Schizophrenia literally means "split
from reality." An individual suffering from
schizophrenia may not perceive stimuli, such as sights,
smells or sounds, as others do. In addition, they may
perceive sensory input that does not exist, such as voices
- There are
four major variations of schizophrenia: paranoid,
disorganized, catatonic (non-responsive), and
undifferentiated, in which the name implies the predominant
- Genetic predisposition is strongly associated with schizophrenia. A study of identical twins raised in separate households showed a 65 percent concordance rate of schizophrenia. Non-identical twins have a 12 percent concordance rate. Males and females carry an equal risk for developing the mental disease, but women develop schizophrenia at a later age than men do.
- Social withdrawal
- Loose thought associations
- Loss of the ability to perceive oneself as separate from one's environment
- Self-absorbed in thoughts
- Delusions of persecution
- Grandiose delusions
- Auditory hallucinations
- Flat personality
- Feeling of detachment
- Hypersensitivity to environmental stimuli
- Mood changes
- A complete medical exam, appropriate blood work, and an MRI scan are used to rule out other causes
- A psychiatrist can confirm the diagnosis.
- Hospitalization is needed for acute psychotic episodes.
- Anti-psychotic medications can reduce the relapse rate by 50 percent. There are many anti-psychotic medications available today.
- Tardive dyskinesia (a disorder of uncontrollable movement) can occur as a side effect of anti-psychotic medications. Other side effects include neuroleptic malignant syndrome (a serious complication characterized by muscle rigidity, fever, confusion and other symptoms), akathisia (constant need to keep moving) and Parkinsonism (rigidity and tremor).
- Antidepressant medications often are helpful in dealing with a coexisting Depression
- Benzodiazepines, such as Lorazepam, may help agitated or catatonic symptoms.
- ECT (electric shock therapy) may be effective for catatonia
- Psychotherapy and behavioral therapy are recommended
Individuals suffering from schizophrenia require psychiatric treatment. Many patients respond to treatment and have marked improvement in their functions.
The following conditions may co-exist
- Manic-depressive disorder
- Amphetamine intoxication
- PCP intoxication
- Cocaine intoxication
- Complex partial Seizures
- Heavy metal poisoning
- Adrenal gland disorders
- Pituitary gland disorders
- Psychogenic Polydipsia (water intoxication)
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