Schizophrenic Disorder is a tricky disorder that can make it difficult for a person to distinguish between real and make believe, have a clear mind, relate to others, manage emotions and function in a normal way. People with schizophrenic disorder often have a distorted perception of reality. They may hear or see things that do not exist, speak in confusing way or believe that they will be harmed or feel like they are being watched. This can make it tricky to handle the daily activities and people with schizophrenic disorder may also set themselves aside from the world and be in a state of fear as well as confusion.

Schizophrenic Disorder

Even though Schizophrenic Disorder is unceasing, one can get all the help that he or she needs. With enough medication, therapy and support, Schizophrenic Disorder can be controlled and sufferers will be able to function on their own.

Causes of Schizophrenic Disorder

The exact causes that lead to schizophrenic disorder cannot be determined. This conditions results from an interaction between environmental and genetic factors that are complex.

Genetic Causes of Schizophrenic Disorder

Even though schizophrenic disorder is genetically influenced, it is not determined by the genes. 60 percent of people with schizophrenic disorder have no family members with the disorder. People who are liable to have such genes do not develop the disease.

Environmental Causes of Schizophrenic Disorder

When environmental factors are considered, stress gets the maximum points which are experienced during pregnancy or in later stages. Schizophrenic disorder is triggered when the stress levels are high due to the production of cortisol. The following environmental factors may cause stress induced Schizophrenic disorder:

  • Exposure to viral infections during pregnancy
  • Low level of oxygen during birth
  • Virus exposure during infancy
  • Separation or early parental loss
  • Sexual or physical abuse during early years of childhood.

Schizophrenic Disorder Caused by Abnormal Brain Structure

Schizophrenic disorder can be caused due to the abnormalities in brain chemistry and its structures. This may also affect the reasoning, planning and decision making skills of a person.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenic Disorder

Schizophrenic disorder is often characterized by five signs and symptoms: hallucinations, disorganized behavior, disorganized speech, delusions and negative symptoms. The signs and symptoms that are associated with schizophrenic disorder will dramatically vary in severity and pattern from person to person.

Delusionary Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenic Disorder

A delusion can be termed as an idea that is firmly held by a person even though there is obvious and clear evidence of it being unreal or false. Delusions are commonly seen in schizophrenic disorder and affect most people who are suffering from the ailment.

  • Delusions of Persecution as a Sign and Symptoms of Schizophrenic Disorder: Vague beliefs that show as if someone is trying to get to the sufferers. These are often associated with bizarre plots and ideas.
  • Delusions of Reference: An event that is neutral but is believed to have some personal or special meaning.
  • Delusions of Grandeur as a Sign and Symptoms of Schizophrenic Disorder: Have a belief of being important or a sense of grandeur.
  • Delusions of Control: Have a belief that alien forces are trying to control the actions or have a sense of withdrawal from normal routines.

Hallucinatory Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenic Disorder

Hallucinations are sensations or sounds that seem real even when they exist in the mind of a person. While hallucinations may be linked with any senses, auditory hallucinations are most commonly seen. Visual hallucinations are also quite commonly seen. Research shows that hallucinations that are auditory are often mistaken for the sounds that are heard when one speaks.

Hallucinations that are associated with schizophrenia usually seem meaning to a person who is suffering from it. The voices that are heard will be of someone that the sufferer knows. The voices are abusive, critical or vulgar. These feelings worsen when the person is completely aloof.

Speech Disorganization Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenic Disorder

Some common symptoms associated with schizophrenic disorganized speech include:

  • Loose associations: Shifting rapidly from different topics that do not have any connection can be a sign of Schizophrenic Disorder.
  • Neologisms: Phrases or words that are made up and mean something to the sufferer.
  • Perseveration: Repetition of statements and words over and over again.
  • Clang: Using rhyming words without any associated meaning.

Behavior Disorganization Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenic Disorder

The activities that are directed to specific goals will disrupt schizophrenic disorder and cause impairments in a person's ability to care for him and maintain interaction with others. Disorganized behaviors emerge as:

  • Decline in the ability to perform daily activities
  • Emotional responses that are inappropriate
  • Meaningless or bizarre behaviors
  • Lack of self-consciousness and impulse power.

Negative Symptoms (Absence of Normal Behaviors) and Signs of Schizophrenic Disorder

The negative schizophrenic disorder symptoms are often referred as the absence or lack of normal behaviors that are found in individuals who have a healthy state of mind. Some negative symptoms that are commonly seen include:

  • Lack of emotional expression: Have a face that does not have any expression like flat voice, not maintaining eye contact or have a blank face.
  • Lack of interest or enthusiasm: Motivation problems or inability to self-care.
  • Seeming lack of interest in the world: Having no awareness of the environment or withdrawing from social events.
  • Speech difficulties and abnormalities: Having trouble in making a conversation or speaking in a specific syllable.

Tests to Diagnose Schizophrenic Disorder

Based on medical history, lab tests, psychiatric evaluation and physical exams, schizophrenic disorder is diagnosed.

  • Psychiatric evaluation: A psychiatrist will ask various questions about your symptoms, mental health history of you and your family.
  • Medical history and exam: The doctor will carry out physical examination to inspect or look for issues that are leading to the problem.
  • Laboratory tests: Blood tests, urine tests, brain imaging such as CT scan or MRI may be done to rule out other symptoms.

Mental health professionals use the following criteria to diagnose schizophrenic disorder:

  • The existence of two or more of the following symptoms for at least thirty days:
    1. Negative symptoms such as apathy, emotional flatness, lack of speech.
    2. Disorganized or catatonic behavior
    3. Disorganized speech
    4. Delusions
    5. Hallucinations.
  • Critical problems in functioning that is related to school or work or with people around you.
  • Constant signs of schizophrenic disorder with active symptoms for a time duration of one month or persistent signs for six months.
  • The symptoms are not caused by any other mental health condition, medical history or substance abuse.

Treatment for Schizophrenic Disorder

Schizophrenic disorder needs treatment for an entire lifetime even after the symptoms have improved. Psychosocial therapy and medication can also help in managing the symptoms. When the patient needs severe treatment, he or she may be hospitalized to give proper care, treatment and keep them secure.

Medications to Treat Schizophrenic Disorder

Treatment for schizophrenic disorder may need medications. As there are associated side effects, most people do not opt to take them. Antipsychotic medications are often used for treating schizophrenic disorder. Lorazepam or Ativan may be prescribed to calm an agitated mind.

Psychosocial Interventions to treat Schizophrenic Disorder

The following psychosocial interventions may be provided along with the medications:

  • Individual Therapy for Schizophrenic Disorder: Coping with the stress and identification of signs that can help in managing the symptoms of schizophrenic disorder.
  • Social Skills Training for Schizophrenic Disorder: Focuses on improving social interactions and skills that are related to social activities.
  • Family Therapy for Schizophrenic Disorder: Education and support to families who have people suffering from schizophrenic disorder.
  • Supported Employment and Vocational Rehabilitation for Schizophrenic Disorder: This is provided for granting help in finding jobs.

Social Security Disability Benefits for Schizophrenic Disorder

To identify the medical conditions, Social security has provided impairment listings that can help in qualifying for disability for schizophrenic disorder. In order to get the disability benefits that is offered for individuals with schizophrenic disorder, he or she must suffer from:

  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Catatonic behavior or being disorganized
  • Illogical or incoherent speech
  • Social withdrawal or lack of interaction.

Apart from all these, the individual must have medical records that have resulted in daily activity limitations due to symptoms of schizophrenic disorder.

  • Engaging in daily activities
  • Social functioning
  • Focusing on a task
  • Have lengthy episodes of symptoms that are worsening.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: June 30, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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