Millions of individuals and families are affected by the effects of schizophrenia. Many experience severe physical and emotional distress if their disorder goes undiagnosed or untreated. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Schizophrenia is one of the top 15 leading causes of disability worldwide.” Early intervention and treatment can prevent more severe side effects and decrease risks. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention uses personalized treatments and therapy to help clients manage schizophrenia and co-occurring mental health disorders.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that often starts in young adulthood. According to the previously mentioned article by NIMH, “Symptoms of schizophrenia include psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorder (unusual ways of thinking), as well as reduced expression of emotions, reduced motivation to accomplish goals, difficulty in social relationships, motor impairment, and cognitive impairment.” Individuals with schizophrenia typically experience the following:
- Perception issues
- Difficulty maintaining social connections
- Disordered thinking and self-expression
- Inappropriate emotional responses
The symptoms and side effects of schizophrenia differ significantly between different individuals. In many cases, the person’s ability to cope with stress will impact the severity of their symptoms. Prescription medication, psychotherapy, and other forms of treatment provide essential emotional stability and relief.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
The disorder has no cure. However, many possible treatments exist that can ensure people have the skills they need to cope with or manage the side effects and symptoms. The exact cause of the disorder is unknown, and many potential factors play a role in the development of schizophrenia, including:
- Brain chemistry
- Family mental health and medical history
Environmental factors may also impact how schizophrenia manifests in specific individuals.
Typical Signs of Schizophrenia
The signs of schizophrenia and their severity depend on many factors, including age and environment. Individuals in treatment programs often have lower stress levels which can decrease symptoms. According to MedlinePlus, “There are three types of symptoms:
- Psychotic symptoms distort a person’s thinking. These include hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that are not there), delusions (beliefs that are not true), trouble organizing thoughts, and strange movements.
- ‘Negative’ symptoms make it difficult to show emotions and to function normally. A person may seem depressed and withdrawn.
- Cognitive symptoms affect the thought process. These include trouble using information, making decisions, and paying attention.”
Every case is unique. However, some of the signs of schizophrenia include the following:
- Social isolation
- Disordered and compulsive behaviors
- Unusual aggression and hostility
- Mental confusion
- Religious delusions
- Irrational beliefs
- Dissociative events
- Uncharacteristic paranoia, fear, and anxiety
- Memory problems or amnesia
- Unexplained fatigue
- Coordination issues
Schizophrenia can affect behaviors, thoughts, and beliefs to the point where the individual affected cannot function from day to day without assistance. Professional treatment provides essential coping tools and access to vital support services.
Treatment and Therapy Options
Schizophrenia is best treated using a holistic approach that addresses all current, underlying, and potential issues that might impact a client’s mental health. According to Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, “Health professionals should work in partnership with patients and their family carers, offering treatment, education, support, and psychosocial care in an atmosphere of hope and optimism.”
Recovery requires professional mental health care and aftercare support. The most effective treatment programs for schizophrenia offer a combination of the following:
- Antipsychotic medications
- Mental health education
- Family therapy
- Development of social skills
- Peer and community support
Relapse is a common experience for individuals with schizophrenia. After achieving emotional stability, they may no longer feel a need to manage their medication or maintain certain social skills. If they stop taking medication or fail to maintain positive mental health, the symptoms of schizophrenia will return. Practicing regular self-care and relying on your support system or other resources can prevent relapse.
How to Get Help for Yourself or a Loved One
Schizophrenia can be successfully managed using therapy and other treatment methods. However, the chronic nature of the disorder makes it essential that clients have a strong support system to help them get access to treatment and maintain positive routines during ongoing recovery. If you have a loved one who shows signs of schizophrenia, you can provide them with resources and guide them to essential support services like the ones offered by Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention. You can also do the following:
- Actively listen to their concerns and needs
- Provide practical support like transportation to appointments
- Engage in their recovery by attending support groups or family therapy
- Help them maintain accountability for lifestyle changes
Your loved one can thrive and grow during treatment, improving their quality of life and ensuring they have the skills to cope with daily stressors. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention provides multiple levels of care and long-term support for individuals recovering from schizophrenia and other mental health issues.
Individuals with schizophrenia can struggle to cope with the symptoms of the disorder. Professional mental health treatment programs and prescription medication can help you manage your condition. Alter San Diego Crisis Intervention uses evidence-based methods to ensure clients have access to the tools they need to improve their quality of life and ability to function with schizophrenia. Our dedicated care team will work with you to provide essential support services, including case management and aftercare planning. You do not have to manage your condition on your own. We can ensure you have the resources and skills to heal and recover from schizophrenia and co-occurring mental health issues. To learn more about our services, call us today at (866) 986-1481.