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A Sneak Peak on Schizophrenia


Is our perception real? There are times when we wish that our situation is just a nightmare we can wake up and escape. But there are also times when we feel like we are living the dream. In some cases, these experiences become extreme, requiring a person to have immediate mental health care.


The abovementioned experiences may be signs of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is active when a person is hallucinating, having delusions, speaking in a disorganized manner, having a hard time thinking, and lacking motivation. There is no cure for schizophrenia, but with proper management through safe treatments and innovative therapies, the probability of schizophrenia recurring is decreased (Torres, 2020).


The Signs and Symptoms


A variety of problems with behavior, emotions, and thinking (cognition) are involved in schizophrenia. However, there are many different signs and symptoms which typically entail delusions, hallucinations, or difficulty speaking and indicate a reduced capacity to function (Mayo Clinic, 2020).


Although the symptoms of schizophrenia might vary from person to person, they can be generally divided into three categories: Psychotic, Negative, and Cognitive (National Institute of Mental Health, 2022). Changes in a person's thoughts, behaviors, and perspective are examples of Psychotic symptoms. These individuals might view reality differently and lose a sense of common reality with others. Delusions, hallucinations, movement disorder, and thought disorder are some of the psychotic symptoms. On the other hand, Negative symptoms include lack of motivation, boredom or disinterest in activities, disengagement from social interactions, difficulty expressing emotions, and difficulties carrying out daily tasks properly. Symptoms include trouble sticking to a plan, trouble feeling pleasure, shows limited facial expression and talks in a dull voice, avoidant of social interaction, and has very low energy. Lastly, Cognitive symptoms include difficulties focusing, retaining memory, and paying attention. Symptoms include trouble processing information to make decisions and trouble using new information immediately.


The Causes and Factors of Schizophrenia


Until now, there is no known specific cause for schizophrenia. However, research shows that imbalances in the neurotransmitters dopamine and glutamate are related to the development of the disorder (McCutcheon et al., 2020).


There are several biological factors that can increase the risk of schizophrenia. For one, even if there’s no identified gene for it, the disorder can be passed down within the family. The likelihood of developing it increases if close relatives like parents or siblings have it. The risk increases further if a twin develops schizophrenia, especially for identical twins. Factors related to pregnancy can also affect the risk, such as the health of the mother, delivery complications, a low birthweight or premature labor, and issues caused by external factors like infections and harmful substances (Holland, 2022). Furthermore, there are psychosocial factors that can trigger schizophrenia or its symptoms. These include stressful experiences like abuse and loss, and the consumption of psychoactive drugs like cannabis, cocaine, LSD, and amphetamines (Holland, 2022; Mayo Clinic, 2020).


Treatment


The treatment for schizophrenia is lifelong, even if symptoms have subsided. Treatment consists of both medications and psychosocial therapy; hospitalization is sometimes needed. Usually, a psychiatrist, who specializes in schizophrenia, leads the treatment but psychologists, social workers, nurses and case managers are also involved (Mayo Clinic, 2020).


Medications, antipsychotic kinds in particular, are important when it comes to treating schizophrenia. They’re believed to control symptoms by affecting dopamine levels in the brain. Ideally, medications must control symptoms at the lowest possible dosage; but sometimes a psychiatrist must try different drugs and different dosages to see more desired results. Other medications used are antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs. It is also important to note that medications also cause serious side effects; so the psychiatrist and patient need to discuss the various pros and cons of any medication before prescribing it. More modern medications called ‘2nd Generation’ antipsychotics are generally preferred than ‘1st Generation’ ones because the risk of serious side effects is lower (Mayo Clinic, 2020).


Psychosocial interventions are another way to treat schizophrenia. These interventions are important forms of daily living support; where it helps a person diagnosed with schizophrenia, manage things such as coping with stress and improving social skills. A case manager usually conducts these interventions; so they can give the appropriate intervention and help the person manage their schizophrenia (Mayo Clinic, 2020)


It’s important to be aware and generally be well-informed when it comes to various mental disorder; including schizophrenia. So that people could be more understanding and patient to those who are diagnosed with any mental disorder and be able to assist them after familiarizing themselves with them.


We at Fidecita wish you the best on your mental health endeavors. Click here to know more about Fidecita HR Advisory’s Mental Health Care services.



References

Holland, K. (2022, November 13). Top causes of schizophrenia that may surprise you. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/schizophrenia-causes


Mayo Clinic. (2020, January 7). Schizophrenia. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/schizophrenia/symptoms-causes/syc-20354443

McCutcheon, R. A., Krystal, J. H., & Howes, O. D. (2020). Dopamine and glutamate in schizophrenia: Biology, symptoms, and treatment. World Psychiatry, 19(1), 15-33. https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20693


National Institute of Mental Health. (2022, May). Schizophrenia. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia


Torres, F. (2020, August). What is Schizophrenia?. Psychiatry.org. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/schizophrenia/what-is-schizophrenia#section_5



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