Schizophrenia is a type of psychosis, and more specifically, a very severe disorder of the brain that changes the way a person rationalizes, acts, views reality, and displays emotions. Many people dont know what is schizophrenia but it is the most problem-causing and chronically occurring of all the mental illnesses. Those who have schizophrenia are known to exhibit a lot of difficulties in functioning at work, school, and in society. Although there is no cure for this lifelong disease, it can be controlled with the correct treatment.
Schizophrenia is the blanket term for the larger sub divisions of the disorder. These sub divisions include paranoid, disorganized, catatonic, undifferentiated, and residual schizophrenia. Each of these different subtypes have their own symptoms and characteristics, although it is possible for different subtypes to have some of the same symptoms as others.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
As with many other mental disorders and illnesses, schizophrenia several causes. It has been known for a long time in the scientific research community that schizophrenia can be passed down through genetics. It is believed by many researchers that there is not just one gene that causes schizophrenia but several. Recent research data points to a potential cause of the disorder occurring when a certain gene, that is essential to creating brain chemicals, functions improperly. When it is not functioning properly, this gene can have an effect on the part of the brain that develops higher level functioning skills. Although genes may be one potential cause of schizophrenia, researchers know that the environment may also be a cause for the development of the disease.
There is also a belief among researchers that an imbalance of the complex chemical reactions in the brain that involve dopamine, glutamate, and other neurotransmitters may play a more active role in the disorder than initially thought.
What Are the Symptoms of Schizophrenia?
When someone suffers from schizophrenia their behavior patterns very noticeably change. The various behavior changes that one may undergo includes a loss of appetite and hygiene, delusions, anti-social tendencies, hallucinations, and intense paranoia and anxiety.
There are generally four different sub categories of symptoms when dealing with schizophrenia: positive, deficit, cognitive, and mood symptoms. Some of the positive symptoms include the hearing of voices, extreme suspiciousness and paranoia, delusions and the creation of neologisms. Symptoms that are incorporated into the deficit category include anti-social behavior, the blunted affect (difficulty displaying emotion), problems with personal hygiene, and the inability of feeling happiness. Cognitive symptoms include difficulty with processing information, the surrounding environment and in being able to do tasks that are relatively simple in nature. The main symptom that falls under the mood category is depression, which is one of the major reasons for the large number of attempted suicides in people who suffer from schizophrenia.
What Are the available Treatment Options for Schizophrenia?
There are several different forms of treatment that will all aid in the reduction of future episodes related to psychosis as well as aid in the mending or improving of personal relationships. When treating the disorder with medication, antipsychotic medicines are typically used. These medications have been proven to be effective in dealing with acute psychosis and helping reduce the potential risk of psychotic episodes in the future. The majority of people suffering from schizophrenia usually experience a very large improvement in symptoms when using antipsychotic drugs.
Even though success might be achieved with the use of antipsychotic drugs, many patients who suffer from schizophrenia have problems with daily tasks and activities, developing good interpersonal and communication skills as well as developing healthy positive relationships. There are many very helpful forms of psychological therapy available for sufferers of schizophrenia. These can include but are not limited to psychotherapy, rehab, family education courses, and self-help groups and support systems. Another form of treatment for schizophrenia is called electroconvulsive therapy. This form of treatment is generally reserved for when all other treatment options have been exhausted with no success.