Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

What is Schizophrenia?

The World Health Organization defines schizophrenia as a severe mental disorder marked by pronounced cognitive interference. It affects speech abilities, critical thinking, arithmetic, logic and perception.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenic symptoms split into three categories — positive symptoms, negative symptoms and cognitive symptoms:

“Positive” Symptoms

“Positive” symptoms are actively abnormal behaviors, including:

Hallucinations

Delusions

Dysfunctional thinking

Unusual or agitated body movements

“Negative” Symptoms

“Negative symptoms,” on the other hand, are disruptions to normal behaviors such as:

Reduced emotional expressions

Reduced feelings of pleasure

Difficulty beginning & keeping up with activities

Reduced speech

Cognitive Symptoms

Cognitive symptoms are sometimes subtle, but for some patients they are more severe. These behaviors include:

Inability to understand information to make decisions with it

Trouble focusing

Inability to use information immediately after learning it

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Phases of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia occurs in a cycle of three phases. Patients may experience any or all parts of the cycle in their lifetime:

Prodromal Phase

Usually occurring between ages 25 to 35 in females and 15 to 25 in males, in this phase, the patient exhibits changes in feelings, behavior and thinking. However, they are barely noticeable. Symptoms include withdrawal, irritability and difficulty remembering or concentrating.

Acute Phase

In this phase, the psychotic earmarks are more pronounced. Hallucinations and delusions begin to appear while the patient struggles with routines that require memorization and socialization.

Recovery Phase

The recovery phase follows an active psychotic episode in which the symptoms start to fade and the person regains insight on their behavior.

Causes & Risk Factors

Heritability

There are several different causes, but evidence suggests that genetic vulnerability and environmental factors can act together to cause schizophrenia. It does run in families, but there is no one specific gene that causes it. Instead, it’s more likely a result of combinations of genes.

Drugs

Although drug use doesn’t cause schizophrenia directly, studies show a correlation between them. Drugs are a trigger for schizophrenic symptoms in people who are already impressionable to them. For example, amphetamines and cocaine cause psychosis and potentially relapses for someone in the recovery phase.

Dopamine Theory

This theory claims that the behaviors and experiences associated with schizophrenia relate to changes in dopamine function in the brain. 

Schizophrenia in Children

Although rare, children occasionally develop schizophrenia. However, their symptoms may be different than those of adults. Schizophrenia is difficult to diagnose in children, but there are some warning signs:

Odd behavior and/or speech

Confusing TV and dreams with reality

Sudden academic issues

Personality changes

Neglecting personal grooming

Fearfulness and paranoia

Detailed and bizarre ideas

Treatment

Schizophrenia patients can reduce and treat their symptoms over time with medication and different forms of therapy:

Medication

Antipsychotics can relieve delusions and psychosis, but people with schizophrenia are usually hesitant to take them due to a lack of awareness of the illness.

Psychotherapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy challenges the patient’s negative perceptions of the world and of themselves in order to change unwanted behavior or thinking patterns.

Supportive Psychotherapy

Supportive psychotherapy helps the patient process their experience in the present, rather than uncovering past experiences.

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy

Cognitive enhancement therapy promotes confidence in the patient’s cognitive ability, using computer-based training and in-person sessions.

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Other Treatments

Some researchers support natural treatments for schizophrenia including:

Antioxidants

Omega-3

Vitamin D

Vitamin B

Coping Skills

In addition, there are natural coping skills that schizophrenics can take advantage of:

Accepting the diagnosis

Communicating with doctors

Joining a support group

Using relaxation techniques

Avoiding buying into the stigma

Supplements for Brain Health

Although there is no way to prevent schizophrenia, supplements benefit the brain’s well-being. However, make sure to take note of the proper and recommended dosages:

Pure Glycine Powder

glycine powder

Pure Quercetin Dihydrate Powder

quercetin dihydrate powderquercetin

Ginseng Root Extract Powder

Ginseng root

Green Tea Polyphenols Powder

Green tea polyphenols powder

The Bottom Line

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that disrupts behavior, speech, logic and perception. Symptoms can be “positive,” “negative” or cognitive. There is no single cause, but researchers state that it can be hereditary and triggered by chemical imbalances or drugs.

Though there is no cure for schizophrenia, sufferers can control and reduce their symptoms with medication, therapy and coping skills. There is also no preventative maintenance, but supplements can promote cognitive strength for a healthy mind.

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