preview

Schizophrenia

Better Essays
Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic, and often disabling brain disease. While the term Schizophrenia literally means, "split mind," it should not be confused with a "split," or multiple, personality. It is more accurately described as a psychosis -- a type of illness that causes severe mental disturbances that disrupt normal thought, speech, and behavior. The first signs of schizophrenia usually appear as shocking or radical changes in behavior. Others may have severe psychotic symptoms listed above. But many people also show "negative" symptoms, such as decreased emotional arousal, mental activity, and inability to socialize. Schizophrenics often report a sense of strangeness and confusion about the source of their sensations. They feel great loneliness, anxiety, and an overwhelming sense of being disconnected from others.
A schizophrenic person may think and communicate incoherently, jumping from one idea mixing a "word salad" of new words or jumbled phrases. It is common for schizophrenics to be suspicious and resentful. They may sense that their thoughts are stolen, broadcast aloud, Or replaced by new information from strangers seeking to control their behavior. They may describe voices that speak directly to them or criticize their behavior
Schizophrenia often appears earlier in men -when they are in their late teens to early adulthood - and in women in their 20s and early 30s, but the disease affects men and women with equal frequency. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, approximately 2.2 million American adults or about 1. 1 % of the population age 18 and older in a given year have schizophrenia. Some people experience only a single episode and remain symptom-free afterward. More commonly, however, the course of illness fluctuates over several decades, with each recurrence leading to increasing impairment.
Experts don't know what causes schizophrenia, but they agree that it most likely results from a complex interplay of genetic, behavioral, and other factors, similar to other diseases. It is widely believed that neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that allow communication between brain cells, play a role in causing schizophrenia, but the exact mechanism is not known. Most m...

... middle of paper ...

...ns is often difficult for schizophrenics. They may deny that they are ill, or their disease itself may hinder their ability to take regular medication. Fortunately there are many ways for patients, doctors, and families to improve adherence. Some antipsychotic medications are available in long-acting injectable forms so that the patient can receive a dose of medication just once a month. Other useful tools include pillboxes or electronic timers that beep when medication should be taken. Families can also help by motivating the patient to take their medicines properly. Often, additional drugs, such as antianxiety medications or antidepressants, may be used to treat side effects of the antipsychotic medicines or other symptoms related to the schizophrenia, including stiffness, tremors, and depression. Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy by itself is of little value without medication, and vice versa. While medication can be effective in relieving psychotic symptoms, psychotherapy can help with behavioral symptoms such as socialization and communicating appropriately. Supportive and sympathetic psychotherapy helps these patients understand their disease and re-enter society and family life.
Get Access