Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia:  Severe emotional disorder, usually of psychotic proportions, characterized by withdrawal from reality, delusion, hallucinations, ambivalence, inappropriate affect, and withdrawn, bizarre or regressive behavior.

Schizophrenic disorders:  This group of disorders is marked by withdrawal into self and failure to distinguish between reality and fantasy.  Studies shows an estimated 2 million Americans may suffer from this disease.  There is four types of schizophrenia, the different types share these essential features:  presence of psychotic features during the acute phase: deterioration from a previous level of functioning, the onset before age 45, and the presence of symptoms for at least 6 months with deterioration in occupational functioning, social relations, or self care. The four type of schizophrenia are:  catatonic, paranoid, disorganized, and residual.
Schizophrenic disorders produce varying degrees of impairment; 1) the prodromal phase:  is insidious, occurring about 1 year before the patient's first hospitalization.  During this period, the patient may display signs of a loss of will, inappropriate affect, and impaired job performance.  2) the active phase:  patient show signs of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions. This phase marks full development of the disorder.  3) the residual phase:  resembles the prodromal phase, but more severe. Some people who suffers from schizophrenic disorder experience repeated, acute exacerbation of the active phase. Some as many as one third of schizophrenic patients have just one psychotic episode and no more. Prognosis worsens with each acute episode.  Some schizophrenic patients have no disability between periods of exacerbation.

The cause of schizophrenia ar unknown.  There are various theories, both biological and psychological have been proposed. Expects point to genetic pre-disposition, hyperdopaminergic conditions, and disturbed family and interpersonal patterns, But experts has different opinion on this matter. A recent report that a gene for schizophrenia exists on chromosome 5 hasn't yet been confirmed.

Symptoms:

Catatonic schizophrenia: 

Inability to take care of personal needs
Diminished sensitivity to painful stimuli
Negative attitude
Rigidity
May experience rapid swings between excitement and stupor
May experience extreme psychomotor agitation 
Excessive, senseless, and or incoherent shouting or talking.
Often there is an increased potential for destructive, violent behavior.

Paranoid schizophrenia: 

Feeling of persecutory (  of, related to, or being/feeling of persecution:  paranoid)
Having a grandiose delusional thought content and auditory hallucinations.
May act on delusional thoughts,  inability to function
May exhibit an artificial or elevated mannerism towards others
Unfocused anxiety, anger, argumentativeness, and violence.

Disorganized schizophrenia:

Incoherence
Regressive, silly, flat, incongruous ( not suitable, inappropriate, not corresponding or conforming ), chaotic speech
Fragmented hallucinations and delusions that are not systematized into a coherent theme.
May exhibit unpredictable laughter and or grimaces
may have hypochondriacal complaints
Extreme social withdrawal
Regressive behavior

Residual schizophrenia:

Has a previous history of at least one episode of schizophrenia with prominent psychotic symptoms and continues to suffer from two or more characteristic symptoms such as:  inappropriate affect, social withdrawal, eccentric behavior, illogical thinking.
Residual schizophrenia, the patient does not exhibit prominent psychotic symptoms.

Treatment:

Goal: to control this illness and to equipped the patient with skills they need to live and an environment that offers opportunity for meaningful interpersonal relationships.

Patient needs to be under the care of one who is a professional who specialize in this disorder.

Neuroleptic medication. Drug treatment should be continuous because schizophrenic patients may relapse when medication is discontinued. * With all medication, use as prescribe by your doctor.  Call your doctor if you experience adverse reaction to medication.  * Make sure you let your doctor know if you start or stop any medication.

Doctors disagree about the effectiveness of psychotherapy in schizophrenics.  Electroconvulsive therapy ( ECT ) is sometimes used to treat acute schizophrenia and may be helpful when neuroleptic therapy cannot be used.

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