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Diagnosis and Treatment of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental condition that affects the ability of a person to think, feel, and behave in a transparent way. People who have schizophrenia seem to have lost touch with reality. Various factors are related to the risk of schizophrenia development, including genes and environment as well as different brain chemistry and structure. The cause of schizophrenia is still unknown, and therefore, its treatment focuses on easing the symptoms of the disease.

The diagnosis of schizophrenia involves the ruling out of the other mental health disorders to determine that the symptoms are not a result of medication, illnesses, or drug abuse. Through a physical examination, a physician rules out other problems that are likely to have caused the symptoms to ensure that they are not as a result of any related complication. Tests and screening are also used to diagnose the possibility of schizophrenia. Testing helps in ruling out conditions that have similar symptoms while screening is done to rule out the possibility of alcohol or drug in the contribution of the symptoms. To diagnose schizophrenia, a psychiatric evaluation can also be done to check the mental status. that is done through the observation of a patients’ appearance and as well as asking about their thoughts, moods, hallucinations, the potential for violence and suicide and substance use.

One way of easing the symptoms of schizophrenia is antipsychotic medication, which is taken in tablet or liquid form on a daily basis. The antipsychotic medication works in reducing the imbalances causing schizophrenia and decreases the likelihood of a relapse. Some side effects are experienced once a patient starts this medication, but they go away after some time. The two major types of antipsychotic medication include typical and atypical antipsychotic. The typical antipsychotic treatment is known to effectively control the positive symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and confusion of schizophrenia. On the other hand, atypical antipsychotic medication is known to treat positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia. The atypical antipsychotic treatment of schizophrenia often has fewer side effects.

Psychosocial treatments are also used to ease the symptoms of schizophrenia. A patient continues with medication with addition of psychological and psychosocial interventions. The psychosocial interventions include individual therapy, which helps in normalizing the though patterns of a patient. An individual therapy also helps a patient cope with stress while identifying early signs of relapse, which help them manage the illness. Social skill training is another form of psycho social treatment which aims at improving the communication and social interactions as well as improving the patient’s ability to participate in their daily activities. Family therapy is another form of psycho social treatment of schizophrenia that provides education and support to those families dealing with a schizophrenic patient on how to best handle them.

Finally, a schizophrenic patient can as well be hospitalized in cases of severe symptoms to ensure safety, adequate sleep, as well as proper nutrition, which contribute to the healing process. Electroconvulsive therapy is also considered to the schizophrenic adults who do not respond to drug treatment.

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