schizophrenia | Symptoms, causes and treatment. (2023)

Schizophrenia is a mental health problem. Symptoms include hearing, seeing, smelling, or tasting things that are not real (hallucinations); misconceptions (illusions); disordered thoughts and problems with feelings, behavior and motivation. The cause is not clear. In many people, symptoms come back (recur) or persist long-term, but some people only have an episode of symptoms that lasts a few weeks. Treatment includes medication, speech therapy, and social support.

What is schizophrenia?

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that causes disordered ideas, beliefs, and experiences. In a sense, people with schizophrenia lose touch with reality and don't know which thoughts and experiences are real and which are not.

Some people misunderstand schizophrenia. This has nothing to do with a split personality, for example. Furthermore, the vast majority of people with schizophrenia are not violent.

You may be aware that some people feel that schizophrenia should be dismissed as a concept. They believe the term is unscientific, stigmatizing, and fails to address the root causes of severe mental distress. However, many medical professionals still find the term schizophrenia useful.

Schizophrenia develops in about 1 in 100 people. It can occur in both men and women. The most common age for first development is 15-25 years in males and 25-35 in females.

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schizophrenia symptoms

There are many possible symptoms. Health professionals often categorize symptoms as "positive" and "negative." Positive symptoms are those that show abnormal mental functioning. Negative symptoms are those that show the absence of a mental function that should normally be present.

Positive symptoms of schizophrenia

These include:

  • hallucinations. These are incorrect beliefs that a person has and most people of the same culture would agree that they are wrong. Even when the falsehood of the belief is explained, a person with schizophrenia is convinced that it is true. For example, a person with schizophrenia might believe things like:
    • The neighbors spy on her with cameras in every room;o
    • A famous man is in love with her;o
    • People plan to kill her;o
    • There is a conspiracy around him.
    These are just a few examples and delusions can be anything.
  • hallucinations. That means hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, or tasting things that aren't really there. The most common is hearing voices. Some people with schizophrenia hear voices continually commenting on their actions, arguing with them, or repeating their thoughts. The voices often say rude, aggressive and unpleasant things, or give orders that must be obeyed. Some people with schizophrenia appear to be talking to themselves when they respond to voices. People with schizophrenia believe that the hallucinations are real.
  • disorganized thoughts. Thoughts can get confused or blocked. Thinking and speaking may not follow a normal logical pattern. For example, some people with schizophrenia have one or more of the following:
    • Thought Echo: This means that the person hears their own thoughts as if they were being spoken aloud.
    • Knight Movement Thought: This means that the person switches from one train of thought to another that has no obvious connection to the first.
    • Some people with schizophrenia may make up new words (neologisms), repeat a single word or phrase out of context (verbal stereotyping), or use common words to which they attribute different and specific meanings (metonyms).
    Symptoms called thought possession disorders may also occur. These include:
    • Insertion of thoughts: the person believes that the thoughts in his head are not his own and that someone else is putting them there.
    • Thought Deprivation: The person believes that an outside agency is removing their thoughts from their mind.
    • Telepathy: The person believes that their thoughts are being read or heard by others.
    • Thought blocking: the person experiences a sudden interruption in the train of thought before it is completed, leaving a gap. The person suddenly stops talking and cannot remember what she said.

Negative symptoms of schizophrenia

These include:

  • Mangel a motivation. Everything seems like an effort; for example, tasks may not be completed, concentration is poor, interest in social activities is lost, and the person often wants to be alone.
  • Few spontaneous movements.and a long time without doing anything.
  • Facial expressions don't change much.and the voice may sound monotonous.
  • upset feelings. Emotions can become superficial. Sometimes the feelings can be strange, like laughing at something sad. Sometimes other strange behaviors occur.

Negative symptoms can cause some people to neglect themselves. They may not feel like doing anything and seem stuck in their own thoughts. Negative symptoms can also lead to educational difficulties, which can contribute to difficulties in employment. For families and caregivers, the negative symptoms are often the most difficult to deal with. Persistent negative symptoms are often the main cause of long-term disability.

Families can notice it only after a loved one's behavior has gradually changed. Recognizing these changes can be particularly difficult if the disorder develops in adolescence, when some behavior changes are normal.

other symptoms

Other symptoms that appear in some cases include planning difficulties, memory problems, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

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What is the cause of schizophrenia?

The cause is not known for certain, but there are several current ideas. It is believed to alter the balance of brain chemicals (neurotransmitters). Neurotransmitters are necessary to carry messages between brain cells. An upset balance of these can cause the symptoms. It is not clear why the changes in neurotransmitters occur.

Hereditary (genetic) factors are considered important. For example, a close relative (child, brother, sister, parent) of a person with schizophrenia has a 1 in 10 chance of also having schizophrenia. That's 10 times the normal probability. A child born to a mother and father who both have schizophrenia is at increased risk of developing schizophrenia, but one or more factors appear to be necessary to trigger the disease in genetically predisposed individuals who are vulnerable. There are various theories as to what it could be. For example:

  • Stress, such as relationship problems, financial difficulties, social isolation, bereavement, etc.
  • A viral infection during the mother's pregnancy or in early childhood.
  • Lack of oxygen at birth which can damage part of the brain.
  • Illegal or street drugscan trigger the condition in some people. For example, heavy cannabis use may account for between 8% and 14% of schizophrenia cases. Many other recreational drugs, such as amphetamines, cocaine, ketamine, and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), can trigger an illness similar to schizophrenia.

schizophrenia tests

Blood and urine tests may be done. This will rule out physical causes of the symptoms or drug/alcohol abuse, which can cause similar symptoms. People who have already been diagnosed with schizophrenia can also be tested if it suddenly gets worse.

How was the diagnosis made?

Some of the symptoms found in schizophrenia are also found in other mental illnesses such asDepression, manDissociative identity disorder, or after having taken somethingstreet drugs. Therefore, the diagnosis may not be clear at first. Symptoms usually need to persist for several weeks before a doctor can definitively diagnose schizophrenia.

Not all symptoms are present in all cases. Depending on the main symptoms that develop, different forms of schizophrenia appear. For example, people with paranoid schizophrenia have mostly positive symptoms that include delusions that people are trying to hurt them. Conversely, some people have mostly negative symptoms and this is known as simple schizophrenia. In many cases, there is a mix of positive and negative symptoms.

Symptoms sometimes develop rapidly over a few weeks. Family and friends may recognize that the person has a mental health problem. Sometimes the symptoms develop slowly over months and the person may gradually withdraw, lose friends, jobs, etc. before the condition is recognized.

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schizophrenia treatment

Treatment and care tend to take place in the community rather than in hospitals. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommends assessing the patient's social circumstances and involving her family as soon as possible. Most areas of the UK have a community mental health team, which includes psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists, social workers, etc. A key worker, such as a psychiatric community nurse or psychiatric social worker, is usually assigned to coordinate the care of each person with schizophrenia.

However, some people need to be hospitalized for a short time. This sometimes happens when the condition is first diagnosed, so treatment can be started quickly. Temporary hospitalization may also be required at other times if symptoms become severe. A small number of people are so sick that they have to stay in the hospital for a long time.

People with schizophrenia often do not recognize or accept that they have the illness. Therefore, sometimes when conviction fails, some people are hospitalized against their will for treatment using the Mental Health Law. This means that doctors and social workers can force a person to go to the hospital. This only happens when there is a suspicion that the person represents a danger to himself or to others.

antipsychotic drugs

The main drugs used to treat schizophrenia are listed.antipsychotics. They work by altering the balance of certain brain chemicals (neurotransmitters).

psychological treatments

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
In particular, psychological treatments include a variety of talk treatments.TCC. CBT is used to treat a variety of physical and mental problems, and is increasingly being used to treat schizophrenia.

intervention in the family
This can be offered and consists of about 10 therapy sessions for relatives of patients with schizophrenia. It has been found to reduce hospitalizations and symptom severity for up to two years after treatment.

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art therapy
This has proven to be helpful, especially when you have negative symptoms.

Social and community support

This is very important. The key worker often plays a crucial role. However, family, friends, and local support groups can also be important sources of help. These organizations have many local groups throughout the UK.

physical health promotion

It is quite common for people with schizophrenia to not take good care of themselves. Things like smoking, lack of exercise, obesity, and an unhealthy diet are disproportionately common in people with schizophrenia. Weight gain can be a side effect of antipsychotic medications. All of these factors can lead to an increased risk of developing heart disease and diabetes later in life.

Therefore, like everyone else in the population, people with schizophrenia are encouraged to adopt a healthy lifestyle. The consultation includes:

  • No Smoking.
  • To exercise regularly.
  • How healthy.

How is the view?

  • In most cases, there are recurring outbreaks (relapses). Most people in this group live relatively independently with varying degrees of support. The frequency and duration of each relapse may vary. Some people make a full recovery between relapses. Some people get better between flare-ups but never fully recover. Treatment usually prevents relapses or limits their number and severity.
  • In some cases, there is only one episode of symptoms that lasts a few weeks. This is followed by a full recovery or substantial improvement with no further flare-ups. It's hard to give an exact number for how often this happens. Maybe 2 out of 10 cases or less.
  • Up to 2 in 10 people with schizophrenia don't get much help with treatment and require long-term care. For some, this is a safe place to stay.
  • DepressionIt is a common complication of schizophrenia.
  • It is believed that up to a third of people with schizophrenia abuse alcohol and/or illicit drugs. Helping or treating these people can be difficult.
  • About 1 in 10 people with schizophrenia take their own life.

The outlook (forecast) is assessed as better if:

  • Treatment is started shortly after the onset of symptoms.
  • Symptoms develop rapidly over several weeks instead of slowly over several months.
  • The main symptoms are positive symptoms instead of negative symptoms.
  • The condition develops in a relatively elderly person (over 25 years of age).
  • Symptoms are well relieved with medication.
  • Treatment is being given as recommended (ie, adherence is good).
  • There is good family and social support that reduces anxiety and stress.
  • There is no illicit drug or alcohol abuse.

New drugs and better psychological treatments offer hope that the outlook is improving.

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