What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a group of complex brain disorders that involve distorted thoughts and behaviors. It is considered a thought disorder because impacts the way in which a person processes thoughts and language. People with schizophrenia may appear to have lost touch with reality. Like all mental illnesses, schizophrenic episodes vary in severity, duration and frequency.
Although the causes of schizophrenia are unknown, we believe that genetics and environmental factors may contribute to its development. Schizophrenia is one of the most disabling of all mental illnesses, but proper treatment can control the symptoms of the disorder and allow a person to lead a healthy life.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF SCHIZOPHRENIA
People suffering from schizophrenia usually have three types of symptoms: positive, negative and cognitive.
- Positive symptoms of schizophrenia represent a perceived increase or addition of abilities. Delusions, hallucinations and disorganized thoughts and behaviors are common positive symptoms of the illness.
- Negative symptoms often look like depression. Negative symptoms are characterized by a loss in ability to express one’s self or to feel normal emotions. Social withdrawal, personal neglect, lack of interest and loss of motivation are common negative symptoms.
- Cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia are problems with attention, memory, and our ability to make decisions, plan and organize. These symptoms may be present from birth. Cognitive symptoms are unfortunately the most debilitating as they prevent an individual from living a healthy and productive life.
TREATMENT FOR SCHIZOPHRENIA
Schizophrenia requires lifelong management and treatment. Most patients are treated with a combination of medications and psychotherapy (talk therapy). During episodes and other crisis situations, treatment often focuses on ensuring safety, health and hygiene.
The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center team believes that medication and psychotherapy should go hand-in-hand to treat schizophrenia. Our treatment team has experience working with clients at various stages of a schizophrenic episode. We offer therapy in individual, group and family settings aimed and providing your loved one with the support, assistance and therapy needed to help them live full, productive lives.