The World Health Organization reported that schizophrenia affects about 20 million people around the world. While schizophrenia is one of the most prevalent mental disorders in the Philippines, its symptoms are not always well understood by the general public. In this article, we discuss the symptoms of and treatments for schizophrenia.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by a person losing touch with reality. This can lead to problems in the way a person thinks, speaks, reacts to, and perceives their own self and the world around them.
People with schizophrenia often experience hallucinations and/or delusions that can significantly impact their relationships and daily life. Additionally, people with this disorder often experience stigma, bullying, or abuse, which can make it difficult for them to get the help that they need and deserve.
Symptoms & Types
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start to appear when an individual is in their late teens or early adulthood. People with this mental disorder can also suffer from “episodes” or a period of time when their symptoms are active.
A schizophrenic episode can happen when a person has difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what isn’t.
The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories namely:
Psychotic symptoms. These can happen when a person starts to experience a distorted sense of reality. Symptoms that fall under this category are disorganized speech or thoughts, hallucinations (when a person sees things that aren’t there), and delusions (when a person has a firm belief that is completely opposite to the reality of things).
Negative symptoms. Symptoms classified under negative symptoms are those related to an absence of motivation, pleasure, or interest in the world around them.
Cognitive symptoms. Having trouble focusing, processing information, or remembering things are all symptoms that fall under cognitive symptoms. As a result, people with schizophrenia can suffer from symptoms that can get in the way of their daily life.
Not all people with schizophrenia experience the same symptoms. If you are experiencing symptoms, you can consult a medical professional.
What are the types of schizophrenia?
The 4 main types of schizophrenia are:
Catatonic Schizophrenia. This type of schizophrenia renders a person completely catatonic, unable to do anything for hours on end.
Paranoid Schizophrenia. This makes a person extremely paranoid, preventing them from doing regular activities.
Schizoaffective disorder. People with this type of schizophrenia experience mood disorders.
Undifferentiated schizophrenia. When a person exhibits symptoms from more than one category of schizophrenia, then they are diagnosed with undifferentiated schizophrenia.
Causes & Treatment
What causes schizophrenia?
Presently, researchers have yet to determine the exact cause of schizophrenia. However, they do know that the brain, environment, and genetics are all factors in the development of schizophrenia.
People can have an increased risk of schizophrenia if they have a family member with schizophrenia, were exposed to birth or pregnancy complications that affect the development of the brain in the womb (like malnutrition), or have had exposure to drugs. If you are at risk of developing schizophrenia, you can talk to a mental health professional.
How do doctors diagnose and treat schizophrenia?
A psychiatrist will be able to diagnose a person with schizophrenia if they’ve experienced some or all of the symptoms for more than a month. To confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may perform the following tests:
Physical examination. A doctor will do a physical assessment of the patient to rule out other possible causes. A doctor may also do an MRI or CT scan.
Psychiatric evaluation. A mental health professional will perform a rigorous psychiatric evaluation to get a good grip on the person’s emotional and mental state.
For the management of schizophrenia, doctors can prescribe medications and therapy. The medication can come in the form of anti-psychotics, antidepressants, or anti-anxiety drugs to help a person manage the severity of symptoms. Additionally, people with schizophrenia can benefit from psychotherapy. Likewise, family therapy can also be an option for those who want to be efficient caretakers for family members with schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder which can greatly impact a person’s life. Because of this, early detection and treatment is ideal for those with schizophrenia. The symptoms of schizophrenia can be mild or severe, as they can vary from person to person.
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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.