Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that causes troubling symptoms like paranoia
and hearing voices. Although there is no cure, people with schizophrenia
can get relief from their symptoms with a combination of
hospital care and medication. If someone you love is among the one percent of the U.S.
population with this mental health disorder, here is what you need to know.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
The exact cause of
schizophrenia is unknown, but doctors think that several factors are at play. One is
genetics. People who have a relative with schizophrenia are more likely
than the general population to develop the disease. However, being genetically
predisposed to schizophrenia is probably not enough to develop the disease.
Doctors believe that environmental factors may contribute as well, such
as problems during birth, malnutrition before birth, exposure to a virus
in the womb, and psychosocial factors. Imbalance in brain chemicals and
abnormal brain structures may also play roles.
What Are the Symptoms?
There are three main types of schizophrenia symptoms: positive, negative,
and cognitive. Positive symptoms are the psychotic behaviors most people
associate with schizophrenia, including delusions, hallucinations, and
disorganized thinking. Movement disorders, such as uncontrolled repetitive
movements, also fall under the category of positive symptoms. Negative
symptoms may be harder to recognize. They impact emotions and behavior
and can be easily mistaken for depression. Examples of negative symptoms
include a flat affect or neglecting personal hygiene. Cognitive symptoms
include memory issues, trouble paying attention, and poor executive functioning skills.
How Is Schizophrenia Treated?
There are many different treatments available for schizophrenia, and in
most cases, it takes some trial and error to find the right combination.
Most people with schizophrenia start out with a hospital stay while their
symptoms are stabilized, and they may need future hospital visits during
medication adjustments. Antipsychotic medications, cognitive behavioral
therapy, and therapy to help build illness management skills are just
some of the treatments used for schizophrenia.
In the Behavioral Health Unit at
Kendall Regional Medical Center, our hospital provides inpatient and outpatient care for schizophrenia
and many other mental health conditions. To learn more about our Miami-Dade
hospital and our other services, including trauma and orthopedic care,
call (305) 921-0961.