Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder. It causes the sufferer to experience delusions, hallucinations, chaotic thoughts, and behavioral changes. This long-lasting condition is often interpreted as a mental disorder because of the difficulty to distinguish between reality and the mind itself.
Schizophrenia disease also can attack anyone both men and women. However, the age range of 15-35 years is the most vulnerable age of this mental disorder.
The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. However, the combination of genetic and environmental factors may increase your risk of developing this disease. Here are the other factors that suspected to have an effect on the formation of schizophrenia.
- The imbalances level of serotonin and dopamine (a neurotransmitter substance that responsible for carrying messages between brain cells)
- The abnormal shape of the brain structure and the central nervous system
- Genetic that derived from the parent
- Lack of oxygen and nutrition, exposed to toxins or viruses while still in the mother’s womb
- Born prematurely and born with a weight below normal
- The increased activation of the immune system due to autoimmune diseases and inflammation
- Drug abuse such as amphetamines, cocaine, and marijuana
The symptoms of schizophrenia are classified into positive and negative symptoms. The changes in sleep patterns, unresponsiveness to the situation, and the tendency to isolate from others are the initial symptoms of schizophrenia. The following are the positive symptoms:
- Hallucination. Hallucination refers to things that only the patient who can hear, see, smell or feel. The phenomenon of hallucination is very real for the patient. A patient may also hear voices in his head that talk to him or to one another
- Delusion. It is a strong belief that is not based on logic or reality. Examples of delusions symptoms can vary such as feel watched, followed, or worried about being hurt by others
- Disorganized thoughts and speech. Patients difficult to concentrate and communication may be impaired. So, they may speak in gibberish
- Abnormal physical behavior. Schizophrenics often exhibit odd behavior like repeating the same movements again and stand still in the same position for hours
- Color symbolism. This includes a unique symptom. It refers to the idea that different colors convey different messages
The negative symptoms of schizophrenia illustrate the loss of certain traits and abilities that normally exist in normal people. When the patient is experiencing negative symptoms, he will look apathetic and flat emotionally. The following are the negative symptoms:
- Social withdrawal
- Reductions in speech
- Loss of concentration
- Changing of sleep pattern
- Loss of interest and motivation in all aspects
To treat schizophrenia, the doctor will combine drugs and psychological therapy.
Treatment with Drugs
The usual medication prescribed is antipsychotics. Antipsychotics work by influencing neurotransmitters in the brain. This drug can decrease agitation and anxiety, reduce or prevent hallucinations and delusions, and help maintain the ability to think and remember.
Antipsychotics are used in two ways by oral (generally pill form) and syringes. There are two types of antipsychotic drugs sold today. The first one is the typical antipsychotics. They are the first generation of antipsychotic drugs developed in the 1950s.
The second one is the typical antipsychotics. They are the second generation drugs developed in the 1990s with the intention of giving off fewer side effects.
The side effect in these two groups of antipsychotics is weight gain, constipation, drowsiness, blurred vision, dry mouth, and decreased sex drive.
While the only side effects that exist in older generation antipsychotics are muscles are twitching, trembling body, and muscle spasm. The doctors also will advise caring in mental hospitals for hygiene, nutrition, rest needs, and patient safety is guaranteed.
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Treatment by Psychological Therapy
After the symptoms of schizophrenia subside, the sufferers need psychological therapy along with continuing drug consumption. In psychological therapy, sufferers will be taught how to cope with stress and control their illness by identifying the signs of relapse.
Moreover, the patients will be taught how to improve communication skills in order to interact socially. Psychological therapy is not only for patients but also to the patient’s family on how to deal with schizophrenia.