Factors responsible for Schizophrenia and steps to cure it Information about Psychology and Schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder involving a distorted or abnormal perception of reality. These distortions could involve any of the five senses but are most often auditory hallucinations, paranoia, disorganized speech and thinking, or bizarre delusions. The disorder impairs cognition and in turn impacts emotional or behavioral problems. It can coincide with anxiety disorders and major depression.
Patients often have a difficulty telling inner speech from what is actually said to them, and have impaired reasoning about social situations.
At present, there is no clinical test for schizophrenia. Diagnoses are usually from reported experiences of the patient. However, increased dopamine activity in the brain is usually found. Imaging scans have also been able to find differences in the brains of schizophrenic people, which do not indicate the disease itself, but the memory and problem-solving issues associated with it.
Patients sometimes think they are being controlled, their thoughts are being transmitted to other people, or that thoughts are inserted or withdrawn from their minds. The delusions can be different from those described.
The causes of schizophrenia could be both genetic and environmental, but the specific combination of factors is not yet known.
1. Genetic factors would involve more than one type of gene working in tandem to cause the problem, but these same genes may develop bipolar disorder or another problem instead. Since known patients seem to have fewer children than average, it is not known how the condition could continue to exist if it has a strong genetic component.
2. The early development of the brain while in the womb is considered a possible factor. Prenatal exposure to infections can increase the risk of developing schizophrenia later in life.
3. Living in an urban setting is a risk factor, as is poverty, poor housing conditions, or migration due to racism or family dysfunction.
4. A childhood of trauma or abuse may be a factor, but parenting style is not the definite cause.
5. Drug abuse is not a proven cause, but may be related.
Currently, there is no existing cure for schizophrenia, but there are anti psychotic medications with varied effects. Some cases will resist more than one medication.
1. Typical anti psychotics can reduce psychosis and take 7 to 14 days to start working.2. Atypical anti psychotics are now preferred for initial treatment but can induce weight gain.
Both types of medication are considered equally effective. The former type can, in rare cases, lead to potentially fatal neurological problems, and it is not yet known if the latter type does the same.
Two countries, the United States and Australia, are legally allowed to administer medications to uncooperative patients who are otherwise stable and living within the community.
Some patients may in the long term do better by not taking anti psychotics.
There are also therapies to alleviate symptoms which may have a greater appeal than medications and their side-effects.
1. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, available since the mid 1990s, can increase self-esteem and insight. Brain scans have shown significant improvements in cognition when patients use this therapy.
2. Family therapy is used to help patients socialize better in the context of a family system. The burden on the family is recognized.
3. Creative therapies such as music therapy have some benefit.
4. The Soteria method is a community therapy that creates a stable, quiet space for people recovering from mental crises, with minimal medication. It is just as effective as full medication in some cases.
5. Electro convulsive Therapy still exists for patients who do not respond to other treatments, but it is not generally recommended.
In addition to these methods, the Hearing Voices and Paranoia networks provide a self-help approach outside the mainstream medical model. As large support groups, they attempt to encourage responsibility and a positive self-image. Hospitals are increasingly working with these groups to help patients integrate back into society.