Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that has been recognized throughout recorded history. The first signs of schizophrenia typically emerge in the teenage years or early twenties. It is a form of psychosis, which is an impairment of thinking in which the interpretation of reality is abnormal. It is uncommon in children and is hard to recognize in its early phases. Although schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency, the disorder often appears earlier in men, usually in the late teens or early twenties, than in women, who are generally affected in the twenties to early thirties. The term schizophrenia literally means split mind; however, many people still believe incorrectly that the condition causes a split personality (which is an uncommon problem involving dissociation). The cause of schizophrenia is still unclear.
People with schizophrenia often suffer terrifying symptoms such as hearing internal voices not heard by others, or believing that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. Certain psychotic disorders such as bipolar disorder in a manic phase and delusive disorder share some of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia but can have distinctly different courses and prognosis. Their speech and behavior can be so disorganized that they may be incomprehensible or frightening to others. Available treatments can relieve many symptoms, but most people with schizohphrenia continue to suffer some symptoms throughout their lives; it has been estimated that no more than one in five individuals recovers completely.
Most people with schizophrenia suffer chronically or episodically throughout their lives, losing opportunities for careers and relationships. They often are stigmatized by lack of public understanding about the disease. However, several new antipsychotic medications developed within the last decade, which have fewer side effects than the older medications, in combination with psychosocial interventions have improved the outlook for many people with schizophrenia.
Types of Schizophrenia :
Catatonic type schizophrenia
Patients with this subtype of Schizophrenia may exhibit extremes of behavior including catatonia. Some may allow their posture to be rearranged, holding the new position (catalepsy or waxy flexibility). Others may imitate sounds (echolalia) or movements (echopraxia) of others. At times, some patients may explode into an excited, activated state marked by purposeless ad repetitive movements.
Disorganized type schizophrenia
A form of schizophrenia that is characterized by a disorganized behavior and disorganized speech. Their affect may be flat or inappropriate. This type involves a disturbance in behavior, communication, and thought.
Paranoid type schizophrenia
Delusions and auditory hallucinations predominate in patients with this subtype of schizophrenia while their affective and cognitive functioning remains relatively intact. This type of patient often has highly elaborate delusions of persecution or personal grandeur.
Residual type schizophrenia
A form of schizophrenia that is characterized by a previous diagnosis of schizophrenia, but no longer having any of the prominent psychotic symptoms. There are some remaining symptoms of the disorder however, such as eccentric behavior, emotional blunting, illogical thinking, or social withdrawal.
Undifferentiated type schizophrenia
This subtype of schizophrenia applies to patients who fail to meet the criteria for the other subtypes but clearly suffer from this mental disorder.
The patient suffers from pronounced psychotic symptoms, which may not fit in any other specific category or more than one.
Treatments for Schizophrenia
The newer medications for schizophrenia—the atypical antipsychotic—are very effective in the treatment of psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions, and may help treat the symptoms of reduced motivation or blunted emotional expression. Intensive case management, cognitive-behavioral approaches that teach coping and problem-solving skills, family educational interventions, and vocational rehabilitation can provide additional benefit.
Evidence suggests that early and sustained treatment involving antipsychotic medication improves the long-term course of schizophrenia. Over time, many people with schizophrenia learn successful ways of managing even severe symptoms.
Because schizophrenia sometimes impairs thinking and problem solving, some people may not recognize they are ill and may refuse treatment. Others may stop treatment because of medication side effects, because they feel their medication is no longer working, or because of forgetfulness or disorganized thinking. People with schizophrenia who stop taking prescribed medication are at high risk for a relapse of illness. a good doctor-patient relationship may help people with schizophrenia continue to take medications as prescribed.