Schizophrenia

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Overview

Schizophrenia is a very severe mental disorder. It consists of a combination of different and dangerous mental symptoms. The condition is chronic. Hence it requires lifelong treatment. Suicide is a very common cause of death in schizophrenic patients.

Causes

The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown, but a combination of genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors are thought to play a role in the development of the disease.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia may include:

  • Delusions – the are false beliefs that are not based on reality.
  • Hallucinations – hallucinations are defined as, sensing sensations that are not present. For example, seeing or hearing things that are not present.
  • Disorganized thinking and speech – the stuff these patients say is unrelated and completely out of context.
  • Disorganized motor behavior – patient exhibits extreme agitation
  • Lack of emotion
  • Loss of interest
  • Social withdrawal
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Suicidal thoughts and behavior

Diagnosis

For the diagnosis of schizophrenia, it is first important to exclude other causes of the symptoms, such as drug or alcohol abuse, medical problems of the brain or other mental disorders. The following tests can aid in confirming the diagnosis:

  • Psychiatric evaluation
  • MRI brain
  • CT scan brain

Diagnostic and statistical manual 5 is a specific criterion used by physicians to diagnose schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

Treatment

The treatment of this disease is done by a combination of psychotherapy and medications. The following medications are employed in the use of schizophrenia:

  • First generation antipsychotics – Haloperidol, Chlorpromazine, Fluphenazine, Perphenazine
  • Second generation antipsychotics – Aripiprazole, Clozapine, Olanzapine.
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