Schizophrenia Types, Symptoms and Treatment
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder that interferes with and distorts an individual’s way of thinking and acting, expression of emotions and perception of reality. People who suffer at the hands of schizophrenia face hindrances in various aspects of society, in terms of work, school and maintaining relationships. Schizophrenia is primarily a form of ‘psychosis’ whereby an individual cannot differentiate between what is real and what is imagined.
In schizophrenia, an individual’s mental functioning gets obscured in a plethora of ways and sufferers may lose touch with reality.
During schizophrenia, a person may experience a sudden change in personality and behavior; this is called a ‘Psychotic episode’. Some people may experience only one psychotic episode during the course of their lifetime, while others may have several, but lead relatively normal lives in between episodes. Schizophrenia is a life long illness and has no cure. However, it can be controlled if the right kind of treatment is administered against it.
Types Of Schizophrenia
There are various types of schizophrenia. However, they are all categorized as mental disorders and share similar symptoms
People who suffer from paranoid schizophrenia are immersed with false beliefs and delusions that the world is conspiring against them and that they are being penalized and punished by someone. However, their speech, emotions and way of thinking remains fairly uninterrupted and normal.
People who suffer from this type usually have speech problems as a primary concern. Their outward behavior may be childlike, silly, inappropriate and not normal. Such behavior can come in between everyday activities such as preparing meals and even showering.
Catatonic schizophrenia is associated with severe symptoms that are mostly physical in nature. These symptoms include being immobile and unresponsive to the world around you, stiffness and rigidity. Another peculiar behavior displayed by most sufferers of chronic catatonic schizophrenia is mindless repetition of particular words and phrases. Furthermore, individuals suffering from this kind of schizophrenia are also at an increased risk of malnutrition and self-inclined injury.
This subtype of schizophrenia is said to exist when the symptoms displayed are not relevant to the other three subtypes mentioned above.
Residual schizophrenia is characterized as the later stages of schizophrenia. The symptoms at this point decrease in intensity, and hallucinations and delusions are lower than what they are when the disorder is initially diagnosed.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
When the disorder first begins to emerge, the symptoms are usually spontaneous and severe. Different people may display different symptoms in terms of changes in behavior and personality. The most common symptoms of schizophrenia fall into either one of the three categories; ‘positive symptoms’, ‘disorganized symptoms’ and ‘negative symptoms’.
Positive Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia
- Lack of energy
- Withdrawn attitude
- Lack of emotion or facing difficulty in expressing emotions, feelings and thoughts
- Lack of motivation
- Poor hygiene care
- Catatonia - temporary paralysis
Disorganized Symptoms of Schizophrenia
- Broken language that does not make any sense
- Slow movements
- Erratic thinking
- Pacing or walking in circles
- Inability to differentiate between the sense of smell, touch and sound
Treatment For Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is an irreversible psychological disorder. All the treatments associated with schizophrenia focus on helping alleviate the symptoms and lower their intensity. The possible treatments for schizophrenia may include medications, psychosocial therapy, hospitalization and lastly psychosurgery. The medication used to treat schizophrenia primarily deals with lessening the impact of severely hazardous symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations. These medications are termed as ‘antipsychotics’.
Medication mostly helps in relieving symptoms, but psychosocial therapy is a more profound approach at helping with the impact that the disorder has on an individual’s behavioral, social, psychological and occupational aspects of life. The basic psychosocial therapies that can help an individual maintain healthier relationships with others, lower down hallucination and delusions, and decrease the onset of sudden mood swings include rehabilitation, and individual, family and group psychotherapy.
Take notice of the severity of the symptoms being displayed by the schizophrenic patients. If you feel that the person has reached a state whereby he feels it’s justified to participate in self-inflicted injury, and becomes a threat to his own being, hospitalization may be an appropriate measure to take.
The last option available as a line of treatment for schizophrenia is psychosurgery, which also happens to be the least preferred and recommended one. It is performed on a very rare basis, as it involves taking the risk of potentially having to undergo irreversible personality changes. Hence, it is advisable to choose a treatment that is less drastic in nature and involves a less of a hazardous procedure.