The topic of today's conversation is the disease of schizophrenia. We will understand what schizophrenia is, pay attention to the symptoms, signs, types, diagnosis and treatment of this mental illness.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that distorts a person’s thoughts, his actions, expression of emotions, perception of reality and attitude towards others.
People faced with this disease have functioning problems in relationships, at work and in society. Schizophrenia is not completely treated, with the help of proper therapy you can only take it under control.
There is an opinion that schizophrenia is a split personality and consequence sociopathies. It's a delusion. With schizophrenia, a person is unable to distinguish between the imaginary and reality. The world looks like an erratic combination of various sounds, images and thoughts. The behavior of schizophrenics is extremely strange, and in some cases shocking. This is due to a sudden change in behavioral and personal character with the loss of contact with reality. This phenomenon is usually called a psychotic episode.
In different people, schizophrenia manifests itself in different ways. One person has only one psychotic episode, while another person constantly appears throughout life. Moreover, in between episodes, he can live a normal life.
For many years of research, experts have not been able to find out the exact causes of schizophrenia. This disease, like cancer or diabetes mellitus, there are biological foundations (not personal weakness or poor parenting, but genetics).
Disease development factors
- Genetics. Schizophrenia is characterized by a tendency toward seriality in the family. The likelihood of developing the disease is inherited by the younger generation.
- Brain chemistry. A chemical substance is constantly produced in the human brain - dopamine, which helps nerve cells to transmit information. An imbalance of dopamine negatively affects the brain's response to visual images, smells and sounds, resulting in delusions and hallucinations.
- Brain Disorders. The latest research has shown that people with schizophrenia often have a disturbed brain structure.
- External factors. Regular stress, lack of social interaction, and viral infection can lead to schizophrenia. To a greater extent, external factors are affected by people who have inherited the disease. Typically, schizophrenia begins to appear when the body undergoes physical and hormonal changes.
Anyone can experience this disease, regardless of location, race or culture. Schizophrenia equally affects women and men, only in the stronger sex, symptoms appear earlier. The development of the disease affects children over five years old.However, it is rare until adolescence; adolescents are most susceptible to the disease.
First signs of schizophrenia
Psychiatrists diagnose schizophrenia very carefully, as this is a kind of sentence. In order to notice the pathology in a timely manner, consult a doctor and start the process of adequate treatment, you need to know the first signs of schizophrenia.
According to popular belief, schizophrenia is manifested by hallucinations and delirium. In fact, the symptoms of this psychological illness are more diverse. Among them are emotional failures, changing interests, the emergence of fears.
In women, men, adolescents and children, the symptoms do not differ dramatically.
The first signs in men
- Emotional decline. The earliest sign of schizophrenia. First, a person’s attitude to loved ones becomes cold. In some cases, unmotivated hostility appears along with the splitting of emotions. The patient feels hostility, hatred, love and interest at the same time.
- Inactivity, loss of interest, decreased activity. A person refuses to participate even in matters that concern him directly. Due to the lack of desire and motivation, the patient quits work and favorite activities. Any business falls into the category of “neglected”.
- Closure, loss of contact with loved ones. A man breaks existing ties and refuses to look for new friends. This symptom may indicate schizophrenia or schizoid personality disorder.
- Changes in Thinking. Illogical transition between thoughts. Moreover, a person does not even notice this. There may be prolonged meaningless reasoning and new expressions that were not previously used by patients.
- Changes in speech. Speech becomes torn and consists of fragments of phrases. The listed changes at the initial stage of schizophrenia can occur imperceptibly. Only a doctor can determine them.
The opinion that schizophrenia is accompanied by the development of dementia is erroneous. The changes concern only the thought process and do not affect intelligence. The patient retains the knowledge, skills and abilities that he acquired before the disease. Because of the disease, he does not want to seek practical application of these abilities, he does not want to study and continue to develop.
The first signs in women
If you carefully study the statistical information, you can see that every third patient with a diagnosis of schizophrenia is a woman. This is due to the high emotionality, addiction to depression and getting into stressful situations.
Successful recovery, as well as social adaptation, depends on at what stage of development the fight against schizophrenia is started.
- The manner of speech is subject to change. It manifests itself in the form of an inability to clearly and correctly express thoughts. The conversation is dominated by fragmentary, meaningless phrases.
- Hobbies and hobbies lose their appeal. The woman's interest in loved ones, work, and household chores disappears.
- Problems in study and work. Schizophrenia makes it difficult to fully perform duties, solve problems and achieve goals.
- Problems in focusing on specific things. Patients are characterized by distraction, lethargy, inadequate and delayed response to events.
- Sociological manifestations. A girl with schizophrenia avoids a direct look, is reluctant to make contact and scantily expresses her own emotions. This is due to impaired gestures and facial expressions.
Schizophrenia has a significant impact on a woman’s behavior, her emotions, feelings and perceptions. It is extremely important to detect pathology in a timely manner and consult a doctor.
The first signs in adolescents and children
Schizophrenia in a child can be recognized from the age of seven. Changes in behavior, unreasonable fear, conversations with invisible objects, a good reason to visit a psychiatrist.
- Paranoia. The child imagines that the people around him treat him with humiliation. He has the impression that everyone conspired against him.
- Hallucinations. Children hear voices and have a conversation with them. They see things that in reality do not exist.
- Unreasonable fear. The child complains of fear of non-standard things. Fears are significantly different from traditional horror stories.
- Insulation. Against the background of schizophrenia, the child's interest in games disappears. He ceases to communicate with peers, cannot build a lasting relationship with peers.
- Excessive moodiness. The behavior of the child is accompanied by sharp and unfounded mood swings. In most cases, there are no apparent causes of this phenomenon.
- Fragmented speech. Schizophrenia leads to the fact that the child loses the ability to properly express thoughts and adequately conduct conversation in normal conditions.
- Chaotic thoughts. This symptom boils down to the child’s inability to distinguish sleep from a real event.
For a doctor’s consultation to be effective, it’s necessary to keep a diary and fix unusual symptoms. Further diagnosis is possible only in the psychiatrist’s office.
Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Doctors first discovered schizophrenia in the early nineteenth century. They immediately began to describe the symptoms of schizophrenia and select treatment methods. Initially, the disease was considered the introduction of demons or vice.
Symptoms of schizophrenia are noticeable even to a person inexperienced in the field of medicine. The list of main symptoms is represented by apathy, lack of will, isolation, strange behavior due to delusional ideas and hallucinations.
Positive and negative symptoms
Experts divide the symptoms of schizophrenia into two categories. This helps to better study the nature of the disease and correctly choose a treatment strategy.
- Things appear in the human psyche that were not there in the normal state. We are talking about hallucinations, emotional and motor disorders, delirium.
- With schizophrenia, the patient is faced with auditory hallucinations. However, he is not able to tell where the source of the voice is. But the patient is sure that the voice speaks to him, and strangers do not hear him.
- Delirium is caused by the influence of thoughts and actions. Allocate nonsense of self-destruction or greatness. In the first case, the patient believes that he is not worthy to live, in the second he considers himself an outstanding person.
- Movement disorders are represented by catatonia, which usually accompanies a severe form of the disease. At the time of excitement, the patient is restless and aggressive, with a stupor he may not move for a long time, taking an uncomfortable position.
Such symptoms are characterized by the loss of important components from the psyche, volitional and emotional sphere. Their list is represented by autism and emotional impoverishment.
Volitional disorders are a manifestation of a severe course of schizophrenia. They come down to complete indifference. A person can lie in bed for 24 hours without getting up to visit the toilet room. The patient is unable to concentrate and loses the ability to learn.
Symptoms of a positive nature are significantly better for predicting the disease, since they are much easier to treat. Negative symptoms are almost completely untreated.
Schneider has compiled a list of psychotic symptoms that distinguish schizophrenia from other disorders.
- Delirium, according to which external forces act from the side.
- The belief that outsiders put certain thoughts into the head or steal existing thoughts.
- The feeling that outsiders are able to read the mind of the patient.
- Voices that comment on the patient’s actions and thoughts or communicate with each other.
In schizophrenic patients, symptoms at different times show different behaviors.When the disease first appears, the symptoms are unexpected and pronounced. Disorganized symptoms reflect the patient's inability to think normally and respond fully.
- When talking, the patient uses meaningless words or makes meaningless sentences.
- Rapid transitions between thoughts.
- Lack of decision making ability.
- Excessive writing without meaning.
- Losing things and forgetting basic information.
- Repeating gestures or movements. Walking in circles, step-by-step moving back and forth.
- Difficulties in understanding feelings, sounds and visual images.
Thinking and human behavior with disorganized symptoms are unnatural and eye-catching.
Types and forms of schizophrenia
The types and forms of schizophrenia differ in symptoms, the frequency of exacerbations and the activity of the manifestation.
- Paranoid. It occurs most often and is characterized by the predominance of a hallucinatory-delusional complex. It is accompanied by a disorder of thinking, motor skills and intelligence, but is not a primary or primary symptom.
- Hebephrenic. With this form of schizophrenia, a disorder of thinking dominates with foolishness, dementia and flattening of affect. Human thinking is degrading. Moreover, he behaves like a five-year-old child.
- Catatonic. The predominance of psychomotor disorders, represented by the alternation of periods of excitement and stupor, is characteristic. In a stupor, the patient may be in a state of immobility for a long time. Epic images appear in his head where he is the main character.
- Manic. The patient has obsessions. It constantly seems to him that someone is chasing him. Speech becomes abundant and verbose, and thinking becomes associative. Now there is no such form of schizophrenia, as it has been singled out as an independent disease, called manic-depressive psychosis.
- Sharp. This type of schizophrenia is accompanied by an alternation of seizures and remissions. The next attack is much more difficult, and the symptoms become more pronounced. Regardless of the period, the patient remains anxious with suspicion and delusional interpretation. Hallucinations may occur periodically.
- Sluggish. The clinical picture of sluggish schizophrenia is significantly different from other types of illness, since it is not accompanied by hallucinations and delirium. Instead, a person suffers from asthenia, neurotic disorder and depersonalization.
- Alcohol. There is no such schizophrenia. In the same time alcohol abuse can cause the development of the disease. The condition in which a person finds himself after prolonged binge is commonly called alcoholic psychosis. This condition is called schizophrenia, since it is accompanied by inappropriate behavior, speech and thinking disorders.
Diagnosis in adults and children
At the initial stage, the diagnosis of schizophrenia is extremely complex. For this reason, modern psychiatrists monitor the patient for 6 months, and only after that they make the final diagnosis.
For 6 months, the doctor talks with the patient and his relatives. Particular attention is paid to the analysis of symptoms, their dynamics and modifications. It is extremely important for the doctor to find out what the patient's condition was like before the onset of the disease.
After confirming the diagnosis, the work of the nervous system is subjected to a comprehensive examination, under the supervision of a qualified psychiatrist.
- Magnetic resonance imaging. Detects changes in the structure of the brain with schizophrenia. Helps to study the functional activity of various segments of the brain.
- Electroencephalography. A method for a thorough study of the bioelectric activity of the brain.
- Duplex scanning. Helps to eliminate vascular diseases - atherosclerosis of the vessels and pathology of the venous outflow.
- Psychological tests. Using tests, the doctor determines the state of thinking, attention and memory of a sick person. Test results show abnormalities in specific brain segments.
- Neurotest. Defines autoantibodies to proteins contained in nerve cells. Thanks to the neurotest, they find out whether the nervous system is working properly.
In addition to the above methods for diagnosing schizophrenia, the doctor analyzes the digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular and endocrine systems of the body. Studies can be conducted on the content of narcotic substances and hepatitis viruses in the body, and analyzes of cerebrospinal fluid.
Schizophrenia is the only mental illness that does not have radical methods of treatment and prevention. This is due to the fact that experts have not yet thoroughly studied the reasons for its appearance.
Tests for schizophrenia help to early detect abnormalities in the psyche and take appropriate measures. Psychiatrists advise against taking test results as a medical diagnosis, since they only show information about the state of the psyche.
Not everyone agrees to take such a test. Some consider it completely useless, others fear that the results will affect life. Although, even an absolutely healthy person can suffer from mental disorders caused not by heredity, but by regular problems, stress and fatigue.
The essence of the tests is to determine the perception of situations, colors, logical circuits and forms. This approach helps to detect a tendency to schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, and to confirm a normal perception of what is happening.
During the test, a person is shown a picture with a mask shown on the back. If a healthy person is looking at a picture, certain indicators appear in his brain - roundness of shapes, shadows, volumes, etc. Although the image is flat, he sees a convex mask.
At the same time, such a picture is not able to deceive a schizophrenic, because he sees a concave mask. This is due to the fact that the patient does not pay attention to signal indicators. There is no connection between the phenomenon and the subject. He snatches one mask from the overall picture and claims that it is concave.
Luscher Color Test
During the test, a set consisting of 8 different colors with assigned numbers is used. A person should build these colors according to the level of attractiveness. Carry out the procedure during the day and in natural light. Practice shows that people with mental disorders prefer yellow, which is considered the color of insanity.
Often a person is asked to draw something and analyze the colors that he uses. The work drawn by the schizophrenic’s hand is a combination of unnatural combinations. Black sun or pink grass.
What do the colors mean? Red color indicates manic schizophrenia, black - an indicator of depression, fear and experience. Shades of white are inherent in hallucinations.
Schizophrenia contributes to the breakdown of personal usefulness. Usually, symptoms begin to manifest from a young age. Without treatment, the disease progresses, as a result of which the person falls out of society.
Over the years, numerous treatments for schizophrenia have been developed. For the struggle, traditional and traditional medicine, psychological and social techniques are used.
It is a mistake to consider schizophrenia as mental inferiority. And although schizophrenia is still incurable, modern clinical methods allow you to take control of the manifestations of the disease, which preserves the person’s working capacity and its adaptation to the social environment. The only exceptions are advanced stages.
- Drug therapy. Provides for the use of drugs based on individual indications.The medications used are aimed at reassuring the patient, eliminating hallucinations and delusional conditions. Innovative medicines practically do not cause side effects, do not contain toxic substances, and do not inhibit mental abilities and psyche.
- Psychotherapy. It focuses on correcting behavioral reactions and increasing self-esteem. It allows you to avoid isolation of a person from society and family, and maintain efficiency. With the help of psychotherapy, a person learns to control emotions, behave correctly and not go into despair or deep depression.
- Briefing. Doctors advise the patient on family relations, career guidance, choice of activity and behavior with people around him.
- Family work. The psychiatrist gives useful advice to the patient's relatives regarding behavior, methods of contact, and reaction characteristics. Only in this case the family will be able to help and support.
Thanks to modern methods of treatment, doctors are able to prevent the rapidly progressing course of the disease, make life easier for schizophrenics and members of his family.
Psychological and social therapy
The methodology of psychological and social adaptation is an integral element in the treatment of schizophrenia. With the right approach, psychological and social therapy provides an excellent, sustainable result. This is due to the fact that a person begins to realize the presence of a problem, and tries to take an active part in solving it.
- The doctor treats the patient sensitively, carefully and with understanding. To make the schizophrenic willingly make contact, the doctor is trying to earn trust.
- Pressure from a specialist is unacceptable. It is inconclusive to prove to a schizophrenic that he is sick, because he considers himself an absolutely healthy person.
- During the period of emission, they conduct a conversation with the patient and report what is happening to him. It is important that the patient takes medication regularly. This will contribute to social adaptation and will avoid another exacerbation.
- Behavioral treatment is carried out in a hospital or at home. Social therapy helps the patient curb bouts of hallucinations, and teaches us to distinguish visions and reality.
- A significant role in the treatment is played by labor therapy. The research results showed that correct social adaptation is extremely important for the patient, as it reduces the likelihood of relapse.
- Conduct group lessons for schizophrenics, in which brothers in misfortune share problems and experiences under the supervision of psychiatrists. The social adaptation of patients is facilitated by drawing lessons and other forms of art.
The treatment of schizophrenia requires a lot of time due to its high complexity. During treatment, a person must understand that his loved ones need him. If he feels that he is treated with understanding and respect, his condition will improve, and the period of remission will not take long.
You can treat schizophrenia at home, at a clinic or at a neuropsychiatric clinic. In any of these cases, medications are mandatory.
I propose to talk about drugs that are prescribed to combat schizophrenia.
- Antipsychotics. They are the basis of drug treatment. In the fight against schizophrenia, antidepressants, tranquilizers, vitamin complexes, sleeping pills are used. The doctor chooses the drug and dosage, depending on the tasks. Tasks change as symptoms change. With exacerbation, antipsychotics with a quick sedative effect are prescribed. Drugs are administered intravenously or intramuscularly.
- First-generation antipsychotics - Chlorpromazine and Levomepromazine. Atypical antipsychotics - Clopixol and Ziprex. The first medications with a strong sedative effect, the second are characterized by better tolerance.
- During the stabilizing phase, medications in the form of tablets or drops are used.Schizophrenia is often treated with injection depot. Doctor makes an injection once a month. The drug, slowly released from the injection site, regularly enters the body.
- In the treatment of schizophrenia, the use of drugs was found - Fluanksol, Haloperidol, Risolept, Etaperisan. Only a doctor can choose a remedy and determine the dosage.
- At the rehabilitation stage, antipsychotics with an "antinegative" effect on the body are used. In the list of such drugs Abilifay, Invega. They are improve memory and mental abilities, restore mood and activity.
Usually, treatment of schizophrenia involves medication in a hospital setting and social adaptation activities.
An acute form of schizophrenia is treated only in a psychiatric hospital. In this case, insulin therapy is combined with treatment with antipsychotics. Traditional medicine uses herbal preparations that calm the body and have sleeping pills. Sometimes they resort to starvation and hydrotherapy.
Alternative methods are not clinically proven and doctors do not recommend using them.
- Healers from Tibet treat schizophrenia with vegetable oil, which lay in the ground at a half-meter depth for at least a year. The body of a sick person is rubbed with this oil. The course of treatment is thirty sessions in a day. During breaks, you can bathe a schizophrenic. After the first course, pause for a month, then conduct a second course.
- According to popular experts, home-made balms cure schizophrenia. Mix daisy baskets, motherwort corollas, hawthorn flowers and dried flower herbs in equal quantities. Pour the mixture with moonshine and take the finished product in a spoon after a meal.
- Herbal baths relieve symptoms. In case of violation of motor skills, a decoction from a swamp nettle will come to the rescue. Boil fifty grams of chopped swamp nettle for 10 minutes under the lid and add to the bathtub filled with water. Water temperature within 37 degrees.
- Baths with the addition of a decoction of leaves, twigs or aspen bark. Boil an arbitrary amount of raw materials for 10 minutes, strain and add to the bath. The duration of one procedure is at least 20 minutes. A similar bath can be made from birch or linden.
Home schizophrenia treatment
Undoubtedly, home therapy for schizophrenia is possible, with the exception of an advanced condition, when the disease becomes dangerous for humans and society. In this case, a comprehensive treatment in a psychiatric clinic is indispensable. If the disease is characterized by a sluggish course and mild symptoms, you can be treated at home, under the supervision of a doctor.
Home Therapy Recommendations
- Fresh air indoors. Regularly ventilate the room, regardless of the time of year. Take a walk in the park away from noisy streets.
- Walks. Walking in the summer, preferring morning and evening time. You can walk during the day, after having put on a hat, otherwise overheating can lead to a deterioration.
- Avoid conflicts and stressful situations causing a surge of negative emotions.
- Food. Withdraw strong tea, coffee and fatty meat dishes from the diet. With a mental disorder, eat plant foods rich in nutrients. Refuse alcohol and cigarettes.
- Physical activity and sport. Increase physical activity. Morning jogging with gymnastics and swimming normalize blood circulation, increase muscle tone and fill the body with energy.
- Daily regime. Go to bed, wake up, eat and walk on a routine.
Video from the program “Pulse” of TV channel Russia 24
In conclusion, I add that the most important element in the treatment of schizophrenia is family support. Relatives should be patient and understanding with the patient, helping to prevent breakdowns. This will prevent exacerbation of the disease.Do not leave each other and support.