Schizophrenia

WHAT IS SCHIZOPHRENIA?

Schizophrenia is a mental health problem in which you might hear voices that aren’t there. You may think other people are trying to hurt you or you may not make sense when you speak. People with schizophrenia often have problems with interpersonal relationships, taking care of themselves, or holding down a job. Treatment can help you or a loved one thrive.

Common symptoms of schizophrenia, which typically start between age 16 to 30, include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there
  • Delusions or hearing voices
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts
  • Depression or social withdrawal
  • Problems making decisions or paying attention
  • False beliefs that don’t match reality
  • Disorganized speech
  • Abnormal motor behavior
  • Extreme disorganization
  • Inability to function properly
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • No eye contact or facial expressions

Complications associated with schizophrenia include suicide, anxiety disorders, depression, alcohol misuse, nicotine or drug use, social problems, homelessness, and being victimized, as well as the inability to hold a job, attend school, or financially support yourself.

The cause of schizophrenia isn’t clear, but your environment, genes, and brain chemistry may play a role in its development. Risk factors include:

  • Genetics
  • Family history of schizophrenia
  • Pregnancy or birth complications
  • Toxin exposure during pregnancy
  • Taking mind-altering drugs

Seeking treatment at the first sign of schizophrenia can maximize the quality of life for you or a loved one and prevent serious psychosocial complications.

Schizophrenia can be diagnosed after performing a comprehensive assessment,  a detailed medical history, and they type and duration of symptoms. In addition, a physical exam is performed along with a review of your family history for mental health disorders.   Drug or alcohol screenings, MRIs, CT scans, or other forms of diagnostic testing may be required to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

THERAPIES FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA

Common therapies to treat schizophrenia include:  

  • Medication: Oral medications and/or injections can help control symptoms of schizophrenia. 
  • Psychotherapy: psychotherapy may be needed an approach to schizophrenia treatment; examining the connection between psychology, biology, and social aspects of the disease. 
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