Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects the thinking mechanism, behaviors, and feelings of an individual. Individuals suffering from schizophrenia might appear as if they lack touch with reality. This results in considerable distress for the person, their friends, and their families (McCutcheon 202). When the symptoms of schizophrenia are not treated, they can be continual and disabling. Nonetheless, there are efficient medications for people suffering from this disease (McCutcheon 202). Therefore, when treatment is offered in a timely, coordinated, and sustained manner, it can help affected individuals to involve themselves in work, school activities, living independently, and personal relationships.
Prevalence of Schizophrenia
The correct estimations prevalence of schizophrenia is hard to achieve because of medical and methodological factors. These comprise different mechanisms for identifying diagnoses, disease overlap with other disorders, and the complication of diagnosis of schizophrenia (Charlson 1197). With these complications, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are normally put together in prevalence estimation studies (Charlson 1197). Some of the data collected reveal that medical records, interviews of clinical diagnosis, and house-based survey samples estimates the popularity of schizophrenia as well as other associated medical disorders in the U.S. range between 0.20% to 0.70% (Charlson 1198). Additionally, the international estimate of schizophrenia prevalence among non-institutionalized people is 0.33% to 0.75% (Charlson 1198). Therefore, there is a high prevalence of schizophrenia among non-institutionalized people in the U.S.
Diagnosis of schizophrenia normally occurs during the late teen years to the early thirties. Many times the disease is diagnosed early in men during late adolescence compared to females which mostly happens in their early twenties (Ursini 793). Schizophrenia diagnosis follows after the episode of psychosis when the person displays the first signs and symptoms of the disease (Ursini 793). Change in thinking behaviors, social functioning, and mood starts before the initial episode of psychosis which is more prevalent during the mid-adolescent stages (Ursini 793). Therefore, there is a high probability of schizophrenia occurring in little children but it is rare for it to happen before late adolescence.
Schizophrenia symptoms fall into three main categories; cognitive symptoms, negative symptoms, and psychotic symptoms. Cognitive symptoms consist of the development of problems with inattentiveness, memory, and concentration (Ursini 794). For the majority of the individuals, schizophrenia cognitive symptoms are slight, while for other people they present themselves as more prominent and interfere with activities such as remembrance of appointments, learning of new things, and following conversations appropriately (Ursini 794). Specifically, people with schizophrenia usually experience difficulties when focusing or paying attention, when trying to use the information immediately after learning it, and trouble when processing information to make decisions.
In a more specific way, persons with schizophrenia experience thought disorders that comprise disordered speech and unusual thinking. They also experience delusions which are firmly held beliefs other people are out to get them or developing belief that the radio and the television are broadcasting messages that need to be responded to (Ursini 796). Finally, these people also have hallucinations such as seeing things or hearing voices that do not exist.
Presentation of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia presents itself in various forms with a different range of problems associated with thinking (cognition), emotions, and behaviors. For instance, a patient might experience delusions; these are fake beliefs that are not based on reality (Lampropoulos 1541). For instance, patients might think that someone wants to harass or harm them when it is not true. Schizophrenia also presents itself in form of disorganized thinking when speaking (Lampropoulos 1543). Speech is the best method where disorganized thinking can be portrayed. Therefore, the patient responds to questions partially or gives an unrelated response. The patient might also show signs of abnormal motor behavior (Lampropoulos 1543). This can be portrayed in various ways such as childish stupidity to irregular agitation. Finally, schizophrenia can be presented in a person through negative symptoms (Lampropoulos 1544). This includes the inability to function appropriately such as neglecting personal hygiene.
Manifestation of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia can be manifested in two ways; positively or negatively. Positive symptoms are the major contributors to increased levels of functionality and strength to most patients with schizophrenia (Lampropoulos 1546). Positive symptoms consist of repetitive movements that are difficult to control, delusions, and hallucinations (Lampropoulos 1546). On the contrary, negative symptoms are the major contributors to a decreased level of functionality and wasting away of the minds of most schizophrenia patients. They comprise withdrawal from relationships and social situations, apathy, and the inability to show emotions (Lampropoulos 1546). There are also cognitive symptoms that consist of having trouble maintaining focus and attention, problems with memory, and having disorganized thoughts (Lampropoulos 1546). Therefore, these symptoms involve anything associated with the thoughts of the patient.
Therapies and Treatment of Schizophrenia
Treatments of schizophrenia comprise antipsychotic medications, assertive community treatment, coordinated specialty care, family education and support, and psychosocial treatments. However, the exact cause of schizophrenia has not yet been understood. Therefore, the current medications focus only on managing the symptoms of the disease and solving problems associated with the daily functioning of the person.
Antipsychotic treatments help decrease the frequency and intensity of psychotic symptoms. Their consumptions are either in liquid or pill form daily. There are other types of antipsychotic medications that are administered in form of injections once or twice a month. Many people find them more convenient compared to daily oral doses. However, patients who fail to improve their condition after taking standard antipsychotic treatments are usually given clozapine. Individuals taking clozapine treatment are normally required to undergo a routine blood test. This helps in detecting the presence of any dangerous effect that might occur.
Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) is specifically given to people with schizophrenia and at a higher risk of homelessness or repeated hospitalization. Major ACT elements consist of a multidisciplinary team, comprising of a medication prescriber, a shared caseload among team members, provision of direct service by team members, a higher patient contact frequency, decreased ratio of patient to staff, and outreach to patients in the community (Grover 350). Therefore, ACT decreases homelessness and hospitalization among people with schizophrenia.
There are also psychosocial treatments that are very efficient for teaching and enhancing skills to cope and address daily schizophrenia challenges. These treatments are very important because they help people achieve their goals in life such as the formation of relationships, working together, or attending school (Grover 351). Finally, there is family education and support which are programs for educating family members, friends, and other people about the symptoms and treatment of schizophrenia.
Conclusively, this paper has discussed the prevalence of schizophrenia, the disease process, its presentation, and its treatment therapies. It is evident from the paper that the prevalence of schizophrenia in the U.S. ranges from 0.20% to 0.70%. Additionally, the disease mostly starts to manifest itself in people in their late teens or early thirties. The paper has further discussed various ways that schizophrenia manifests itself such as the development of problems with thinking, emotions, and behaviors. Finally, various treatment methods for schizophrenia have been identified such as antipsychotic medications, and assertive community treatment among others. Therefore, understanding the causes of schizophrenia, its prevalence, and its presentation help one identify its treatment methods.
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Grover, Sandeep, et al. “Effectiveness of Electroconvulsive Therapy in Patients with Treatment-Resistant Schizophrenia: A Retrospective Study.” Psychiatry Research vol.24, no.9, 2017 pp. 349-353.
Lampropoulos, et al. “Analyzing the Presentation and the Stigma of Schizophrenia in French Newspapers.” Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology vol.52, no.12, 2017, pp. 1541-1547.
McCutcheon, et al. “Schizophrenia—an Overview.” JAMA Psychiatry vol.77, no.2, 2020, pp. 201-210.
Ursini, Gianluca, et al. “Convergence of Placenta Biology and Genetic Risk for Schizophrenia.” Nature Medicine vol.24, no.6, 2018, pp. 792-801.