Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that represents itself in affecting how a person may think, feel or behave. While some people associate Schizophrenia with having lost touch with reality, there are varying forms of this disease with separate symptoms for each.
Signs and Symptoms:
While schizophrenia is not as common as other mood disorders there are signs that arise that may help in diagnosing patients. These signs usually start between the ages of 16 and 30, but there are cases of children developing these signs as well, although it is very rare.
Symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three separate categories:
These symptoms are those attributed to patients that are not normally seen in healthy individuals, essentially added symptoms.
- Thought disorders (unusual thoughts)
- Affected movement (twitching, etc)
These symptoms are associated with how are normal emotions are affective, a reduction or absence of normal behaviors.
- Reduced expressions of emotions
- Reduced feelings of pleasure
- Difficulty in being active or maintaining daily activities
- Reduced speech
Some patients may notice changes in their memory or other aspects of thinking, some being more severe than others.
- Poor ability to understand information
- Trouble focusing or paying attention
Different Types of Schizophrenia:
Now that we know how Schizophrenia works, let’s look at the differences of schizophrenia itself. There are 4 different types of schizophrenia.
- Paranoid Schizophrenia: This is distinguished by extreme paranoia in the patient. This may be expressed in the patients focus on someone following them, or people always talking or plotting against them. Because of this, they may behave very oddly, lacking any emotion response and showing very little pleasure in life.
- Catatonic Schizophrenia: This is distinguished by the individual completely shutting down, emotionally, physically and mentally. They have no facial expressions and will stand for long periods of time. They will even show very little interest in eating, drinking or using the restroom. If this persists it may because of medical emergency that needs to be addressed immediately.
- Undifferentiated Schizophrenia: This individual may have symptoms of both catatonic and paranoid schizophrenia. They express vague symptoms of both, such as: Confusion and paranoia, but also catatonic symptoms such as unwilling to care for themselves.
- Schizo-affective Disorder: This person has the before mentioned symptoms of schizophrenia, but also present symptoms of other mood disorders, such as bipolar or depression.
How to get treatment for Schizophrenia?
Because the causes of schizophrenia are still unknown treatments focus on eliminating the actual symptoms of the disease itself. Ninety-nine percent of patients with Schizophrenia need lifelong treatment, counseling and social rehabilitation.
These medications are usually taken daily in pill or liquid form, but some may be giving by injection. While most medications may cause side effects it is important to discuss all these with your doctor so you and he/she may find the medication that works best for you.
- People with paranoid schizophrenia respond best with Antipsychotics.
- People with catatonic schizophrenia require benzodiazepines to relax muscles, allowing them to become more active.
- People with schizoaffective respond best with a combination of antipsychotics and antidepressants or mood stabilizers.
These treatments help patients use coping skills to address every day challenges. It helps them re-establish life goals, such as attending school or going to work.
Patients that participate in both medication and treatments are much less likely to go into relapse or require hospitalization.
As with other mood disorders it is important that the patient have a clear idea, established between them and a doctor, to maintain their mental health by taking their medication properly, staying sober from alcohol and drugs and participating in programs that allow them to cope with their new found illness.