Schizophrenia is a severe and chronic mental disorder which affects the way a person thinks, behaves, and feels. In most of the cases, the person’s expression or perception of reality is way different from the actual scenario. It is mostly characterized by hallucinations, delusions, disorganized behavior and thinking, abnormal motor behavior which include improper postures and excessive movements. The symptoms and causes of schizophrenia are mentioned below.
Types And Symptoms Of Schizophrenia
Symptoms are largely classified into positive and negative. Positive symptoms portray an excess or distortion of normal behaviors like delusions, hallucinations, and increased movements. Negative symptoms are characterized by decreased speech, limited expression, isolation from other people, and decreased productivity.
The symptoms of schizophrenia depend on the type of schizophrenia a patient is diagnosed with. The different types and respective symptoms are:
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1. Paranoid Schizophrenia
Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common type of schizophrenia. The delusions are deep-rooted to fear and anxiety. A patient, in this case,
Some of the cases tend to show violent or suicidal behavior, but a successful treatment helps them rebound to reality quickly. Treatment options involve antipsychotic drugs and cognitive behavioral therapy.
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2. Catatonic Schizophrenia
Catatonic schizophrenia is a condition where a person is in either of the two extreme phases– catatonic excitement or catatonic stupor. Catatonic excitement refers to hyperactivity or over-excitement, where a person tends to repeat others’ speech (echolalia) or movements (echopraxia). Catatonic stupor refers to the complete opposite behavior, where a person doesn’t speak, respond, or move, or persistently refuses to follow certain
Electroconvulsive therapy, where electric currents are passed through the brain of the patient to induce controlled seizures, is one the effective treatments used. The other treatments include medications and psychotherapy.
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3. Disorganized Schizophrenia
Disorganized schizophrenia was formerly called as hebephrenia. It is characterized by disorganization in behavior and speech in a patient. This involves an inappropriate behavior of the person in public places, which includes acting silly, childish, or laughing unnecessarily. Speech could be improper in a way where a person’s answer to a particular question is completely unrelated, or he repeats what is being said already. This can impact the day to day life, work, and social interactions of the person.
Antipsychotics, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy, and vocational skills training are some of the effective treatments chosen based on the severity.
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4. Undifferentiated Schizophrenia
In undifferentiated schizophrenia, a person shows symptoms of any of the above three schizophrenias. The symptoms keep fluctuating from one type to another. A person might feel hallucinated in one episode, but might be in a catatonic stupor in the next episode. Since the symptoms cannot be readily differentiated, it is called “undifferentiated”.
The treatment usually depends on the symptoms the patient shows. However, in any case, medications are the most effective treatment employed.
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5. Residual Schizophrenia
Residual schizophrenia is characterized by a person not showing any symptoms for a long span of around 12 months. The symptoms, however, might relapse after a time-gap, but with much lesser intensity. The patient might still show hallucination, delusion, and disorientation, but those won’t affect his day to day life.
Most of the cases of residual schizophrenia have been completely cured using antipsychotics, psychotherapy, anti-depressants, and some natural supplements like antioxidants and amino acids.
Causes And Risk Factors
The exact cause of schizophrenia gives a lot of room for research. However, some studies show that the below reasons could be the possible causes and risk factors.
- A problem with brain chemistry, which refers to the abnormal behavior of dopamine and glutamate.
- A severe infection during the childhood.
- Infection during developmental stages in the womb.
- Older age of the father.
- Exposure to toxins or harmful viruses when in the womb.
- Malnutrition during birth.
- Being exposed to psychoactive drugs during teenage or early adulthood.
A physical examination, tests and screening like MRI and CT scan, and psychiatric evaluation are some of the diagnostic techniques used. If you or your loved one is showing any of the above symptoms, a visit to mental health expert is highly recommended. People often interpret schizophrenia as split personality disorder, which is not true. A thorough diagnosis, therefore, plays an important role.