Schizophrenia is characterized by “[. . . ] disorganized thoughts, perceptual alterations, inappropriate affect, and decreased emotional response as the links to reality are lost” (Womble, 2011). Schizophrenia is easily one of the most serious mental health disorders, as evidenced by data indicating that costs to treat the disorder are “significantly higher” than other disorders and that “half of the people admitted to mental units are diagnosed with schizophrenia” (Womble, 2011). Patients exhibiting schizophrenia are subject to both positive and negative symptoms.
The first symptoms to develop in a patient are the positive symptoms. These include “alterations in thinking, perception, and behavior” (Womble, 2011). The patient’s delusions are “distorted and often bizarre with no logical connections” (Womble, 2011). The behavior of the patient may communicate elements of the delusion, as in the patient who has delusions of persecution who “may demonstrate fear by constantly looking to the side or over a shoulder as if someone is lurking behind or following him or her” (Womble,...
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... increased competence levels which improved interpersonal relations and networking with others (Holley et al. 2010). Scheewe et al. also found that physical activity and exercise reduced negative symptoms and that actual exercise led to better cardiovascular health (2013). However, the exact mechanism that improves schizophrenic symptoms is not known (Scheewe, 2013). Unfortunately, noncompliance tends to be a problem with schizophrenic patients (Scheewe, 2013).
Nurses, therefore, must be armed with knowledge about schizophrenia and how it affects all aspects a patient’s life. They should include in their patients’ education not only the importance of taking antipsychotics regularly but also that a healthy diet and exercise can influence their mental and physical health in important ways. The potential for longer lives and improved symptoms cannot be underrated.
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