Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects the patient’s ability to differentiate what is real from what is imaginary, also interfering with the ability to have normal or adequate emotional responses, to think and organize ideas clearly, and to behave appropriately. in social settings. It is a condition that usually manifests itself during adolescence or early adulthood, with symptoms that can appear over the years or suddenly.
It is a highly complex psychiatric condition whose causes are still unclear today. However, at FastlyHealwe address this issue and explain the types, symptoms and treatment of schizophrenia , as well as the mechanisms used for its diagnosis.
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What are the causes of this condition?
Schizophrenia is a condition that rarely manifests itself in childhood, but if it does, the symptoms begin to be observed after 5 years of age. Most patients begin to show signs during adolescence or young adulthood , with symptoms that show the lack of abilities to distinguish between reality and the imaginary, delusions, alterations in social behavior, inappropriate handling of emotions and problems to think clearly and make decisions.
The causes of schizophrenia , unfortunately, are not exactly known, although in the medical field there are various hypotheses that point to different possible triggers, including:
- Genetic predisposition: Although it is not known how it could be transmitted, it has been observed that patients with a family history are more likely to suffer from this condition. Despite this, it is not a determining factor and it is not fulfilled in all cases, there are healthy people with a history of schizophrenia in their family, and patients with this disease who do not have relatives who have had it.
- Alterations in brain development : the use of various technologies such as neuroimaging or different types of tomography have revealed that patients with this condition have different functioning in certain brain regions compared to healthy people. Studies indicate that these alterations in brain development can manifest themselves during the development of the embryo in the womb.
- Alterations in the functioning of neurotransmitters : Studies have also revealed that neurotransmitters, responsible for proper neuronal communication, may not function properly in patients with schizophrenia.
- Problems during pregnancy : This disease has been linked to certain infections during pregnancy that can affect normal brain development, as well as complications during childbirth that can influence a person’s behavior later, such as brain trauma.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
The symptoms of schizophrenia can appear progressively and over the years or appear suddenly. Detecting this condition is not simple because not all patients present the same signs, and depending on the type of schizophrenia they have, they may vary.
Additionally, there is an important group of symptoms that can only be perceived by the patient and that cannot be medically verified, while others are typical of various mental disorders and not only of this condition. In general, the most common symptoms of schizophrenia are:
- Initially, there may be problems that seem common such as irritability and excessive tension, problems concentrating properly and also sleeping.
- Once the disease progresses, the patient may show different signs, one of the clearest being hallucinations , hearing or seeing things or people that do not exist.
- This can be followed by delusions , firmly believing in things that are not real, for example that everyone in your family hates you, that all your friends speak badly behind your back, etc.
- Loose associations appear , many times the thoughts they manifest are unrelated to each other, in language it is not congruent and the way of expressing ideas is not considered entirely normal.
- Emotions deteriorate and the person begins to show little interest in his environment or in the feelings of those around him.
- To this can be added the problems of concentration and isolation , in which the patient only closes in on himself and in what he is living.
The same patient may have only a couple of symptoms, for example delusions and hallucinations, or show different signs. For this reason, in order to define the existence of the disease and the type of patient with whom it is treated, the intensity of the symptoms is assessed thanks to various questionnaires and psychiatric scales in order to offer the best possible treatment.
Diagnosis of the disease
One aspect that often complicates the detection of this condition is that there is no definitive test to diagnose schizophrenia. The assessment must be carried out by a psychiatrist through a rigorous study of the patient’s behavior and symptoms, as well as interviews with family members or people who are in the close environment of the patient.
Before offering a definitive diagnosis of this condition, the psychiatrist will ask about the duration of the symptoms, will evaluate the changes that the condition has produced in their social or work capacities, will investigate about the genetic and family history, among other aspects. In parallel, various conditions that can produce similar symptoms in the person must be ruled out, therefore:
- Blood tests are done to rule out psychotropic abuse or to detect the presence of signs that may indicate other conditions.
- CT scans of the brain or MRIs are done to rule out conditions such as brain tumors or epilepsy.
- The patient is evaluated to rule out any possible endocrine or neurological disease that could lead to one or more of these symptoms.
Treatment of schizophrenia
Faced with a severe and important schizophrenia crisis, the first step that can be recommended is to temporarily admit the patient to a specialized center for both their safety and that of the environment. This step is not always necessary, but it is recommended in certain cases, for example in violent crises, suicidal attacks, hallucinations that put the patient’s health at risk, etc.
The treatment of schizophrenia applied commonly are:
Antipsychotics are usually the most common and effective treatment for this condition. There are many types, they help correct problems that may exist with neurotransmitters and balance brain chemicals to allow the patient to live as normally as possible. Although effective, this medication has side effects such as weight gain, feelings of nervousness, vertigo, drowsiness, and tremors.
The medication can be adjusted according to the needs of each patient, however in most cases those who suffer from schizophrenia will have to take it for life. If the antipsychotics do not work as expected, the psychiatrist will choose another type of medication.
In this type of therapy, the aim is to help the patient to improve their social skills, their integration into the work or social world, and to adequately channel their emotions. Psychotherapy is very useful in these cases, being an important complement for the treatment of this condition.
Going to a psychiatrist at the slightest suspicion of schizophrenia is very important to ensure the well-being of the patient and offer appropriate treatment for their condition.
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Schizophrenia: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Mental Disorders .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.