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Schizophrenia is a type of mental illness that affects how the brain works. This leads to chronic problems with disordered thoughts and behaviors. It usually requires lifelong care and treatment. … Read More

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Schizophrenia is a type of mental illness that affects how the brain works. This leads to chronic problems with disordered thoughts and behaviors. It usually requires lifelong care and treatment. Researchers estimate that schizophrenia affects approximately 0.3 percent to 0.7 percent of people (between 3 in 1000 and 7 in 1000). Schizophrenia affects people from Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatric disorder characterized by continuous or relapsing episodes of psychosis. Those with the disorder experience distortions of reality, such as delusions, disorganized thinking, or hallucinations. Schizophrenia occurs in both men and women, of all ages. While men habitually develop symptoms in their late teens or early 20s, women develop theirs in their late 20s and early 30s. Also, while exact estimates are difficult to acquire, it has been estimated to affect about 1% of the population. There are a number of common misconceptions about this disorder. For instance, some people think it causes split personality. Whereas, schizophrenia and split personality (rightly termed dissociative identity disorder) are two different disorders. Types of schizophrenia Once upon a time, schizophrenia was divided into five subtypes. The categorization help doctors and healthcare providers with treatment planning. They are:
  • Paranoid, a positive symptom of schizophrenia, not a separate one.
  • Hebephrenic or disorganized schizophrenia: This is found in people who don’t experience hallucinations or delusions, but have disorganized speech patterns or behaviors.
  • Undifferentiated: Found in those who showed more than one type of predominant symptom.
  • Residual: For those who were diagnosed with schizophrenia early in life but stopped showing symptoms, later on, this subtype is used to term their condition.
  • Catatonic schizophrenia: The rarest, this was diagnosed in people who showed signs of autism or who developed a stupor-like effect.
  • It should, however, be noted that in 2013, the subtypes were eliminated and are no longer used as a clinical diagnosis. Schizophrenia is one diagnosis.
Risk factors of schizophrenia The following are certain factors that have been identified to increase the risk of schizophrenia.
  • Toxins or certain virus exposure (before birth or during infancy) may impact brain development.
  • Inflammatory or autoimmune diseases.
  • Usage of mind-altering drugs.
  • A high level of stress.
  • Having a family history of schizophrenia.
  • Certain pregnancy and birth complications, for instance, malnutrition.
Diagnosis of schizophrenia Diagnosis of schizophrenia may be carried out with the following:
  • Physical exam: To rule out other problems that could be responsible for the symptoms being displayed, and to also check for related complications.
  • Tests and screenings: To rule out conditions with similar symptoms of schizophrenia, and also screen for alcohol and drug abuse. Imaging studies, such as an MRI or a CT scan, may also be required.
  • Psychiatric evaluation: Mental health status is checked by observing appearance and demeanor, and inquiring about thoughts, moods, delusions, hallucinations, substance use, and potential for suicide. Family and personal history are also discussed.
Schizophrenia Treatment Schizophrenia medications are the cornerstone of schizophrenia treatment. Antipsychotic medications are the most frequently prescribed meds. They’re believed to control symptoms by affecting a neurotransmitter in the brain, dopamine. The aim of using antipsychotic meds in schizophrenia treatment is to effectively manage the signs and symptoms at the lowest thinkable dose. Over time, different drugs, different doses, or combinations are adopted to achieve the desired result. Other medications, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, may also help. It, however, takes several weeks to notice improvements in symptoms. Psychosocial interventions As soon as psychosis recedes, as well as continuing on medication, psychosocial (psychological and social) interventions are adopted and are important. These include:
  • Individual therapy: This helps to bring normalcy to thought patterns, cope with stress and recognize early warning signs of relapse.
  • Social skills training: This is aimed at improving communication, social interactions and the ability to participate in daily activities.
  • Family therapy: This is to provide necessary support and education to families dealing with schizophrenia.
Hospitalization During periods of crisis or severe symptoms, hospitalization may be compulsory. This is to ensure safety, proper nutrition, sufficient sleep and basic hygiene. Electroconvulsive therapy For this procedure, electrodes are attached to the patient’s scalp, and while they’re sleeping under the influence of a general anaesthesia, a small electric shock is sent to the brain. For adults with a schizophrenia condition who are not responding to drug therapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may be thought to. all racial backgrounds and ethnicities. Schizophrenia is slightly more common in men than in women.


Two of the major categories of schizophrenia symptoms are “positive” or “negative” symptoms.

• Positive Symptoms
• Positive symptoms are active problems that shouldn’t be present

They are “positive” in the sense that they represent an addition to someone's typical day-to-day experience. E.g.

• Hallucinations

• Delusions

• Disorganized thinking and speech

• Negative Symptoms

Characteristics that seem to be absent or diminished in someone with schizophrenia are called negative symptoms. E.g.

• Decreased Emotional expression

• Lack of interest in focussed activities


• Family history and genetics

• Environment

• Viral infections like Herpes

• Exposure to toxins like Lead, Gasoline, Paint etc. and neurochemicals

• Brain and body risk factor

• Lifestyle factos like stress and life changing events like deaths bereavements.


What are self-care tips to manage schizophrenia

Introducing simple changes to lifestyle can have a huge impact on the way a schizophrenic person feel, as well as improve the symptoms.

  • Try to get plenty of sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol and drugs.
  • Eat a healthy, balanced diet.

How to cope living with schizophrenia

A well-managed schizophrenia reduces the chances of severe relapses. Tips for coping with living with schizophrenia include:

  • Be familiar with the signs of an acute episode.
  • Take medicine as prescribed, promptly and consistently.
  • Talking to others about the condition
  • Join charities and support groups which offer help and advice on living with schizophrenia.

What is the outlook for schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental condition with profound impacts on a person’s functional abilities in life. These impacts can also affect those around them.

There are available treatment to help manage the symptoms. People living with schizophrenia can also benefit from the support of their friends, family and community services.

How can schizophrenia be prevented?

There are no definite ways to prevent schizophrenia. However, sticking with the treatment plan helps to greatly prevent relapses or worsening of symptoms. Also, it is hoped that learning more about the risk factors for schizophrenia may lead to earlier diagnosis and prompt treatment.

What are the possible complications of schizophrenia?

If left unchecked or untreated, schizophrenia can lead to severe problems that affect every facet of life. Schizophrenia may lead to or be associated with the following complications:

  • Suicide, suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts.
  • Anxiety disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Depression and phobia.
  • Drug and alcohol abuse, such as nicotine.
  • Lack of ability to work or acquire education.
  • Self-injury.
  • Financial problems and homelessness.
  • Social isolation.
  • Health and medical problems.
  • Victimization.
  • Family problems.