Here's everything else you need to know about Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a chronic and serious psychological disorder that affects the way the individual perceives reality. It is characterized by disturbances in thought, emotion, and behavior, as well as hallucinations and delusions that distort the person’s sense of reality. Schizophrenia affects almost 1% of the world's population. In India, around 3 out of 1000, people suffer from the disorder.
The symptoms of schizophrenia are severe enough to cause extreme distress to the individual and their family members. However, once diagnosed, early intervention and an effective schizophrenia treatment plan can help manage symptoms.
Cadabams, India’s largest and most trusted mental health institution offers a wide range of psychotherapeutic, medical, and psychosocial treatments to treat schizophrenia. With over 28+ years of experience, our diverse team of psychiatrists, psychologists, and counselors offer world-class evidence-based treatment to ensure that you and your loved one get the help you need and deserve.
Talk to our psychiatrists and psychologists to draw up a treatment plan that works best for you.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Symptoms of schizophrenia usually appear in adolescence and early adulthood and affect the person throughout their life. These symptoms can be broadly classified into three categories:
Positive symptoms of schizophrenia are called so as they seem to “add” something to the individual’s psyche. Some of these positive symptoms of schizophrenia include:
- Hallucinations: Hallucinations are sensory experiences that seem to be real but are a figment of the mind. Individuals with schizophrenia may see, hear or smell things that other people do not.
- Delusions: Delusions are beliefs that are held by individuals with schizophrenia, though there is evidence to contradict the belief.
- Thought Disorders: Dysfunctions in thought occur in individuals with schizophrenia when they process information or thoughts in abnormal ways that could be incoherent or affect the daily functioning of the person.
- Movement Disorders: Individuals with schizophrenia often experience difficulty in regulating their body movements. This includes symptoms such as agitated movements, twitching, and uncomfortable body postures.
Negative symptoms indicate behaviors that are “taken away” from an individual's psyche. These include:
- Disorganized thinking or speech: Individuals with schizophrenia may speak gibberish where they constantly switch between topics and speak in incomplete sentences.
- Trouble controlling impulsive behaviors and rash decisions
- Difficulty in expressing emotions or feeling a lack of emotions: Individuals with schizophrenia may express inappropriate emotions in situations.
- Lost interest in daily activities: Individuals with schizophrenia may experience difficulty in motivating themselves to complete activities and follow through with plans.
- Social Isolation
Schizophrenia can also affect the thinking and cognitive abilities of the individual. Some of these symptoms that affect cognition:
- Difficulties in processing information and making decisions
- Lack of insight into their symptoms and condition
- Difficulty concentrating or keeping focus
It may be difficult to notice and diagnose early symptoms of schizophrenia in adolescents since they are often overlooked as behavioral changes in adolescence. Some of the most common symptoms of early-onset schizophrenia include:
- Withdrawal from friends and family; staying in isolation
- Trouble focusing or concentrating, and getting easily distracted
- Frequently changing social groups and friends
- Difficulty sleeping, or changes in sleep patterns
- Easily irritable and agitated
- Poor academic performance and experiencing trouble with schoolwork
- Difficulty maintaining personal relationships
Detecting schizophrenia early can help to quickly come up with a treatment plan and manage symptoms efficiently. For that, it is important to consult a mental health professional to get a diagnosis and seek further support.
Causes of Schizophrenia
There are some factors that could increase the risk of an individual developing schizophrenia. Identifying these factors is important to create a personalized and solution-oriented treatment plan.
- Biological Factors: Abnormal functioning of the brain and chemical imbalances may play a role in the development of schizophrenia. Typically the parts of the brain are related to memory, auditory and executive function.
- Genetic Factors: Individuals with a family history of schizophrenia have a greater risk of developing the disorder. The onset of schizophrenia may also occur when genetics interact with the environment. It is important to note that a family history of schizophrenia does not guarantee the onset of the disorder.
- Environmental Factors: Environmental factors may interact with other genetic and biological risk factors that may lead to the onset of the disorder. These include:
Exposure to toxins and harmful chemicals in the fetal stage, or infancy
Suffering from autoimmune diseases or inflammatory disorders
Exposure to psychoactive drugs
Working under high-stress levels for long periods of time
Types of Schizophrenia
Based on symptoms, schizophrenia can be classified into different types. These include:
- Paranoid Schizophrenia: This is the most common type of schizophrenia, characterized by symptoms such as hallucinations, delusion, disorganized speech, lack of emotional expression, and dysfunctions in behavior.
- Catatonic Schizophrenia: This type of schizophrenia shows symptoms where an individual may either be completely immobile or in a hyperactive state.
- Disorganized Schizophrenia: This type of schizophrenia shows symptoms of disorganized speech patterns and behavior.
Diagnosis of Schizophrenia
To determine whether an individual has schizophrenia, there are several diagnostic steps required. With the help of multiple psychometric tests, exams, and physical evaluations, the proper course of schizophrenia treatment can be determined that would be best suited for individual needs. Some of these diagnostic tests include:
- Initial Appointment Check-up: During this appointment, the mental health professional would ask about the medical history of both you and your family. This helps to assess mood patterns, cognitive abilities, academic performance reports, and any previous problems with substance abuse.
- Physical Exams: To assess your physical health, the physician might prescribe blood tests, physical exams, and imaging tests such as Computed Tomography (CT) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
- Psychometric Assessments: These evaluations can help to better understand the intensity, frequency, and duration of symptoms and come up with an appropriate schizophrenia treatment plan.
Symptoms of schizophrenia can occur alongside symptoms of other psychological or physical conditions such as bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, or even brain tumors. To rule out the presence of these conditions, additional tests may be conducted.
Treatment of Schizophrenia
Seeking early schizophrenia treatment can help to manage schizophrenia symptoms more effectively, thus increasing the chances of returning to a normal lifestyle. In terms of schizophrenia treatment in India, Cadabams offers the best services with advanced, evidence-based approaches that help not only ease symptoms of schizophrenia but also improve the quality of life. Some options for the treatment of schizophrenia include:
- Medication Management:
Medication such as antipsychotics can be used to relieve symptoms of psychosis that are experienced with schizophrenia. Based on the symptoms of the individual, different types of antipsychotics are prescribed for the best results. Cadabams' multispecialty team provides the necessary medication treatment required to manage symptoms while increasing the functioning of individuals with schizophrenia.
Psychotherapeutic interventions such as group therapy, family therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy are effective in the treatment of schizophrenia.
Family Therapy: Family support is a crucial aspect of psychotherapy that can help family members be aware of the condition itself. They are educated about the causes, effects, and symptoms in a way that would help their loved ones.
Group Therapy: Group therapy is a safe platform where individuals with schizophrenia can share their experiences with others who are facing similar difficulties. Through their experiences and success stories, it becomes easier for individuals to build hope and motivation for their own recovery.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: CBT is a process through which negative thought patterns are reframed to be more positive. This therapeutic process helps individuals identify their own negative thoughts and manage them effectively with the help of a mental health professional. This can specifically be useful in identifying and managing the delusions of a person with schizophrenia.
- Social Skill Training:
Cadabams provides residents with the required training that would help them understand the importance of interpersonal relationships and the various social skills associated with maintaining them. Social skill training helps the individual identify social cues and respond to them appropriately. This could help in the management of schizophrenia symptoms while also ensuring high levels of functioning in society.
- Vocational Rehabilitation
With assistance from NGOs or social workers, vocational rehabilitation aims to help residents to develop skills that could help them with employment. Through these programs, the individuals learn the skills required to maintain a stable job and earn a livelihood.
Rehabilitation for Schizophrenia
With proper psychosocial treatments, it is possible for individuals to manage their symptoms, regain a sense of independence and build meaningful relationships to live a functional life in society. Therapeutic interventions combined with medication and consistent community support can create a huge difference in the behaviors and lifestyles of individuals with schizophrenia. And where else would this be possible then at rehab?
Rehabilitation provides individuals with a relaxing and stable environment where they can avail mental health services and psychosocial treatments all under one roof. This ensures that you or your loved one have a safe space to heal in the presence of mental health professionals. The bond created between the professional and the resident is crucial to creating a hopeful atmosphere, leading to your path to recovery.
At Cadabams' world-class rehab facility, our multispecialty professionals have carefully curated a program specifically for Schizophrenia. Our treatment processes are further personalized to meet the needs and expectations of you and your loved one. Our various therapy groups also allow the resident to be constantly engaged in their recovery process.
Cadabams' wide range of assessments and evaluations, along with the solution-oriented approach applied to treatment makes it one of the best schizophrenia treatment centers in India. Our clinicians stay with you every step of the way to ensure a comfortable journey to recovery.
Living With Schizophrenia
Living with schizophrenia can be difficult unless the individual learns to recognize and manage symptoms with professional support. Since individuals with schizophrenia often suffer from delusions, it becomes important for their therapist to help them build insight into their own condition.
Treatment at Cadabams does not stop with discharge. We take systematic steps to ensure that you and your loved one are able to manage your symptoms post-care as well.
In order to support the person, family, and friends are also educated about symptoms of schizophrenia so that they can respond appropriately to help them control and regulate their emotions or behaviors. In fact, with proper medical and therapeutic intervention, it is possible for individuals with schizophrenia to live a lifestyle with reduced number of episodes and symptoms. Some steps that can be taken to improve quality of life include:
- Joining a peer support group - This gives individuals a platform to share their experiences and learn from the journey of others.
- Support from friends and family - As family and friends give feedback about the progress of schizophrenia treatment, individuals would be able to better develop their understanding of their condition. This might help them manage their symptoms.
- Social Skills Training - In order to increase chances of stable employment, training programs have also been developed to improve the social skills of individuals with schizophrenia.
- Community Housing Facilities - In case you feel that your symptoms have become unmanageable and require intensive care, it might be a good idea to check yourself into a rehab facility for the best possible care.