Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental and emotional condition that is characterised by a heavily distorted thought process as well as hallucinations and even extreme fear that borders on paranoia. Let us find out more about this debilitating disease:
Genetic factors play an important role in the development of schizophrenia.
Possible environmental factors include obstetric complications, the mother's exposure to influenza during pregnancy or starvation. It has also been suggested that stress, trauma even migration can lead to the emergence of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia appears to be a neurodevelopmental disorder. That is the changes that cause the illness have been occurring from the earliest stages of development even in utero and may continue to influence the development of the brain over the first 25 years of life.
This disease has a variety of symptoms include cognitive and emotional ones that can vary in the degree and severity. One of the most common symptoms includes hallucinations and delusions where the patient may end up imagining things that do not really exist. The patient may also be gripped by sudden and crippling fear like paranoia, which can be debilitating as far as everyday functioning of the person goes. The symptoms can also interfere with the way a person deals with situations and life skills on a cognitive basis. Withdrawal and hopelessness are also a part of this disease.
Schizophrenic disorder spectrum recognises a group of symptoms which can turn into full-fledged ailments. The various kinds of schizophrenia under this wide umbrella include catatonic, disorganised, paranoid, residual and undifferentiated. Paranoid schizophrenia is when a person has unreasonable fears and doubts regarding people and situations around him or her. Usually, doctors refer to this state as schizophrenia with paranoia. Patients of disorganised schizophrenia may not have delusions and hallucinations but may display instances of incoherent speech and thinking. Further, when a patient is suffering from catatonic schizophrenia, the main symptoms include a negative emotional stance. This patient will end up withdrawing as far as socialising and family go, and they may also turn mute. Residual schizophrenia refers to a state where the patient has lost all interest and motivation in life, yet does not suffer from delusions and hallucinations. Finally, schizophrenic disorder is characterised by all the major symptoms of this disorder along with a severe mood disorder.
The earliest signs and symptoms must be referred to a psychiatrist. The treatment involves the management of the case of an individual basis along with psychological rehabilitation programs and the inclusion of the patient in self-help groups. Housing and employment programs must also be availed so as to keep the patient busy. Also, behaviour therapy will be required in such cases. The mode of counselling should usually be on a one on one basis, although many doctors also suggest that group therapy can help in showing examples of progress so as to encourage the patient to change and get a new lease of life.
Also, family therapy is considered a must for the near and dear ones of such patients to cope with it.
Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic mental disorder that affects an individual’s ability to think and make decisions, as well as relationships and emotions. The illness is characterized by experiences or unrealistic thoughts, disorganized behaviour and speech, reduced participation in routine activities. A person diagnosed with schizophrenia also experiences difficulty concentrating and memorizing things.
Schizophrenia does not have a definite cure. However, psychological rehabilitation can help the patient manage the symptoms of the illness, and improve the quality of life. This is where psychosocial therapy steps in.
Rehabilitation Psychology for Schizophrenia
Rehabilitation Psychology is a speciality of Psychology that utilizes psychological skills, knowledge, and theories to evaluate and treat people diagnosed with disabilities and chronic health issues in order to maximize functional ability, independence, social participation, and overall health.
A rehabilitation psychologist individualizes services to address different patients with varying health conditions. In order to meet this goal, the discipline adopts a holistic approach and considers individuals within a broad social context.
Different Treatment Approaches
Rehabilitation psychology follows these techniques to address mental disorder like schizophrenia in people –
Individual Psychotherapy – a psychologist/therapist teaches the patient how to deal with their behaviours and thoughts. Patients learn more about the ailment and its effects – and how to distinguish between what is real and what is not. The therapy may also help them manage day-to-day life.
Cognitive Behaviour Therapy – CBT can help the patient change the way they think or behave. A psychologist can show them how to deal with hallucinations and voices. After a couple of CBT sessions, you may be able to identify what triggers psychotic episodes – delusions and hallucinations – and prevent or reduce them.
Cognitive Enhancement Therapy – CET teaches individual ways to recognize triggers, social cues better, and improve memory and attention, and the ability to organize thoughts. The therapy combines group sessions and computer-based brain training.
Rehabilitation procedures such as problem-solving support and job counselling
Even if the above techniques are able to improve the condition, a schizophrenic person will likely need to continue with special care and education on how to become part of the community.