Repeated hallucinations, distorted reality, feelings of paranoia and misleading thoughts are some of the problems experienced by a person suffering from schizophrenia.
– National Alliance on Mental Illness
It is a serious mental disorder that severely affects a person’s feeling, perception, and behavior. As per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), around 1 percent people in the United States is diagnosed with this complex disorder.
The NAMI says that the average age for the onset of schizophrenia in men is early to mid-20s. In women, the symptoms of the disorder might start appearing by late 20s or early 30s. Generally, schizophrenia is less likely to be diagnosed before the age of 12 or after 40 years of age.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) categorizes symptoms of schizophrenia into three types:
- Positive Symptoms: Positive symptoms are those symptoms that are usually not seen in people who are healthy. These symptoms are also called psychotic as people start confusing between real and unreal. Hallucinations are one of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia where people hear voices, see and smell things that others can’t see or perceive. Delusions, a major symptom, is getting false beliefs about anything or everything. Another positive symptom is thought disorders that include dysfunctional thinking i.e. an individual can change the topic from one to the other without any logical reason.
- Negative Symptoms: Negative symptoms can obstruct normal functioning by triggering abnormal behaviors and emotions. People with negative symptoms are unable to start or follow any activity. They do not find any pleasure in life and are unable to sustain relationships. They suffer from a “flat affect” i.e. their emotions are disconnected.
- Cognitive symptoms:For people with schizophrenia, cognitive symptoms include disoriented thinking, lack of concentration, memory loss, etc. People with cognitive symptoms find it hard to put things in place or in a logical order and take a decision. Their ability to comprehend or understand information decreases.
Other symptoms of schizophrenia include social withdrawal, lack of communication, lack of motivation, etc.
Causes of Schizophrenia
There is no single cause of schizophrenia and several possible reasons can be responsible for its occurrence. Some of them are:
- Genetics: Schizophrenia can run in families. Having a family history increases the chance of schizophrenia in an individual. The NAMI says that the disorder can occur among 10 percent of people whose parents or siblings are suffering from schizophrenia. In fact, the risk is at its maximum when the twin is diagnosed with the disorder and the other twin has 50 percent chance of developing it subsequently.
- Environment: The environment is also an important factor for triggering schizophrenia. For example, viral infections, problems before and during birth like malnutrition, etc., can also cause schizophrenia.
- Chemical imbalance in brain: Chemical imbalance in the brain like problems with neurotransmitters, such as dopamine or glutamate, can also cause schizophrenia. In fact, problems related to brain development in unborn babies can also trigger schizophrenia due to defective brain networks.
- Substance Use: Use of certain drugs can trigger schizophrenia. For example, prolonged use of designer drugs such as LSD can cause schizophrenia. In fact, studies have shown a connection between marijuana consumption and occurrence of the disorder.
There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for the problem.
– Recover Mental Health
As symptoms can be different for each individual, a customized treatment plan based on the patient’s needs is the best possible way for reinstating a good life. Experts believe that a combination of medicines and psychotherapies, along with certain self-help techniques, is the best way to treat the disorder.
- Antipsychotic medicines: Antipsychotic medicines affect dopamine, the chemical present in the brain, and reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia. Medicines also help in controlling hallucinations and delusions. Doctors can chalk out a way for administering proper dosage of the medicines while monitoring side effects, if any.
- Psychotherapies: Treating schizophrenia with psychotherapies is an important part of the treatment. Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), for example, helps an individual recognize his/her delusions and hallucinations and take corrective measures. It helps a schizophrenic change his/her perception towards reality and cope with the situation by managing symptoms.
Another therapy that significantly helps is psychosocial therapy called assertive community treatment (ACT) that helps a schizophrenic establish relationship with the community. An ACT is a team-based treatment where ACT team members help a patient get acquainted with everyday aspects of life like social support, employment, and therapy.
- Support Groups: Support groups can play a major role in helping a person with schizophrenia. It helps people gain insight into their medical condition and beat isolation. Moreover, regular interactions with people suffering from the same disorder can help understand the recovery process better as well as increase the motivation level.
Finding the best schizophrenia treatment centers
It is important to treat the person as a whole, rather than concentrating only on the effects of schizophrenia.
– Recover Mental Health
The most effective schizophrenia treatment is one that empowers an individual to lead a good life, before, during and after the treatment. Treatment for schizophrenia is a must and the services can be availed at:
Inpatient treatment centers: Schizophrenia can be extremely debilitating since hallucinations and delusions can significantly affect the way a person thinks, behaves and perceives. An inpatient treatment center is the best option for schizophrenia treatment as a patient can be monitored by specialized doctors and nurses round-the-clock. Since the symptoms can be extremely unpredictable, a constant monitoring is required during the course of the treatment. Moreover, enrolling in an inpatient treatment center also helps doctors monitor the progress of recovery and screen patients’ responses to the treatment administered at regular intervals.
Outpatient treatment centers: People whose symptoms are moderate can seek treatment in an outpatient center. Moreover, such a center also provides the liberty to go back home after seeking treatment every day. However, if symptoms are unmanageable, it is always advisable to seek treatment from an inpatient center that can monitor the treatment process 27/7.
Luxury or executive treatment centers: Luxury centers provide upscale facilities that are conducive to the treatment. The facilities help provide a comfortable stay during the course of schizophrenia treatment. Executive rehab centers, on the other hand, provide customized treatment programs for professionals suffering from schizophrenia. Treatments are tailored to fit the needs of the professionals. Moreover, such centers also provide internet, laptops, and mobiles so that a professional can fulfill his work commitments along with seeking treatments.
Help is available
Schizophrenia is an extremely debilitating condition where the brain becomes an individual’s worst enemy. Bizarre thoughts, uncanny delusions, imaginary friends, profound dread can all be a part of a schizophrenic. A medical assistance by experts works best in such a situation.
At times, the patient is not in a condition to even realize that he/she needs treatment. In such a situation, a lot depends on the proactiveness of friends and family members who can coax the sufferer to seek proper treatment for schizophrenia. We, at the Recover Mental Health, understand the gravity of the situation and that getting the best schizophrenic treatment center is the utmost priority. Our treatment advisors can help you and your loved one get the best possible treatment for schizophrenia near your area. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-593-2339 or chat online to find out more about schizophrenia treatment.