What are the Symptoms
Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30 but on rare occasions may be seen in children. The symptoms fall into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.
“Positive” symptoms are psychotic behaviors not generally seen in healthy people. People with positive symptoms may “lose touch” with some aspects of reality. Symptoms include:
- Hallucinations are false perceptions of objects or events involving the senses where they hear, see, smell, or feel things that are not there. For example, a person with Alzheimer’s may see children playing in the living room when no children exist.
- Delusions are false beliefs or opinions strongly held as fact but not based on evidence that a person thinks are real. They can be about people or things. For example, the person may think his or her spouse is in love with someone else.
- Thought disorders (unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking)
- Movement disorders (agitated body movements)
“Negative” symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. Symptoms include:
- “Flat affect” (reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone)
- Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
- Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities
- Reduced speaking
For some patients, the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia are subtle, but for others, they are more severe. The person may notice changes in their memory or other aspects of thinking. Symptoms include:
- Poor “executive functioning” (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
- Trouble focusing or paying attention
- Problems with “working memory” (the ability to use the information immediately after learning it)
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental health disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Although not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. For caregivers, their behavior is challenging because they may see things not there and hear things not said but for them those actions are absolutely real.
Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30 but rarely, may occur in children. The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.
What are the Recommended Treatments Options
Because the causes of schizophrenia are still unknown, treatments focus on eliminating the symptoms of the disease.
Antipsychotic medications are taken daily in pill or liquid form. Some antipsychotics are injections given once or twice a month.
Psychotherapy treatments are helpful after patients, and their doctor finds a medication that works. Learning and using coping skills to address the everyday challenges of schizophrenia helps people to pursue their life goals, such as attending school or work. Individuals who participate in regular psychosocial treatment are less likely to have relapsed or be hospitalized.
Coordinated Specialty Care
Coordinated specialty care (CSC) treatment model integrates medication, psychosocial therapies, case management, The basic unit in society traditionally consisted of two parents and their children but the family has now been expanded to include any of various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family. involvement, and supported education and employment services, all aimed at reducing symptoms and improving quality of life.
Scientists have long known that schizophrenia sometimes runs in families; however, many people who have the condition have no prior family history.
Scientists believe that many different genes may increase the risk of schizophrenia, but that no single gene causes the disorder by itself.
Scientists believe that interactions between genes and the individual’s environment interact to trigger the development of the condition. Environmental factors may involve:
- Exposure to viruses
- Malnutrition before birth
- Problems during birth
- Psychosocial factors
Different brain chemistry
Scientists think that an imbalance in the complex, chemical reactions of the brain involving the neurotransmitters, dopamine, and glutamate, and possibly others, plays a role in schizophrenia.
Some experts also think problems during brain development before birth may lead to faulty connections. The brain also undergoes significant changes during puberty, and these changes could trigger psychotic symptoms in people who are vulnerable due to genetics or brain differences.