Schizophrenia causes, symptoms and treatment

SCHIZOPHRENIA is a brain disease, with concrete and specific symptoms due to physical and biochemical changes -in the brain, an illness that strikes young people in their prime — age of onset is usually between 16 and25
Almost always treatable with medication, More common than most people think. If affects 1 in 100 people worldwide.

Even though schizophrenia is rare, its early onset and the lifelong disability it brings to people affected, including their families make schizophrenia one of the most catastrophic mental illnesses. the onset of schizophrenia usually seen in teenagers or the younger generation.

Definition:-

the world schizophrenia is derived from the Greek words where two words meaning ‘split’ and ‘mind’ were combined. This explains the common misconception  that schizophrenia is a “multiple personality” – which is a very rare disorder and completely unrelated to schizophrenia.

schizophrenia is a psychiatric syndrome characterized by impairments in the perception or expression of reality, most commonly manifest as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions or disorganized speech in the context of significant social or occupational dysfunction.

FACTS:-

  • -Schizophrenia is a disease that strikes young people in their prime.
  • The disease distorts the senses, making it very difficult for the individual to tell what is real — from what is not real
  • Usual age of onset is between 16 and 25.
  • Schizophrenia is a medical illness.
  • Treatment works!
  • schizophrenia is found all over the world and no one has immune to this.

Usually this illness starts with a pre psychotic phase of social and academic or occupational impairment. A few months or years later, a psychotic phase develops (with delusions, hallucinations, or grossly bizarre or disorganized speech and behavior). This psychotic phase can last continuously for decades, or it can cure episodically. Anti psychotic medication shortens the duration of this psychosis, and prevents recurrences (but psychotic relapses can still occur under stress). Usually it takes years before individuals can accept that they have Schizophrenia and need medication. When individuals stop their anti psychotic medication, it may take a few years before they suffer a psychotic relapse. Most, however, relapse within months. After each psychotic relapse there is increased intellectual impairment.

If untreated, 15% of individuals with Schizophrenia commit suicide. However, anti psychotic medication usually prevents suicide, minimizes re hospitalization, and dramatically improves social functioning. Unfortunately, even on anti psychotic medication, most individuals with Schizophrenia can’t return to gainful employment due to the intellectual impairments caused by this illness (e.g., poor concentration, poor memory, impaired problem-solving, inability to “multi-task”, and apathy).

the most important contributing factors are

  • genetics
  • early environment
  • neurobiology
  • psychological and social processes
  • certain illicit drugs such as cannabis

Although the disorder is primarily thought to affect cognition, it also usually contributes to chronic problems with behaviour and emotions. Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia are highly likely to be diagnosed with other disorders. The lifetime prevalence of substance abuse is typically around 40%. co morbidity is also high with clinical depression and anxiety disorder, and social problems, and a generally decreased life expectancy is also present. Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia typically live ten to twelve years less than those without the disorder, owing to increased physical health problems and a high suicide rate. Unemployment and poverty are common.

Warning signs :-

  • Deterioration of personal hygiene
  • Depression
  • Bizarre behaviour
  • Irrational statements
  • Sleeping excessively or inability to sleep
  • Social withdrawal, isolation, and repulsiveness
  • Shift in basic personality
  • Unexpected hostility
  • Deterioration of social relationships
  • Hyperactivity or inactivity — or alternating between the two
  • Inability to concentrate or to cope with minor problems
  • Extreme preoccupation with religion or with the occult
  • Excessive writing without meaning
  • Indifference
  • Dropping out of activities — or out of life in general
  • Decline in academic or athletic interests
  • Forgetting things
  • Losing possessions
  • Extreme reactions to criticism
  • Inability to express joy
  • Inability to cry, or excessive crying
  • Inappropriate laughter
  • Unusual sensitivity to stimuli (noise, light, colours, textures)
  • Attempts to escape through frequent moves or hitchhiking trips
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Fainting
  • Strange posturing
  • Refusal to touch persons or objects; wearing gloves, etc.
  • Shaving head or body hair
  • Cutting oneself; threats of self-mutilation
  • Staring without blinking — or blinking incessantly
  • Flat, reptile-like gaze
  • Rigid stubbornness
  • Peculiar use of words or odd language structures
  • Sensitivity and irritability when touched by others.

symptoms:-

  1. profound disruption in cognition and emotion.
  2. affecting the most fundamental human attributes: language, thought perception, affect, and sense of self. The array of symptoms, while wide ranging, frequently includes psychotic manifestations, such as hearing internal voices or experiencing other sensations not connected to an obvious source (hallucinations) and assigning unusual significance or meaning to normal events or holding fixed false personal beliefs (delusions). No single symptom is definitive for diagnosis; rather, the diagnosis encompasses a pattern of signs and symptoms, in conjunction with impaired occupational or social functioning.
  3. delusions
  4. hallucinations
  5. disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence)
  6. grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior
  7. negative symptoms, i.e., affective flattening, alogia, or avolition

Treatment ( MANAGING the schizophrenic client ):-

  • Ensure that medical treatment continues after hospitalization. This means taking medication and going for follow-up treatment.
  • Provide a structured and predictable environment. The recovering patient will have problems with sensory overload. To reduce stress, keep routines simple, and allow the person time alone each day. Try to plan non-stressful, low-key regular daily activities, and keep “big events” to a minimum.
  • Be consistent. Caregivers should agree on a plan of action and follow it. If you are predictable in the way you handle recurring concerns, you can help reduce confusion and stress for the person who is ill.
  • Maintain peace and calm at home. Thought disorder is a great problem for most people with schizophrenia. It generally helps to keep voice levels down. When the person is participating in discussions, try to speak one at a time, and at a reasonably moderated pace. Shorter sentences can also help. Above all, avoid arguing about delusions (false beliefs).
  • Be positive and supportive. Being positive instead of critical will help the person more in the long run. People with schizophrenia need frequent encouragement, since self-esteem is often very fragile. Encourage all positive efforts. Be sure to express appreciation for a job even half-done, because the illness undermines a person’s confidence, initiative, patience, and memory.
  • Help the ill person set realistic goals. People with schizophrenia need lots of encouragement to regain some of their former skills and interests. They may also want to try new things, but should work up to them gradually. If goals are unreasonable, or someone is nagging, the resulting stress can worsen symptoms.
  • Gradually increase independence. As participation in a variety of tasks and activities increases, so should independence. Set limits on how much abnormal behaviour is acceptable, and consistently apply the consequences. Some relearning is usually necessary for skills such as handling money, cooking, and housekeeping. If outside employment is too difficult, try to help the person plan to use their time constructively.
  • Learn how to cope with stress together. Anticipate the ups and downs of life and try to prepare accordingly. The person who is ill needs to learn to deal with stress in a socially acceptable manner. Your positive role-modelling can help. Sometimes just recognizing and talking about something in advance that might be stressful can also help.
  • Encourage your relative to try something new.
  • Life-long treatment with anti psychotic medication is essential for recovery from Schizophrenia. Individuals also require long-term emotional and financial support from their families. Most individuals with Schizophrenia qualify for government (or insurance) disability pensions

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