Schizophrenia A Different Reality and How to Understand It
Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects 1% of the population. The victim is in a constant pattern of psychosis and is unable to focus on reality. Humans experience emotional changes through their life. With the pressure to cohere and adapt to situations many people fall victim to stress and depression. Despite what many people’s common belief about schizophrenia people with the disorder do not have “split personality”. Professor of law from the University of Southern California Gould Law School explains, “the schizophrenic mind is not split, but shattered” (Saks, 2008). Schizophrenia is not common, but if affected it can be a very debilitating disorder. Its complexity can make it hard to pinpoint the causes. Scientists work around the clock searching for the next breakthrough in psychological medicine.
Signs and Symptoms
In order to become diagnosed with schizophrenia the person will begin to exhibit signs of paranoia and a detachment with reality this can be a clear sign of the disorder. The severity of a person’s schizophrenia can increase if there is substance abuse, trauma or severe stress. Another sign of schizophrenia is sudden loss of motivation, disorganization and decline in every day functions. Males and females between the ages of 20 through 30 are at a higher risk of having the disorder, and it affects people of all types of ethnic backgrounds. 10% of men and women affected by schizophrenia will commit suicide within 10 years of having the disorder. Furthermore, Schizophrenia fall into three categories positive, negative and cognitive. Positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, dysfunctional thoughts and irregular body movements for example stiff body movement or repetitive motions can often cause the patient to believe he or she is being watched and followed. Negative symptoms include lack of motivation, a disinterest in life, and loss of apathy towards others. Which could sometimes be mistaken to depression or laziness. Cognitive symptoms are the most debilitating of symptoms of schizophrenia. Which includes loss of memory and attention, that make it extremely difficult to plan out or execute anything.
Many factors can be linked to schizophrenia, and although there is no test that can be taken to determine whether someone has disorder there are several characteristics that can help determine it. For example, genetics play a big role in determining whether someone will develop the disorder or not. If there’s a family history of the disorder there’s an 80% probability of developing the disorder. Study shows that schizophrenia can be linked to thousands of genetic variations. Scientists have been able to link the environment as another critical component to developing schizophrenia. For example, an individual of African American background can be susceptible to developing the disorder. Trauma like racism, and difficult life events may lead the person to become extremely vulnerable. This amount of stress and shocks in life can cause the person to suffer an imbalance in the brain. Furthermore, scientists have found both the gene and environment combined can have a higher percentage in the development of the disorder. Another theory involves the persons exposure to a viral infection, complications and lack of nutrition during or after birth which may lead to schizophrenia. Patients who’ve suffered from drug abuse later in life or have been in an accident that has cause brain injury are also a likely victim to the disorder. Paternal age of the persons father can be at high risk of schizophrenia, Fathers ages 45-49 risk having children likely to carry the disorder. In order to be correctly diagnosed the patient will have to speak to a psychologist and have a clear prognosis of their mental state. Nevertheless, scientists are still trying to figure out the characteristics an individual with schizophrenia has in order to determine or perhaps cure individuals with the disorder before it becomes active.
Different Types of Schizophrenia
Through the years many scientists have found different ways to assess patients based on their symptoms. Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common symptoms in a patient who often has hallucinations, delusions and exhibit behaviors of being followed, or watched. Most patients display aggression and hostility. Secondly, is disorganized schizophrenia patients often exhibit disorganized speech and inappropriate emotional reactions to situations in life. Hygiene and upkeep to their image may be poor due to the disorganization. Third symptom shown in the disorder is Catatonic schizophrenia, patients who have this symptom often have an extremely hard time taking care of themselves. Many people can be in a state of stillness and others may jump from one place to another. Lastly, Residual schizophrenia is an individual whose had an episode of schizophrenia but has had no symptoms. Most of these people remain in a state of balance until the disorder is awakened again.
Treatments and Therapies
Scientists have been hard at work figuring out ways in which patients can have an easier time coping with the disorder. The goal is for the patient to have a normal functioning life without feeling trapped inside their own paranoia. Through the years many forms of medications and therapies have been tested on patients which has shown huge improvements in their lives. For example, Antipsychotic medication is used to reduce hallucinations, depression, anxiety and paranoia that the disorder causes. Schizophrenia is said to be caused by higher levels of Dopamine which is what the brain produces in order to have communication between brain cells. The antipsychotic medication is supposed to lower the high dopamine in the persons brain. The medication are usually a mix of antidepressants and mood stabilizers. Schizophrenia patients also benefit from a combination of medication and therapies.
Psychotherapy is used to treat patients with mental disorders and one very effective form of therapy for schizophrenia patients is called Cognitive behavioral Therapy (CBT), this form of therapy helps the patient understand their symptoms and make better choices especially when they go through episodes. The therapist helps the patient reconstruct their thinking in order for the patient to have positive behaviors and beliefs. Treating someone with schizophrenia can be difficult because most people with the disorder do not believe there’s anything wrong with them. (CBT) will teach the patient to comprehend and accept that they do need help in order to get better. They also help the patient push out the negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones, this allow the person to begin building higher self-esteem. Many health professionals use this therapy and consider it to be one of the most effective forms of rehabilitation. It is a preferred option for patients with the least amount of side effects. Many people with schizophrenia may need help after rehabilitation. They often need assistance re-entering the workforce and re-learn social skills. Most importantly these individuals will need all the support they can get from loved ones, this will allow the person to feel understood and loved, which will encourage them to have self-esteem to accomplish their goal.
Additionally, recent study has suggested that another effective form of therapy for schizophrenia patients is electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), the study was led by Tyler Kaster, M.D., with the University of Toronto, he examined 144 patient records that indicated to have had positive effects after (ECT) (Kaster,2017). The study concluded that (ECT) has less side effects than most common prescribed medications for the disorder.
Schizophrenia like many psychological disorders have been quite misunderstood and judged. Someone who suffers from the disorder battles everyday to gain control of their lives. Nonetheless, people have found ways to cope and adapt to the disorder. Like any other mental disorder, schizophrenia is very complex and hard to treat. Many scientists worldwide have made it their mission to find a treatment for the disorder before it can progress. Meanwhile there is a huge amount of improvement, medications and therapies have help people live a more fulfilling life.
Schizophrenia A Different Reality and How to Understand It