The National Institute of Mental Health finds that schizophrenia affects about 1 percent of the American population. Most cases of schizophrenia are treatable, and with appropriate care most people can manage the condition to lead a relatively normal life.
There are misconceptions about schizophrenia, causing people to fear and shun those with the disorder. People with schizophrenia may not seek treatment, due to fear of being judged.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder that affects the brain’s chemistry, often including hallucinations. People with schizophrenia often hear voices in their heads, believe that others can read their thoughts and experience other delusions.
Schizophrenia is a lifelong illness that requires constant care and management. Yet, people can live a successful life with schizophrenia through the proper treatment methods.
Schizoaffective disorder is similar to schizophrenia, characterized by a combination of psychosis (delusions and hallucinations) and an affective mood disorder such as major depression or bipolar disorder. Treatment for schizoaffective disorder combines the treatment for schizophrenia and mood disorders, often including both medication and psychotherapy.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Symptoms for schizophrenia are split up between positive, negative and cognitive symptoms. Positive and negative symptoms are not defined by being “good” or “bad,” but rather by the presence or absence of a particular behavior. Cognitive symptoms affect the brain’s ability to think.
Positive symptoms include:
- Hallucinations: seeing, smelling, touching or hearing things others cannot, most commonly hearing voices
- Delusions: false beliefs or unrealistic thoughts that cannot be proved otherwise, such as a person believing he or she is a famous historical figure
- Thought disorders or a disorganized way of thinking
- Agitated or repetitive movements or entering a catatonic state
Negative symptoms include:
- Not talking, even when being forced to interact
- No pleasure in activities or everyday life
- Not able to begin or sustain any planned activities
- Lack of movement in the face or a monotonous voice
- Inability to perform day-to-day tasks on one’s one
Cognitive symptoms include:
- A lack of ability to comprehend information and make decisions
- Inability to pay attention or focus
- Unable to use information after learning it
Those who exhibit more negative or cognitive symptoms often have a hard time receiving an accurate diagnosis, as they are often diagnosed with other conditions, such as depression.
Treatment for Schizophrenia
The causes of schizophrenia are found to be the genetics and environment of an individual. However, there is no single factor or gene which causes schizophrenia. Treatment for schizophrenia involves therapy and medication, depending on the level of the illness.
Since there is no cure or single method, schizophrenia treatment focuses on soothing the symptoms, often including medication and psychosocial treatments. Sovereign Health is licensed for mental health with an individual mental health program, in addition to separate tracks for addiction and co-occurring disorders. Sovereign Health will conduct a thorough assessment of a patient’s medical history, family history and include a psychiatric evaluation.
From there, Sovereign Health will develop a personalized treatment plan for the patient’s needs. In many cases, a patient can have a co-occurring addiction or disorder that will undermine recovery and lead to relapse if not treated. The patient will learn the skills necessary to continue living a healthy life after leaving the facility. For more information and to speak with a representative about treatment, call our 24/7 helpline today.