Schizophrenia affects about 0.32% of the population worldwide. While it gets better if treated early on, it is difficult to be detected at an early stage. This is because its symptoms can be easily overlooked as rebellious and rowdy behaviour and results of drug or alcohol abuse. Most of the time, even the person is not able to realise that he/she is suffering from a mental disorder.
Follow the below article for a detailed account of schizophrenia treatment, its symptoms and causes.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder characterised by abnormal perceptions of and reactions to reality. It involves a combination of two or more symptoms, like hallucinations, delusions, disorganisation and social isolation.
Usually, men are more susceptible to it during their early or mid-20s and women are more likely to have it during their mid to late 20s. However, cases of schizophrenia are also reported in children and teenagers. Male teenagers have a higher chance of having schizophrenia at an early age than females.
The cause of this condition is not yet known. However, researchers believe that it occurs due to a combination of genetic, psychological and environmental factors. Also, it is believed that abnormal neurotransmitter activity could also be a contributing factor. Neurotransmitters like dopamine and glutamate are responsible for transferring information through the nervous system and their abnormal functioning could lead to this disorder.
Images obtained during research showed a difference in the structure of the brain and the central nervous system of schizophrenic people to normal people. However, its connection and contribution to schizophrenia are not yet determined.
Some factors increase the risk of schizophrenia in a person. They include:
- Family history of schizophrenia
- Complications during pregnancy or childbirth, like infection and malnutrition.
- Use of mind-altering drugs
- Excessive stress or unhealthy emotional environment. This factor mostly affects children and teenagers.
The symptoms vary among individuals depending on the age, type and severity of their condition. However, a few symptoms are found in most cases and are divided into positive and negative symptoms.
Positive symptoms are the factors added to their normal behaviour. Some of them include:
- Hallucinations: Schizophrenic people see, hear or feel something that is not there. Although only vivid imaginations, these hallucinations are very realistic to the person. They could be visual, auditory or feeling. Adults usually have auditory hallucinations, while visual hallucinations are more common in teenagers.
- Delusions: People suffering from schizophrenia often believe something that is not reality. It could be about their social status, someone else’s emotions or anything.
- Paranoia: Schizophrenic people can be highly paranoid. They may suffer from unfounded suspicions and anxiety.
- Disorganisation: They have issues with following instructions, following a predetermined work plan and meeting set-up goals.
Negative symptoms refer to the loss of certain behavioural or lifestyle factors. These include:
- Isolation: Usually, such people isolate themselves from family, friends and society. They find it difficult to perform in a team or do well in school or workspace. In teenagers, excessive irritation, depression and insomnia are also observed.
Expression: Schizophrenic people often struggle with emotions. They have difficulty interpreting, understanding and reacting to their own or someone else’s feelings. This often leads to difficulty in communication and makes them look emotionless.
Types Of Schizophrenia
This mental disorder has a wide spectrum of symptoms. So, for proper schizophrenia cure, the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) divided this condition into five broad categories:
- Paranoid: Paranoia, suspicion and anxiety
- Disorganised: Difficulty in communication, teamwork, following work-plan and meeting goals
- Catatonic: Mental, physical and emotional withdrawal and inactivity
- Undifferentiated: Mixture of two or more types
- Residual: Including other symptoms
However, these types had several overlapping symptoms which made deciding a particular type difficult. Hence, the DSM-V involved an updated diagnostic method. It stated that a person who experiences two or more of the following symptoms would be said to have schizophrenia:
- Catatonic behaviour
- Disorganised behaviour
- Negative symptoms
Hallucinations and delusions are compulsory for a schizophrenia diagnosis. The doctors also enquire about the medical history of the person and their family.
Also Read : Schizophrenia Meaning, Symptoms, Cause, and Treatment
Schizophrenia cannot be cured. However, as a schizophrenia cure, the doctors focus on controlling and reducing the symptoms. This involves schizophrenia medications and emotional and vocational therapies. The sooner a person starts receiving regular treatment, the higher are the chances of improvement.
Some schizophrenia medications include the following:
- Antipsychotic drugs control and reduce delusions and hallucinations. It is more effective in cases of paranoid schizophrenia.
- Benzodiazepines promote mental and physical alertness, and are most effective in cases of catatonic schizophrenia.
- Sometimes, medications also involve antidepressants and mood stabilisers.
The doctor prescribes the medicines depending on the type and severity of the condition. For best results, visit a doctor or a mental health professional with previous experience in handling schizophrenia cases.
In 34% of the cases of schizophrenia, no improvements are observed after two or more trials of medications. This is called treatment-resistant schizophrenia. In such cases, controlling the symptoms are more difficult. Emotional and vocational therapies are more effective than medications in treatment-resistant schizophrenia.
When To See A Doctor?
If a person is having very frequent episodes of delusions or hallucinations, has been catatonic for several hours or is behaving very aggressively, take him/her to the doctor immediately.
The Long-term Outlook
Unlike some other disorders, schizophrenia is not noticeable. So, if treated from an early stage, a schizophrenic can live a normal life with a good academic and workspace performance and healthy relationships. It is observed that after 10 years of treatment, over 30% of the people with schizophrenia do not need antipsychotic drugs. Some can also continue their treatment for schizophrenia without medications and just with therapies.
However, discontinuing medications can worsen the symptoms and if the condition is left untreated, there could be chances of neurotoxicity. So, when going for treatment for schizophrenia without medications or wanting to change any medication, always consult with your doctor first.
Overall, about 28% of schizophrenic individuals live their lives independently, and about 25% of them live with their families and have a healthy and happy relationship with them.
Also Read : Schizophrenia: What leads to schizophrenia? Can schizophrenia be cured?
Best Schizophrenia Treatment In Delhi
Visit Mind Peace Clinic to get the best schizophrenia treatment in Delhi. Our specialist, Dr Anil Yadav is among the best psychiatrists with several years of experience. He specialises in the counselling and treatment of several addictions and psychological and sexological disorders. His calm and comforting nature puts the patients at ease and makes it easier for them to open up and talk about their problems. Dr Anil Yadav is proficient in carrying out well-practised and effective diagnostic and treatment methods. Due to this, he has a long list of happy patients.