What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a severe psychiatric disorder wherein a person reacts abnormally to any situation leading to continuous episodes of relapsing. The major symptoms include hallucination, distorted thoughts, and paranoia. The paranoid thoughts get difficult to handle, and it's hard to differentiate between reality and what's not.
You may also face that somebody is continuously keeping an eye on you and trying to harm you. Also, people who have schizophrenia believe that the media or TV channels send them particular messages, causing delusions. All these feelings lead to anxiety, depression, and affect the day to day life. Lifelong treatment is required for schizophrenia as sometimes the situations get challenging to control, resulting in serious complications.
Schizophrenia, being a spectrum disorder, has several signs and symptoms relating to behavior, emotions, and thought processes. The symptoms often develop in the early 30s and affect the individuals' communication ability and sleep pattern. Here are some more common symptoms of Schizophrenia:
- Disorganized behavior
- Confused speech
- Difficulty in concentration or memory loss
- Hallucinations or paranoia
- Impaired motor coordination
- Feeling of detachment
- Loss of pleasure and interest in routine activities
People who have schizophrenia will often experience a combination of events, like someone is following them, or somebody is controlling their thought and persecuting them.
If you are facing any of these problems, then take immediate treatment, because you may get panic attacks or have suicidal thoughts at any hour of the day.
Causes of schizophrenia:
- The exact cause of schizophrenia is unclear because there are several environmental triggers and genetic factors involved. Being a neuropsychiatric disorder, the risk factor may differ from person to person. Many people get schizophrenia through their genes or because of some medical intervention in the past.
- Biological factors also play an important role, like the structure of the brain and the activity of neurotransmitters. Past trauma, or abuse can even trigger the person because they are already at high risk. Therefore, there is no exact reason behind schizophrenia; however, one can take the help of a therapist and can try to understand the triggers.
Schizophrenia is majorly specified into five main subtypes by mental health experts.
- Paranoid schizophrenia: It is the most common type of schizophrenia and develops in the early 30s. The symptoms include hallucinations, paranoia, and disorganized speech. There is a substantial effect on the emotions as well.
- Catatonic schizophrenia: This is the rarest type of schizophrenia and the most complicated one. The patient will do unusual activities or sudden movements, which may cause problems to them. Sometimes they will be hyperactive, and other times, they might isolate themselves.
- Hebephrenic schizophrenia: This condition is also called disorganized schizophrenia, and the symptoms usually develop at the early age of 15 or 20. Firstly the patient will face short-lasting delusions and later may find difficulty in speech. There will be a lack of mannerisms and a differentiated voice tone along with weird facial expressions.
- Simple schizophrenia: The patient will have poor memory and will face concentration problems along with some delusions or hallucinations. The chances of meeting delusions are relatively rare in such a case.
- Unspecified schizophrenia: In this condition, the patient has some symptoms of general schizophrenia, but it does not fit in any category. It is hard to treat such a situation.
There is also an undifferentiated schizophrenia wherein the patient will have some signs of being paranoid.
Treatment for Schizophrenia:
To treat schizophrenia, the person needs to have signs for at least six months. Although it's a lifelong condition, the symptoms can be relieved by therapies and medication. For hallucinations and disordered thinking, doctors prescribe antipsychotics, like haloperidol, fluphenazine, etc.
Therapies reduce stress and feeling of guilt in the patient. The most common therapies used for treating schizophrenia are EFT, CBT, REBT, Transactional Analysis, and Client-centered Therapy. But if a patient avoids the sessions at any time, they might face relapse at any hour.
Often people take a combination of treatments to find the best approach for themselves. It totally depends on the severity of the situation and the person's age. Some drugs might get ineffective at a certain age or might be at risk of getting affected adversely.
Tips and strategies for living with schizophrenia:
Treatment is essential to treat schizophrenia because a bit of avoidance can significantly affect a person's personal life. They will find problems while talking and would face difficulty in the workplace and social events. It gets difficult to concentrate on important things; hence here are some strategies and tips to look after in schizophrenia:
- State your concerns to the therapist or doctor properly, and never hesitate to share a single sign. Speaking up about the problem is the key to an effective solution
- Never avoid any session or dose, and take everything as prescribed. If you miss out on anything, talk instantly to the health care provider and ask them for alternatives that can be helpful for you
- Speak your problems to the closed ones and try to educate them. Keep them involved because you will need support from them at any hour during crises
- Avoid the use of alcohol, tobacco, and drugs and switch to healthy alternatives. Plan up your diet according to your physical and mental state. Restrict the use of caffeine
- Surround yourself with supportive peers and family members and tell them about your experiences of episodes. This will help them understand you and your problems better.
If someone around you is facing schizophrenia, then you can try these tips to help them live better:
- Listen to the person's problem, even if it is something silly or dangerous. Your small avoidance can adversely affect their state of mind.
- Educate everyone around you about schizophrenia and the severity of the condition. Try to understand the symptoms by searching across search engines.
- Learn more about relapse and how to help the other person during such a stressful condition. Understand what all things you can do when someone is relapsing and give the best support.