What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a complex mental illness that affects the sufferer’s ability to think clearly, manage their emotions and interact with other people. The disease affects each sufferer differently. Characteristic signs are most often expressed in:

  • Sufferers of this mental disorder sometimes hear and see things that do not exist – hallucinations;
  • They often believe in facts and circumstances that cannot be to be true – paranoia;
  • They may think that some people are trying to harm them – paranoia.

There are several types of schizophrenia. The most common is the paranoid form, which is characterized by frightening or terrifying thoughts of those suffering from the disease.

They think someone is trying to harm them and they hear voices. Some consider this mental disorder equivalent to “split personality” or dissociative personality disorder, but it is an entirely different mental disorder.

Living with schizophrenia presents the sufferer with this mental illness with many challenges.

This is a “difficult” disease, causing serious changes in the patient and his family. But the sick can live a full and meaningful life if:

  • Patients have a desire to help themselves;
  • They receive professional medical assistance;
  • They have the support of his family.

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?

Negative symptoms – means that patients have “lost” a certain side of their personality or from his life experience. Sufferers of the mental disorder may:

  • They don’t take care of their things;
  • They are disinterested;
  • They don’t care for themselves by not bathing and eating regularly;
  • They find it difficult to find words to describe how they feel;
  • Get angry for no reason at strangers or otherwise express their negative attitude towards them;

Positive symptoms:

  • Hallucinations and delusions;
  • Falling into states of nervous-psychic excitement;
  • Confused thinking or speaking;

Cognitive symptoms – related to the way you think. They are often not visible to other people, and the patient does not feel them either. These symptoms can be:

  • Loss of memory;
  • They are not able to understand facts and circumstances well enough, so they are not able to make adequate decisions;
  • Have difficulty trying to speak clearly in front of other people;

Symptoms usually begin in puberty or young adulthood, but they can also start at an older age. They can appear suddenly or develop slowly. The patient is usually not clear about the symptoms.

Negative symptoms usually appear first. They can be difficult to recognize as schizophrenia because they closely resemble the symptoms of other conditions such as depression. Positive symptoms may begin days, months, or years after negative symptoms appear.

Early signs of schizophrenia can be characterized, for example, by doing unusual and uncharacteristic things at school.

In this initial state, sufferers believe that others are trying to harm them or their personality changes and they do not want to meet people.

These early signs do not indicate schizophrenia. But if you notice that you or someone close to you is exhibiting them, it is highly recommended that you seek professional medical attention.

Treatment of schizophrenia

The treatment of mental disorders, including schizophrenia, is an important aspect of patient care.

It is aimed at controlling and managing symptoms, improving the quality of life of affected individuals and helping their social integration.

The psychopharmacological aspect of drug treatment is essential in managing the symptoms of schizophrenia.

The main class of drugs used in the treatment of mental disorders, including schizophrenia, are antipsychotics, which have different subclasses and variations. We will look at some of them in detail:

  • Atypical antipsychotics: These drugs are the first choice in the treatment of schizophrenia. These include drugs such as risperidone, olanzapine, quetiapine, aripiprazole and paliperidone. Atypical antipsychotics are preferred because of the lower likelihood of serious extrapyramidal symptoms (such as dysconcentration, muscle stiffness, etc.) and tardive dyskinesia (nervous motor disorders) often associated with classic antipsychotics.
  • < strong>Clozapine: This drug is considered the most effective antipsychotic, especially in cases of schizophrenia that do not respond well enough to other drugs. However, special attention should be paid to potential serious side effects, including agranulocytosis (severe decrease in white blood cells), which require regular medical check-ups.
  • Conventional antipsychotics: These drugs such as chlorpromazine, haloperidol, perphenazine, and fluphenazine are also used in the treatment of schizophrenia, but are often associated with more side effects and a greater risk of movement disorders than atypical antipsychotics. They are used when other options do not prove effective or are not tolerated by patients.

It is important to emphasize that the treatment of schizophrenia is not only the administration of drugs. Psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or support groups, can be helpful in helping patients cope with stress, improve their interpersonal interactions, and facilitate the recovery process.

Treatment of schizophrenia should be individually directed and include regular medical supervision and support from specialist health personnel.

Patients and their families should work together with health care providers to determine the most appropriate approach and ensure that treatment is effective and safe.

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