Thursday, June 15, 2017

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Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorder

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness characterised by hallucinations, delusions, disordered thoughts and agitation. It affects about one in every hundred people and occurs in every race, culture and sex. Some people with schizophrenia only have a few episodes of the illness, and others experience it chronically. There is a high suicide rate amongst individuals who suffer from schizophrenia.

There are three types of symptoms associated with schizophrenia - positive symptoms, negative symptoms and cognitive symptoms. These may be accompanied with depressive and other mood symptoms.

Positive symptoms are the most well known symptoms, including hallucinations (voices, seeing things that aren’t there), delusions (paranoia, religious, mind reading, feeling as if thoughts are being inserted into your head), disorganised speech and bizarre behaviour. These are most easily treatable with medications.

Cognitive symptoms include being easily distracted, impaired memory, poor problem solving and decision-making skills, illogical thinking and impaired judgement.

If you have schizophrenia you may have negative symptoms such as having trouble with day-to-day functioning as the illness involves more than psychosis. You may lack motivation to do daily activities such as cooking and bathing. Social events and conversations are difficult for sufferers, as you may not understand that your behaviour is inappropriate.

Psychosis may also accompany certain medical conditions and drug abuse.

Antipsychotics are the first line treatments for schizophrenia. There is a variety of available, such as the typical antipsychotic haloperidol. Also available are atypical antipsychotics such as quetiapine. These medications affect dopamine, a chemical in the brain. These can effectively control your symptoms. It is important to stay on your medications in case of relapses.

Psychological therapy such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can allow you to combat negative thinking to manage symptoms and gain control over your life. Education about schizophrenia is very important for you and loved ones, so that you can understand more about the disease.
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