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Diseases & Conditions

Schizophrenia

SchizophreniaCausesMedicationsPreventionRisk FactorsSymptomsTreatmentTypes

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is also known as a split personality disorder. This is a chronic and debilitating illness that affects approximately one percent of the population. This means that there are more than two million people who suffer from Schizophrenia in the US alone.

Causes of Schizophrenia

Very often people are under the impression that schizophrenia is a hereditary disease that is passed on by one generation to the other. However, this is not true since there is no evidence that suggests schizophrenia is transmitted hereditarily. In fact, there is no one cause for schizophrenia. According to medical experts, schizophrenia is a result of a complex group of genetic, psychological and environmental factors. The environment around a person plays a very important role in the development of this illness. Some of the causes of split personality disorder include:

  • Early loss of a parent
  • Parental poverty
  • Difficult life situations during childhood
  • Emotional, sexual or physical abuse
  • Witnessing parental violence
  • Insecure attachment
  • Physical and emotional neglect

Medication for Schizophrenia

There are, in fact a variety of treatments for schizophrenia. However, medication is a very effective method for treating people with schizophrenia. These antipsychotic medications help in reducing the intensity of the psychotic symptoms. Most medical professionals prescribe these medications either singly or as a combination with other psychiatric medications. Some of the medications that are quite effective against split personality disorder are:

  • Zyprexa or generic olanzapine
  • Risperdal or generic risperidone
  • Seroquel or generic quetiapine
  • Geodon or generic ziprasidone
  • Abilify or generic aripiprazole
  • Invega or generic paliperidone
  • Saphis or generic asenapine

These medications belong to the newer generation of antipsychotic drugs and are known to work quickly and efficiently when compared to a large number of psychiatric medications. Apart from these medications there are a few medications that help in stabilizing mood swings in schizophrenic patients. These include:

  • Lithobid or generic Lithium
  • Depakote or generic divalproex
  • Lamictal or generic carbamazepine or lamotrigine

Likewise, there are quite a few antidepressant drugs also that are used for schizophrenic patients. These include:

  • Prozac or generic fluoxetine
  • Zoloft or generic sertraline
  • Paxil or generic paroxetine
  • Effexor or generic venlafaxine

Prevention of Schizophrenia

Since the causes of schizophrenia are largely unknown, there are no guidelines as far as the prevention of this disease is concerned. However, there are quite a few studies that indicate that early and aggressive treatment gives better results. There are a few studies which have found that omega-3 fatty acids may be helpful in delaying the progression into schizophrenia.

Risk Factors for Schizophrenia

The risk factors contributing to split personality disorder can be categorized into two. Namely: Causal and natural risk factors. Some of the causal risk factors include:

  • Shyness
  • Unsociability
  • Emotional sensitivity
  • Drug abuse
  • Family History of schizophrenia

There are additional factors like lack of emotion or being lonely that may contribute to the risk of developing schizophrenia. It is important to identify the causes as well as the possible risk factors so that the disease can be identified properly. Further, it also helps in developing a better treatment plan.

Schizophrenia Symptoms

Some of the symptoms of positive and overtly psychotic schizophrenia include:

  • Delusions or beliefs that have no significance to reality
  • Seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling and tasting things that do not have any significance to reality or having hallucinations.
  • Disorganized behavior
  • Disorganized speech
  • Catatonic behavior

Some of the negative and less overt psychotic schizophrenia include:

  • Lack of speech
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inhibition of facial expressions

Treatment for Schizophrenia

Since the causes of schizophrenia remain largely unknown, the treatments are mostly focused on eliminating the symptoms of this illness. Some of the treatment methods include antipsychotic medications as well as psychosocial treatments. Antipsychotic medications have been around for a very long time, in fact from the mid 1950’s. These medications were commonly used until the 1990’s when new antipsychotic medications were developed and were known as the second generation of antipsychotics. These medications treat different psychotic symptoms, breaks with reality and hallucinations. Over a period of time there were other medications were also developed to treat this illness. These medications should be taken as per your doctor’s instructions and should be stopped accordingly as well.

Types of Schizophrenia

Essentially there five different types of Schizophrenia, each depending upon the kind of symptoms they display at the time of determining the disease. These include:

  • Paranoid schizophrenia
  • Disorganized schizophrenia
  • Catatonic schizophrenia
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia
  • Residual Schizophrenia