Movies and TV shows often portray schizophrenia as unpredictable, violent, or even scary. Far from the truth, schizophrenia is a mental disorder that distorts someone’s reality. It makes them hallucinate or hear voices that do not exist. These portrayals stigmatize people with this condition. In reality, the degree of intensity of schizophrenic episodes varies from case to case.
Schizophrenia is a truly debilitating illness that alters a person’s thoughts, actions, and perceptions. Psychotic episodes can occur only once in their whole life or reoccur whenever triggered. Harsh voices and delusions can lead to confusion or to actions that may endanger themselves. It is common for people with schizophrenia to have difficulties expressing themselves and communicating their thoughts.
Sadly, there is no cure for schizophrenia. However, do not lose hope as the right combination of psychotherapy and medication can help control the condition. While support from loved ones is helpful, guided treatment on its own is useful. It is possible and proven that people with schizophrenia can build meaningful relationships and live normal lives.
It is best to seek professional help and advice to find the best treatment for schizophrenia. Therapy has notable effects to help people with this condition. It allows patients to process their thoughts, distinguish what is real from what is not, and is effective in most cases. It can also help patients understand their condition better and overcome symptoms when they occur.
Planning to seek therapy for schizophrenia for you or your loved one? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to help you start.
What type of therapy is best for schizophrenia?
Treatment for schizophrenia usually includes both medication and psychotherapy. Antipsychotics are useful for the initial treatment of an acute schizophrenic episode. These drugs reduce anxiety and aggression in the short term and decrease the risk of hallucinations and delusions with more prolonged usage.
Meanwhile, psychological treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, allow people to better deal with schizophrenic symptoms. Therapy helps identify and change patterns that lead to unwanted consequences.
Can schizophrenia be treated with therapy?
Proper treatment will help control symptoms, reduce episodes, and contribute to disorder management. However, schizophrenia demands lifelong treatments, even after the disappearance of initial symptoms. Doctors may try various combinations of antipsychotic drugs to provide the desired improvements with minimal side effects.
Psychological and psychosocial therapies are also crucial for helping the patient, and their loved ones cope with this mental illness. However, most patients can control their condition through rigorous treatment.
What psychologist deals with schizophrenia?
Psychiatrists are mental health professionals who specialize in managing schizophrenia and other similar conditions. As medical doctors, psychiatrists can give a diagnosis, prescribe medications, and deliver psychological therapy. They work with other psychologists who can assist in measuring treatment progress and conducting cognitive rehabilitation.
Psychiatrists can also benefit from licensed professional counselors and licensed clinical social workers for providing professional counseling.
What are the goals of therapy for schizophrenia?
The main therapeutic goals include preventing harmful behavior, reducing the severity of psychotic symptoms, and addressing causes that lead to acute episodes. Notably, schizophrenia is incurable, so therapy focuses on management and the restoration of normal function. Over time, therapy aims to decrease the risk of relapse by minimizing stress and training loved ones to provide adequate support.
What triggers schizophrenia?
Stress is the primary trigger for schizophrenia. In particular, major life events such as losing a loved one, loss of livelihood, termination of a relationship, or abuse can promote schizophrenic symptoms. People with a predisposition to schizophrenia, such as those with genetic factors and imbalanced neurotransmitters, are more vulnerable to these triggers.
How Can schizophrenia be cured permanently?
Unfortunately, schizophrenia has no permanent cure. However, effective treatment can help patients manage symptoms indefinitely. With therapy, many people with schizophrenia can engage in everyday activities in work and social relationships. Most patients get to restore normal function, with many even achieving a symptom-free life.
Does schizophrenia worsen with age?
Schizophrenia symptoms vary over the years, with some patients experiencing more intense impacts from the disease while others remain mentally stable. Remission rates can be significant for the general population, although varying remission criteria makes accurate analysis difficult.
However, schizophrenia does not accelerate mental deterioration with age. Many people receiving adequate treatment may even see improvements in psychosocial functioning due to better control over the condition.
Is schizophrenia the worst mental illness?
Schizophrenia can be one of the most debilitating mental conditions, although common media portrayals can exaggerate its effects. Given that this condition affects how people think, act, behave with others and perceive reality, schizophrenia can drastically affect life quality.
However, the severity of the illness itself varies among patients. Some people only have one psychotic episode for their entire lives, while others might struggle even between recurrent episodes.
What is the lifespan of a person with schizophrenia?
People with schizophrenia may have reduced life expectancies, with patients living from 12 to 15 years shorter than people without the condition. Factors contributing to reduced lifespan involve lifestyle factors, as it may be more difficult for people with schizophrenia to commit to healthy habits.
Furthermore, people with schizophrenia may receive less optimal healthcare, especially for dangerous but preventable conditions like cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Do people with schizophrenia have to take medication for life?
Given that schizophrenia is a lifelong condition, patients will have to take medications and attend psychological therapy sessions for life. However, they might receive various dosages and combinations of antipsychotic medications depending on their current symptoms and mental status. Changes in medication allow for optimized benefits and reduced side effects.
How do people with schizophrenia behave?
Distorted views of reality are hallmark symptoms of schizophrenia, causing patients to exhibit erratic behavior at times. People with schizophrenia can have hallucinations and illusions that cause them to behave inappropriately. Difficulties in expressing emotions can drive patients to withdraw socially.
Do people with schizophrenia feel the love?
People with schizophrenia can feel and express including emotions. Patients can form romantic relationships with other people. However, they might have difficulties in anticipating future emotions. It can also be challenging to engage in dating and other bonding activities with people.
Can a person with schizophrenia act normal?
Some schizophrenic patients undergoing therapy can experience a symptom-free and relatively normal life. However, experiences can vary. Some people might only have a single psychotic episode, while others might suffer from recurring symptoms. A combination of medication and psychological treatments can increase the chances of living a normal life.
What kind of voices do people with schizophrenia hear?
Schizophrenic patients who have auditory hallucinations might hear imaginary voices that give them comments, insults, or even encouragement. Experiences vary widely, but people most often hear repetitive, commanding, and hostile voices. These voices can be interactive, with the patient able to form a conversation with their imaginary companion.
Can overthinking cause schizophrenia?
Overthinking alone is not a trigger for schizophrenia. Overthinking about traumatic events is associated with the symptoms of schizophrenia. However, overthinking is likely an effect of the traumatic experience, not a cause for schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a disabling condition that can progressively worsen without the proper guidance and treatment. Hallucinating and having a distorted reality can strain relationships, which can lead to isolation and social withdrawal. At times, this erratic behavior can be overwhelming and further deteriorate overall well-being.
Treatment for schizophrenia cannot fully cure it, but it helps control and minimize symptoms. With regular treatment, one can expect things to get better over time. Constant treatment may be necessary even when there is no manifestation of symptoms. Support from a therapist and trusted people are key to overcoming the challenges presented by this mental illness.
Seeking help from a mental health professional or therapist is a brave step to take. Acknowledging one’s condition does not come easy for everyone. For some, it takes time.
The treatment process will help improve the overall quality of life. It can help reduce stressors and identify triggers. The success of the treatment lies in the willingness of the patient to communicate with a healthcare provider.
Of course, treatment will be tailored on a case by case basis. There is no one-size-fits-all plan to control and overcome schizophrenia symptoms. Striking a balance between medication and guidance is something your doctor or therapist will help you with.
Experiencing symptoms and being diagnosed with schizophrenia can be scary due to the stigma surrounding it. However, this illness does not define you. Have hope and strengthen the resolve to push towards recovery.