Schizophrenia

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people worldwide live with schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia results in a detachment from reality, including hallucinations and delusions, and can impair self-awareness. Despite its severity, schizophrenia is treatable.

 Today, you can discover:

  • What causes schizophrenia?
  • What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
  • How to connect with compassionate mental health treatment in Southern California.
woman looking off representing schizophrenia symptoms.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that profoundly impacts both physical and mental health. It disturbs brain functions, affecting thoughts, memory, senses, and behavior, leading to challenges in daily life. Untreated, schizophrenia can strain relationships, hinder thought organization, and increase the risk of injuries or other health issues.

 Many people with schizophrenia lack awareness of their symptoms, although those around them might recognize these indicators. 

There are five primary schizophrenia symptoms:

1) Delusions

Holding false beliefs despite contrary evidence, like thinking someone is controlling your thoughts is one of the hallmark symptoms of schizophrenia.

 

2) Hallucinations

Perceiving nonexistent sensory experiences, such as hearing voices or seeing things, is another of the diagnostic signs of schizophrenia.

3) Disorganized or incoherent speaking

Schizophrenia signs may include struggling to organize thoughts while speaking, leading to difficulty staying on topic or unclear communication.

4) Disorganized or unusual movements

Displaying unexpected physical behaviors, like purposeless movements or minimal movements.

5) Negative symptoms

Exhibiting reduced ability to perform expected actions, such as loss of facial expressions, flat voice, lack of motivation, and decreased social engagement, are often early signs of schizophrenia. These are clinically described as negative symptoms.

Due to these symptoms, you might experience suspicion, neglect hygiene, encounter depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, and potentially self-medicate with addictive substances.

man looks down representing schizophrenia
group therapy session representing psychiatric intervention

Types of Schizophrenia

In the past, psychiatrists categorized schizophrenia into subtypes like paranoid schizophrenia and catatonic schizophrenia, which were not very effective for diagnosis and treatment. Presently, schizophrenia is viewed as developing on a spectrum and encompassing conditions such as:

  • Schizotypal personality disorder
  • Delusional disorder
  • Brief psychotic disorder
  • Schizophreniform disorder
  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Other specified or unspecified spectrum disorders

 

This approach enables the diagnosis of diverse schizophrenia variations – bipolar schizophrenia, for instance.

Diagnosis & Treatment for Schizophrenia

The diagnosis of schizophrenia involves excluding other mental health disorders and factors like substance abuse, medications, or medical conditions. The diagnostic process may entail:

  • Physical examination: Performed to rule out alternative causes and assess potential complications.
  • Tests and screenings: Including assessments to eliminate conditions with similar symptoms and substance screening, along with imaging studies like MRI or CT scans.
  • Psychiatric evaluation: Conducted by a professional who evaluates mental state, appearance, thoughts, moods, hallucinations, delusions, substance use, and risk factors.
  • Diagnostic criteria: Utilizing the criteria from DSM-5-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to confirm the diagnosis of schizophrenia, considering personal and family history. This diagnosis acts as a schizophrenia test.

 

Schizophrenia requires ongoing treatment, even after symptoms improve. The typical treatment approach combines schizophrenia medications and psychosocial therapy, and hospitalization might be required in some cases.

An experienced psychiatrist typically leads schizophrenia treatments, often alongside a psychologist, social worker, psychiatric nurse, and possibly a case manager for coordinated care. Medications ­– primarily antipsychotics – are central to treatment, aiming to regulate dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain. Treatment seeks to manage symptoms with minimal doses, potentially involving different drugs or combinations. Additional medications like antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs may also be considered. Despite potential side effects, discussing benefits and drawbacks with the doctor is essential for informed decisions.

an image of people learning about mental health disorders from a mental health blog

If you have been feeling any of these symptoms, and you are in need of help, please give our friendly team a call.

Schizophrenia Medications & Interventions

The newer second-generation schizophrenia medications are favored as they carry less risk of severe side effects than first-generation antipsychotics. Some first-generation antipsychotics trigger neurological side effects, possibly causing an irreversible movement disorder known as tardive dyskinesia. First-generation antipsychotics include:

  • Chlorpromazine
  • Fluphenazine
  • Haloperidol
  • Perphenazine

 

Certain antipsychotics can be administered monthly through intramuscular or subcutaneous injections. Injectable options can be beneficial for those seeking reduced pill intake and improved adherence.

Once psychosis subsides, alongside maintaining medication, psychological and psychosocial interventions play a central role in treatment. These interventions include:

Individual therapy

Aiding in normalizing thought patterns, stress management, and recognizing early signs of relapse.

Social skills training

Enhancing communication, social interactions, and everyday engagement.

Family therapy
  • Offering support and education for families grappling with schizophrenia.
Vocational rehabilitation and supported employment
  • Facilitating job preparation, search, and retention for individuals with schizophrenia. Daily living assistance is required for most schizophrenia patients. Many communities offer programs for jobs, housing, self-help groups, and crisis support. A case manager or treatment team member can help locate resources. 

With appropriate care, the majority of individuals with schizophrenia can effectively manage their condition. We can help you achieve this at Connections Mental Health in Southern California.

therapy session representing schizophrenia test
woman looking out window representing chronic adjustment disorder

Schizophrenia FAQs

Can schizophrenia be cured?

Currently, there is no known cure for schizophrenia, but treatment can manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Is schizophrenia genetic?

If you’re asking “is schizophrenia genetic?” Yes, there is a genetic component to schizophrenia, as those with a family history of the disorder have a higher risk of developing it. That said, environmental factors also play a role.

Is schizophrenia a disability?

Yes, schizophrenia is considered a disability. It is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel, and behave, which can impair their ability to function in daily life. As a result, people with schizophrenia may qualify for benefits under laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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Get Treatment for Schizophrenia at Connections

Schizophrenia can be a highly disruptive condition. At Connections Mental Health in Southern California, our experienced and compassionate team can help you improve functioning and overall well-being through immersive mental health treatment.

Our beachside facility offers a serene and tranquil setting in which you can access holistic and evidence-based treatments to help you restore equilibrium in your life.

If you or a loved one are battling schizophrenia, start the process of whole-body healing at Connections Mental Health. Our committed team will help you initiate meaningful change. Call admissions today at 844-413-0009 for more information and immediate assistance.

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