Learning About Schizophrenia: Symptoms and Treatments
Schizophrenia is an umbrella term that encompasses a number of severe brain disorders that cause an abnormal interpretation of reality. The disorders may cause a variety of symptoms, including disordered behavior and thinking, delusions and hallucinations.
Paranoid Schizophrenia Symptoms
People with this type of the mental illness may function and think more normally in daily life than people with other types of the illness.
Symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia may include suicidal behavior and thoughts, auditory hallucinations, anger, delusions, anxiety, violence, emotional distress or distance, argumentativeness and a condescending or self-important manner.
This mental illness is actually a combination of multiple conditions that affect one’s mental health. Symptoms of the disorder vary widely from patient to patient but often include unusual or strange perceptions or thoughts, sleep disturbances, paranoid ideas and thoughts, changes in appetite and energy, delusions, lack of concern regarding physical appearance or hygiene, hallucinations, difficulties with memory and attention, confused or unclear thoughts, catatonic behavior, such as speaking in a bizarre way, thoughts of homicide or suicide, poor temper control, irritability, bouts of depression and manic moods.
Schizophrenia Drug Treatment
Most types of the condition require lifelong treatment, although the symptoms may subside. Medications are an important part of any treatment plan, and antipsychotic medications are used most often to treat the condition. These drugs control symptoms by altering serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters in the brain.
Common medications prescribed to people with the mental illness include ziprasidone, aripiprazole, risperidone, clozapine, quetiapine, paliperidone and olanzapine. Common side effects of these medications include high blood cholesterol, weight gain and diabetes.
Other medications that may be used for schizophrenia treatment include chlorpromazine, perphenazine, fluphenazine and haloperidol. These drugs may cause significant side effects, including those that affect the nervous system.
With any of these medications, improvement may not be seen for several weeks. The goal of drug treatment is to control the symptoms and signs of the illness at the lowest possible medication dosage. Psychiatrists and patients may try several different medications, combinations and dosages until the desired result is achieve. In addition to the aforementioned drugs, some patients may also benefit from combination therapy with anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications.