Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment | HealthSoul

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects the way people interpret reality. It can cause a person to be paranoid, be delusional, and have extremely disordered thinking. There is no cure for schizophrenia, but there are treatments that can help a person manage it. The sooner a person is diagnosed and begins treatment, the better the long-term outlook.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia Causes

The cause of schizophrenia is unknown, but it is believed to be caused by genetic and environmental factors. Studies have found that people with this disease have different brain structures and central nervous systems than those who don’t suffer from it. There are also certain risk factors that make a person more likely to have or develop schizophrenia. These factors include:

  • Family history of mental illness
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Exposure to certain toxins
  • Older age of the father
  • Pregnancy complications
  • Drug abuse during teen years or early adulthood

Schizophrenia Symptoms

The symptoms of schizophrenia can vary from person to person. Some people experience a wide range of symptoms, and others only suffer from a few of them. Some people have severe symptoms, and others only have mild ones. The longer a person suffers from schizophrenia without treatment, the worse the symptoms become. Some of the most common symptoms of the disease include:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Speech problems
  • Abnormal motor behavior
  • Inability to function
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Moodiness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Suicidal thoughts or tendencies

Schizophrenia Symptoms

Schizophrenia Diagnosis

Schizophrenia can be hard to diagnose, and doctors usually have to rule out other mental illnesses and diseases. They might conduct several tests to do this and confirm the proper diagnoses. These tests include:

  • Physical Exam: The doctor will physically examine the patient to see if there are any physical problems that might be causing the symptoms of the disease.
  • MRI: Doctors can look at images of the brain to see if there are any tumors or other problems that could be causing the symptoms.
  • CT Scan: Doctors can look at different areas of the brain for signs of swelling, bleeding, tumors, or stroke.
  • Psychiatric Evaluation: A psychiatrist will observe the patient and make note of the symptoms and episodes experienced during their interaction.

Schizophrenia Diagnosis

Schizophrenia Treatment

Once people are diagnosed with schizophrenia, they must continue treatment throughout their lives. In cases where the symptoms are severe, or patients are a danger to themselves or others, hospitalization may be necessary. Some of the most common treatment options include:

  • Medications: There are many antipsychotic drugs on the market that can help treat schizophrenia.
  • Therapy: Some patient with mild symptoms can manage their schizophrenia with therapy and counseling.
  • Interventions: Intervention may be necessary to ensure that a person is getting the care they need and to determine what kind of treatment is best.
  • Electroconvulsive TherapyThis is used to treat schizophrenia in adults and involves sending small shocks through the brain and body to reset the patient’s thinking.

Schizophrenia Prognosis

There is no cure for schizophrenia, but it can be managed with medication and treatment. Some people build up a tolerance for medication over time and must switch it every few years. If left untreated, people with schizophrenia can become dangerous to themselves and others. Many attempt suicide or are unable to function as adults.