Schizophrenia is a psychiatric disorder that distorts an individual's behaviors, movements, perception of reality and thoughts, and disrupts his relationships with his family and social environment. In schizophrenia, which is a serious and chronic disease, patients tend to lose their connection with reality, exhibit different behaviors, believe in unreal events and change their personalities. It is a lifelong disease and therefore requires constant treatment. With the right treatment, the disease can be brought under control in patients with schizophrenia. In this way, patients can continue their lives as healthy individuals and be successful in their social relations and business life.
The treatment process requires great care and sensitivity as it can trigger the recurrence of the disease in the slightest neglect. For this reason, people whose disease is under control should continue to undergo regular psychiatric examinations. What is schizophrenia? What are the symptoms of schizophrenia? What are the causes of schizophrenia? How is schizophrenia diagnosed? How is schizophrenia treated? The answers to your questions are in the details of the news…
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a serious brain disease that causes patients to be unable to distinguish between real and unrealistic phenomena, preventing healthy flow of thought, emotion control, and normal behavior. It often develops slowly. Early diagnosis and treatment is very important, it provides control of the disease before serious complications develop. The illness generally consists of distorted thoughts, hallucinations, fear, and paranoia. Although the stories of the media, television series and movies introduce schizophrenia patients in the society in an aggressive and dangerous and similar way, this is not the case. Patients with schizophrenia do not have a split or multiple personality situation, most of the patients do not have a tendency to violence, and if these patients are supported with treatment, they can continue their lives in the community, with their friends, families or alone.
Schizophrenia is a disease with exacerbation and remission periods, and it creates much more negativity regarding the professional and social lives of patients compared to many other psychiatric diseases. In the exacerbation periods of the disease, it is obvious that the real and unreal elements cannot be distinguished from each other. This condition is called psychosis, and schizophrenia is one of the most severe psychotic illnesses. The severity of the symptoms varies according to the person and the severity of the disease. Factors such as not using therapeutic drugs, alcohol or substance use, severe stress are factors that increase the severity of the disease.
What are the Symptoms of Schizophrenia?
As with many diseases, symptoms are milder in the initial period of the disease in schizophrenia, and in this period, only the relatives of the patients can notice that something is not right. Symptoms of the disease include different problems with emotion, thinking, and behavior. Generally, delusions, hallucinations and problems such as disorganized speech and inability to express oneself are common. Apart from this, the symptoms of schizophrenia are:
- There is a situation of believing in unreal events in patients with schizophrenia. These can be described as dreams or delusions. For example, the patient may have unrealistic thoughts or doubts that someone is obsessively in love with him, hurt or harassed, followed by others, or that a major disaster is about to occur.
- Hallucinations, such as seeing or hearing things that are not real, are common in schizophrenia. These feel completely real by people with schizophrenia and are equivalent to the power of a normal experience. Hallucinations can occur in any sensation, but usually in the form of hearing.
- Disorganized thinking and speech is another common symptom of schizophrenia. Patients cannot express themselves while speaking, their answers to questions may be partially or completely unrelated to the question, and use meaningless words and meaningless sentences while speaking.
- Irregular motor movements and behaviors can be seen in patients with schizophrenia. Examples include childlike movements, agitation, difficulty focusing on the goal, unnecessary and exaggerated movements, resistance to instructions, resistance to instructions, inappropriate and awkward posture.
Schizophrenia symptoms There are many more examples that can be given as an answer to the question of how to understand. In addition to the above symptoms, neglect of personal hygiene, apathy towards important events, reduced ability to work and productivity, avoiding eye contact, decreased facial expressions and mimiciness, suspicion towards family and relatives, suddenly unreasonable emotionality and depression, Many different negative symptoms such as loss of interest towards hobbies, lack of pleasure towards hobbies, isolation from social environments can be observed. While some of the symptoms mentioned are persistent in the patient, some may occur intermittently.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
It has not been determined exactly what causes schizophrenia. However, it is known that disorders in the chemical structure of the brain, genetic and environmental factors play a role in the development of the disease. People with a family history of schizophrenia or a different psychotic illness are more likely to develop this illness. In neuroimaging studies conducted to investigate the cause of the disease, it was concluded that the brain and central nervous system structures of schizophrenia patients were different from healthy individuals. It is thought that problems related to neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate are caused by disorders caused by brain chemistry. Although the scientific world has not reached a consensus on whether these differences in the nervous system of patients with schizophrenia are significant or not, it is thought that schizophrenia is a brain disease and research on the subject continues at full speed.
How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?
The diagnosis of schizophrenia is usually made by bringing patients whose problems are noticed by their relatives to psychiatry clinics. Since there may be many psychiatric illnesses with symptoms similar to schizophrenia, experts determine that the disease is schizophrenia with the help of schizophrenia symptoms test, examination and diagnostic tests. Since the symptoms seen in the disease may also occur due to substance abuse, alcohol use and the side effects of some drugs, it should be investigated whether the problems are caused by such a reason. Physical examination and tests, psychiatric evaluation tests, blood tests and medical imaging methods can be applied to the patients to clarify the diagnosis. As a result of all these practices, the treatment process is planned for individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, taking into account the severity of the disease.
How to Treat Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic disease and although the symptoms are largely eliminated with the help of medications, it requires lifelong treatment. Antispsychotic drugs are the cornerstone of treatment. These drugs are thought to reduce symptoms by acting on the neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain. The main purpose of drug treatment is to eliminate the symptoms caused by the disease and to ensure that individuals live a close life to socially, psychologically and physiologically healthy individuals. Another aim is to continue the treatment with the lowest possible drug dose, as the treatment for schizophrenia will last for life. The patient can be followed up regularly by psychiatrists and the type, dose and frequency of use of the drug can be changed when necessary. Combinations with antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can be made. It may take 3-4 weeks before the effects of such drugs are fully seen. The drugs used in the treatment are generally not desired to be used by the patients because they have serious side effects. At this point, considering the patient's willingness to cooperate in treatment, it may be preferred to administer medication by injection method, if necessary, in patients who are resistant to not taking medication. It is possible to ensure a healthy life for patients with the help of additional treatments such as individual therapies, family therapies, social skills training and occupational rehabilitation, in addition to drug therapy.
With the right treatment and continuous follow-up, schizophrenia patients can lead a successful and productive life just like normal and healthy individuals. For this reason, if you or a relative has a schizophrenia disease, you can apply to a psychiatry clinic in a health institution to have your regular check-ups, and you can lead a healthy life by controlling the disease.