Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, debilitating mental illness.It is one of the psychotic mental disorders and is characterized by symptoms of thought, behavior, and social problems.The thought problems associated with schizophrenia are described as psychosis, in that the person's thinking is completely out of touch with reality at times.
For example, the sufferer may hear voices or see people that are in no way present or feel like bugs are crawling on their skin when there are none.The individual with this disorder may also have disorganized speech, disorganized behavior, physically rigid or lax behavior, significantly decreased behaviors or feelings, as well as delusions, which are ideas about themselves or others that have no basis in reality.
How is schizophrenia diagnosed?
There is no one test that definitively indicates that someone has schizophrenia.Therefore, health-care practitioners diagnose this disorder by gathering comprehensive medical, family, and mental-health information.Patients tend to benefit when the professional takes into account their client's entire life and background.
The symptom sufferer might be asked to fill out a self-test that the professional will review if the person being evaluated is able to complete it.The practitioner will also either perform a physical examination or request that the individual's primary-care doctor perform one. The medical examination will usually include lab tests to evaluate the person's general health and to explore whether or not the individual has a medical condition that might produce psychological symptoms.
What are treatments for schizophrenia?
While there are a number of helpful treatments available, medication remains the cornerstone of treatment for people with schizophrenia. These medications are often referred to as antipsychotics since they help decrease the intensity of psychotic symptoms.
Many health-care professionals prescribe one of these medications, sometimes in combination of one or more other psychiatric medications, in order to maximize the benefit for the person with schizophrenia.