Schizophrenia

General Illness Information

Medical Term: Schizophrenia

Common Name: Schizophrenia

Description: Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel, and behave.

Causes:

The causes of schizophrenia are unknown. However, schizophrenia depends on genetic factors and environmental factors.

  • Genetic causes – Schizophrenia is closely related to genetics. People with 1 degree of kinship (parents, brother or sister) have a 10% chance of developing this disorder, while the general population of the planet has only 1% risk;
  • Environmental factors – Studies have shown that the development of schizophrenia is often associated with stress. A high level of stress can cause schizophrenia through the production of a hormone called cortisol;
  • Abnormal brain structure – In addition to abnormal brain biochemistry, abnormalities in brain anatomy may also play a role in the development of schizophrenia.

Signs & Symptoms:

Schizophrenia is characterized by a large range of different symptoms:

  • Productive symptoms (delirium, hallucinations);
  • Negative symptoms (apathy, lack of will, abulia);
  • Cognitive disorders (disorders of thinking, attention, perception).

Other possible causes of schizophrenia are estrangement, irritability, mood disturbance.

Patients with schizophrenia have disorganization of thinking, auditory hallucinations, speech disorders. The disease is usually accompanied by social isolation. The characteristic symptom of schizophrenia is hallucination, which can be frequent and prolonged.

Close people should identify the first symptoms that may indicate schizophrenia:

  • Inability of a person to perform a task. The patient simply does not see any sense in this. This applies even to basic hygiene procedures. For example, a patient does not see any sense in washing his feet, as they get dirty again;
  • Violation of speech. This symptom in schizophrenia is expressed by the fact that the patient gives simple (monosyllabic) answers to the questions. If the patient is still forced to give a detailed answer, then he will talk very slowly;
  • Emotional poverty. The face of the patient is mild. It is quite difficult for people around to understand his mood and intentions.
  • Inattention, absent-mindedness and low concentration;
  • Lack of interest even in those activities that previously brought a person joy.

Schizophrenia progresses slowly, and the existing symptoms increase with time. It is important to identify the signs of the disease in time and see a doctor as soon as possible.

Diagnosis:

Diagnosis and treatment of schizophrenia is carried out by a psychiatrist. In some cases, a patient needs to be taken to a psychiatric hospital for examination.

Treatment:

  • Treatment is usually done through psychopharmacotherapy. Other methods include insulin co-therapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and so on. The choice of psychotropic and nootropic drugs (pantogam, etc.) is determined by the type of disease flow and the symptomatology;
  • With malignant schizophrenia, neuroleptics with a powerful antipsychotic effect (chlorpromazine, levomepromazine, promazine, haloperidol, trifluoperazine, clozapine) are used;
  • To prevent the development of severe neuroleptic complications in the treatment of typical antipsychotics, cholinolytics (trihexyphenidyl, biperidene) are prescribed;
  • In the treatment of a simple form of schizophrenia, neuroleptics with a stimulating effect (trifluoperazine, perphenazine) are used. Atypical antipsychotics (risperidone, quetiapine, olanzapine) are also used;
  • Therapy of paranoid schizophrenia with a continuous course includes the use of typical antipsychotics (perphenazine, trifluoperazine, haloperidol);
  • In hallucinatory delirium, perphenazine, or trifluoperazine are used;
  • In later stages of treatment, fluphenazine is used;
  • Schizophrenia is also treated with neuroleptics and tranquilizers (phenazepam, tofizopam, lorazepam, bromazepam);
  • In the treatment of febrile schizophrenia, infusion therapy is used: 10% glucose-insulin-potassium mixture, potassium, magnesium and calcium preparations, saline solutions. To prevent brain edema, osmotic diuretics (mannitol) are administered intravenously. At the same time, diazepam or hexenal anesthesia are used.

Prevention:

To date, effective prevention of schizophrenia has not been developed.

Possible Complications:

  • Social isolation;
  • Impaired brain function;
  • Neuroleptic extrapyramidal disorders due to the use of neuroleptics.

Other:

Not specified.

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