Schizophrenia Cause, Schizophrenia Symptoms, Schizophrenia Treatment
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder lasting for at least six months with at least two of: delusions, hallucinations, gibberish speech, odd behavior, or withdrawal symptoms.
|Bill's coworkers couldn't recognize him anymore...|
Schizophrenia is believed to be caused by a disorder of the brain in which a chemical called dopamine is produced in excess. Imaging studies of the brains of schizophrenics frequently also shows a reduction in brain tissue density on the outer in inner surfaces.
Diagnosis of schizophrenia is made by observation of the individual by a clinician for at least two of the above symptoms. Their is no blood test or hospital imaging test that diagnoses this condition. However, drug use, head trauma, and some anomalies in blood chemistry can present with confusion and bizarre behavior. So on first coming to a hospital the individual will be subjected to blood tests and a CAT scan of their brain to rule out other causes of odd behavior. If these tests are negative they are then labeled and referred to a psychiatrist for confirmation and treatment.
SYMPTOMS of SCHIZOPHRENIA (at least two of the following):
- Delusions - this is false beliefs that won't change no matter how much evidence you show the person e.g. believe they are Elvis.
- Hallucinations - this can be hearing voices inside or outside their head, or seeing things that aren't real.
- Gibberish speech.
- Odd behavior - for example wearing two hats or mimicry.
- Withdrawal - sitting in a corner with nothing to say, no opinion, and no facial expression.
Males and females suffer with schizophrenia about equally but men usually have their first episode their early twenties while women tend to first show it in their late twenties. Most cases start slowly with gradual signs such as loss of interest in school/ work, withdrawal from friends and family, strange behavior, and deterioration in dress and cleanliness.
The following are associated with a good prognosis of full recovery from schizophrenia:
- Being female.
- Rapid onset of symptoms.
- No family history of schizophrenia.
- Short period of symptoms.
- Strong family and friend support and employment.
- A stressful event responsible for bringing on the illness.
Treatment of Schizophrenia
The mainstay of TREATMENT for SCHIZOPHRENIA today is antiphsychotics. These drugs bring balance back to the brain's chemistry by reducing the effect of excess dopamine.
The individual will need to be hospitalized initially until the acute phase of schizophrenia is controlled after which they can return home for periodic follow-up with their psychiatrist. If they are symptom free for some time they will be tried off medication and if successful discharged from psychiatric care.