phone numbers, and other important information and materials should be kept readily available.
Dealing with a relative or friend with schizophrenia can be tremendously stressful.
Family and friends can find emotional support, understanding and hope from outreach, education and advocacy groups. Whether you are the victim, a family member or a friend, everyone who is affected by this mental illness should seek help.