Schizophrenia and Psychosis

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain illness that typically begins in early adulthood, between the ages of 16 and 30. Approximately 1 percent of the population develops schizophrenia during their lifetime. Symptoms of schizophrenia may include hallucinations, delusions as well as social isolation or withdrawal. Anti-psychotic medications are the generally recommended treatment for schizophrenia.

Consistent condition in this category

Psychosis / schizophrenia - antipsychotics

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Description of this condition

Schizophrenia is a psychological disorder that is characterized by abnormal social and emotional behaviour, and disturbed thinking processes. The disorder expresses itself as a reduced ability to distinguish reality from fantasy, particularly with short episodes of hearing voices, suspicious delusions (paranoia) and unconnected thinking processes, or in other words psychosis. The symptoms are explained more below.

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Treatment options

The medicines that are prescribed for schizophrenia are subdivided into traditional and atypical antipsychotics. In general both types are equally effective treatments for psychosis and schizophrenia. The biggest difference between the different medicines is the side effects they can cause. The traditional antipsychotics more often cause unusual or uncontrollable movements, while the atypical antipsychotics more often lead to weight gain and other metabolic disorders.

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Any other expert information?

Schizophrenia is often noticed in adolescents and young adults who experience a psychosis for the first time; however years before it happens there may be signals that a psychotic episode may occur, such as changes in feelings, thoughts and observations

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What are the symptoms?

People who suffer from schizophrenia will have experienced one or more psychosis/es. This is often a traumatic experience that is characterized by a sudden worsening of symptoms. Primarily this will include hallucinations, delusions, and chaotic thinking and speaking. These are also called the 'positive symptoms' of schizophrenia. The 'negative symptoms' on the other hand include emotional disorders, such as not reacting or over-reacting, and finding it more difficult to perform cognitive tasks because of worsened memory and concentration disorders. As well as this, there may also be a worsening of depressive feelings and anxiety, potentially leading to social isolation. Antipsychotics are usually very effective against the positive symptoms and, depending on the person, can have a variable effect on the negative symptoms. That is why treatment is always combined with some form of psychosocial training.

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