It is a chronic brain condition characterized by a “disconnection” from reality. These disconnections might appear as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and disorganized or odd movements. The term “schizophrenia” can apply to both a single condition and a group of conditions classified as psychotic conditions.
Schizophrenia does not mean a split or multiple personalities. Multiple personalities are a symptom of dissociative identity disorder. While it is commonly believed that individuals with schizophrenia end up homeless or hospitalized, the majority of them actually live at home, in group homes, or on their own.
Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia:
The primary symptoms of schizophrenia are most likely to occur during the active period. These symptoms can include any of the following:
- Delusions. Delusions are persistent false beliefs that continue despite apparent or reasonable proof that they are untrue. The most common are persecutory (or paranoid) delusions, in which a person feels they are being hurt or tormented by another person or group. These are incorrect ideas that a person will not alter despite evidence to the contrary.
- Hallucinations. Hallucinations are the illusion of hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, or experiencing things that are not really there. They are clear and distinct, giving the appearance of normal experiences. The most prevalent type of hallucination in schizophrenia is an auditory hallucination, or “hearing voices.” These are things that don’t exist, yet you believe they do.
- Disorganized thinking and speech. It refers to thoughts and speech that are disorganized, confused, and/or do not make sense. People may struggle to keep on topic, or it may be severe enough that you are unable to comprehend them because their words are jumbled or incomprehensible. People who have schizophrenia frequently struggle to organize their thoughts when speaking.
- Disorganized or abnormal motor behavior. These are motions that can range from childlike silliness to unpredictable agitation, disturbing, or repetitive movements. When the behavior is severe, it might interfere with the performance of daily activities. It comprises catatonia, a condition in which a person does not react to the stimuli as expected. They may strike a certain pose, fail to reply to the person speaking to them or begin moving around excessively for no apparent reason.
- Negative symptoms. These are declines in specific behaviors. Impaired emotional expression, decreased voice output, fewer or no movements with their hands or other parts of their body, and decreased feeling of enjoyment are some examples. They also have a lack of motivation, especially when it comes to socializing or doing things they normally love.
Stages of Schizophrenia:
Schizophrenia normally develops in stages, with various symptoms and behaviors associated with each stage.
- Prodrome phase. This is a preliminary stage that occurs before a person gets more severe symptoms. It might appear as social withdrawal, anxiety, a lack of drive, and a disregard for personal cleanliness. This phase can last from weeks to years.
- Active phase. This is when psychotic symptoms become fully apparent. Sometimes, this phase appears suddenly without a prodromal stage. Another word for this is “psychotic break,” which occurs when a person loses touch with reality.
- Residual phase. People in this stage still have certain signs and symptoms of schizophrenia, although they are not as severe. The most visible symptoms include strange thoughts, lack of motivation, lower sensations of delight or pleasure, limited speech, and less emotional expressiveness. Many people typically heal to the point where they appear to be partly or completely recovered.
Risk Factors of Schizophrenia:
Schizophrenia can have various risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing it. Genetics plays a role, as people with a family history of schizophrenia are more susceptible to the disorder.
Environmental factors such as certain brain-impacting disorders and prolonged periods of extreme stress can also contribute to the development of schizophrenia. Additionally, birth and development situations, such as a mother’s gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, malnutrition, or vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy, as well as underweight birth and birth complications, can increase the risk of schizophrenia.
The use of recreational drugs, especially in larger quantities and at a younger age, has been linked to schizophrenia by researchers.
How is it Treated, and is there a cure?
Though there is no treatment for schizophrenia, many individuals manage their symptoms completely.
Two types of medicines are used to treat schizophrenia.
Typical antipsychotics. These drugs interact with the way your brain utilizes dopamine, a neurotransmitter used for cell-to-cell communication.
Atypical antipsychotics. These inhibit both dopamine and serotonin, two important brain communication neurotransmitters. However, it has a rare serious side effect that needs constant blood testing to keep individuals safe, which is why other antipsychotics are typically prescribed first.
Cognitive behavioral treatment can assist persons with schizophrenia to cope with and manage their condition. It may reduce its symptoms and enhance function. Long-term therapy can also assist with secondary conditions that accompany schizophrenia, such as anxiety, sadness, or substance abuse.
- Electroconvulsive therapy
This treatment includes applying an electrical current to your scalp, which stimulates certain regions of your brain. This stimulation generates a short seizure, which can help persons with severe depression, agitation, and other issues improve their brain function.
When certain drugs fail to treat a person’s schizophrenia and the individual is in danger of self-harm or injuring others, healthcare practitioners may propose using electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). When medicine alone takes too long to work, this procedure can provide immediate results.
Novus Beginning Psychiatry: Your Path to Health and Wellness Starts Here!
We understand that navigating the complexities of mental health can feel overwhelming, but you don’t have to face it alone. At Novus Beginning Psychiatry, we’re here to support you every step of the way. Whether you’re seeking therapy, medication, or a combination of both, our compassionate professionals are dedicated to helping you find the path to a happier, healthier life.
Our highly skilled psychiatrists are experienced in a wide range of mental health conditions, including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD, ADHD, autism, and more. We offer evidence-based therapies that have been proven effective in helping individuals overcome their challenges. From cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) to couples/family therapy, we utilize the most up-to-date techniques to empower you on your healing journey.
We also recognize that medication is vital in managing certain psychological health conditions. Our team includes Dr. Nibras, who is a board-certified psychiatrist well-versed in medication management. He works closely with you to develop a comprehensive treatment plan, as we believe in the power of personalized care.
So, take the first step towards a brighter future. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Our friendly staff is ready to assist you in finding a convenient time to meet with our dedicated professionals. Call (832)856-4718 and let us help you take charge of your mental well-being.
Medication Management For Psychiatric Wellness
At Novus Beginning Psychiatry, we’re dedicated to helping you unlock the power of effective medication management. Our team of psychiatrists has years of experience and understands the importance of finding the right balance for your mental health journey. We offer personalized and compassionate care, creating medication plans that are tailored to your unique needs. Our understanding of psychopharmacology allows us to provide the most advanced and evidence-based treatments available.
Our goal is to help you by providing the right medications to enhance your therapy outcomes, reduce your symptoms, and improve your overall well-being. We want to be your trusted partner on the path to a brighter future. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Novus Beginning Psychiatry to experience the transformative effects of our comprehensive medication management approach.
Who is Dr. Nibras?
Dr. Sohail Nibras is a double board-certified psychiatrist in child, adolescent, and adult psychiatry. He completed his education at Saint Louis University and the American University of Integrative Science. He excels in treatments based on psychiatric care and therapeutic sessions and has experience treating dual psychiatric and substance use disorders. Dr. Nibras is an assistant professor at the Menninger Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He serves as an attending psychiatrist at Texas Children’s Hospital. He trains future psychiatrists and engages in scholarly research projects.
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