Let’s talk about Schizophrenia
Approximately 2.8 million adults in the United States are affected by schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects the way a person thinks, feels, and acts. Those with schizophrenia have difficulty determining between what is real and what is not, can be withdrawn or unresponsive, and have trouble expressing emotions that match the social situation.
These symptoms make it hard for those with schizophrenia to function in everyday life. While there is no cure for schizophrenia, many people with schizophrenia can lead productive and fulfilling lives with treatment.
Symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three different categories: positive symptoms, negative, and disorganized symptoms. Positive symptoms are disturbances that add to one’s personality, whereas negative symptoms are capabilities lost from one’s personality. Disorganized symptoms are those that affect thinking, speech, and behavior. Listed below are examples of each type of symptom (American Psychiatric Association, 2020):
Delusions: false ideas, people may believe that someone is spying on them or that they are famous or a religious figure
Hallucinations: seeing, feeling, tasting, hearing, or smelling something that does not really exist
Extreme apathy (lack of interest or enthusiasm)
Lack of drive or initiative
Disorganized thinking and speech: moving from one topic to another in a nonsensical way
Disorganized behavior: this can range from having problems with routine behaviors, like hygiene or choosing inappropriate clothing for the weather, unprovoked outbursts, or impulsive actions
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms, check your risk by taking our schizophrenia screening.
Treatment will vary depending on the severity of the disorder, but most treatments include psychotherapy, psychological interventions, medication, or a combination of the three.
It is important to know that treatment for mental health conditions are tailored to the individual and the information presented here are just a few of the many different treatment options.
Psychotherapy is a form of treatment conducted by a trained and licensed therapist (i.e., psychologist, social worker, or counselor). The therapist provides a supportive environment for individuals to talk openly about their mental health condition(s) and emotional challenges with someone who is objective and non judgmental. There are many different types of psychotherapy with some examples listed below:
Individual Therapy and Family Therapy
This type of therapy helps those with schizophrenia normalize their thought patterns and help them learn different methods to cope with their stress. Additionally, a therapist can help them identify signs of relapse so they can better manage their condition. Family therapy helps loved ones learn about schizophrenia and how they can best support their family or friend with schizophrenia (Mayo Clinic, 2020).
Additional psychological interventions
In addition to therapy, there are other treatments that can aid in recovery. Those with schizophrenia have a difficult time in social settings. Social skills training aims at improving social interactions and communication skills. Additionally, vocational rehabilitation can help those with schizophrenia search, apply, and hold down a job (Mayo Clinic, 2020).
Antipsychotic medications are used to treat those with psychotic disorders. There are two major types of antipsychotic medications: typical antipsychotics and atypical antipsychotics. Typical antipsychotics help manage the positive symptoms like hallucinations and delusions. Atypical medications help manage both the positive and negative symptoms. Like all medications there may be side effects, so it is important to talk to a medical provider, who can decide which medication works best for you and your symptoms (National Institute of Mental Health, 2023).
It is important to consult with a medical provider before taking any medications.
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