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When facing an unknown mental health disorder, life can be a burdening uphill battle. Gathering the right information and seeking proper care can erase the challenges that not knowing can cause in your life. If you believe you or a loved one may have schizophrenia, this information may be of value to you. Reaching out for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is an essential step to living life free of the burdens of schizophrenia.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental illness in which you struggle to differentiate between reality and false perceptions of reality. This challenge can make life particularly difficult. Schizophrenia has been known to be so severe that it interferes with daily activities. This can result in you being unable to complete day-to-day tasks and function properly.
Schizophrenia affects 24 million people worldwide (one in 300 individuals or 32%). It is one of the most misunderstood and complicated mental health disorders recognized today. While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) now considers schizophrenia to be a mental illness on a spectrum, it has previously been categorized into five different subtypes. These include:
#1. Paranoid Schizophrenia
This subtype has been characterized by high levels of suspicion without cause and distorted normal function. If you struggle with paranoid schizophrenia, you may experience hallucinations and hear voices that are not there. You may also either be preoccupied with a single delusion or experience frequent auditory hallucinations.
#2. Residual Schizophrenia
If you struggle with residual schizophrenia, you do not experience frequent hallucinations, disorganized speech, delusions, or catatonic behaviors. Instead, you will experience two or more of the aforementioned symptoms on a smaller scale than more extensive sub-types. Despite the lesser severity level, residual schizophrenia should be taken seriously. If left untreated, it can worsen or progress.
#3. Disorganized Schizophrenia
The disorganized symptoms of this subtype include disorganized speech and behavior. When severely disorganized speech is involved, it can be challenging to follow as you may be incoherent.
Additionally, inappropriate affect is involved. The American Psychological Association (APA) defines inappropriate affect as an emotional response that is not in keeping with the situation or is incompatible with expressed thoughts or wishes. For example, you may smile when told about the death of a friend.
#4. Catatonic Schizophrenia
As mentioned in residual schizophrenia, when left untreated, this disorder can progress. Catatonic schizophrenia has been believed to be the result of untreated schizophrenia. Symptoms of this disorder include refusal to move, change position, and extensive immobility.
Alternatively, you may experience excessive, unnecessary movement for no reason, echolalia, and echopraxia. Echolalia is the meaningless repetition of words or phrases heard by someone else. Echopraxia is the meaningless repetition of movements seen by someone else.
#5. Undifferentiated Schizophrenia
If you don’t meet the criteria for the previous four subtypes, you may fall into the undifferentiated category. When you experience this sub-type, you will experience hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, or catatonic behavior. However, these symptoms are not consistent nor similar enough in pattern/severity level to be considered one of the subtypes mentioned above.
What Does Treatment for Schizophrenia Look Like?
Treatment for schizophrenia looks similar across all subtypes and includes the following options:
Antipsychotic drugs are a primary treatment form for treating this mental health disorder. These medications alter the brain’s chemistry to assist in reducing psychotic symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking. However, antipsychotics may have side effects. Trial and error will help determine the best prescription for your personal needs for optimal treatment.
Medication is generally paired with cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). While medication is the primary treatment option, coping with schizophrenia is still challenging and difficult to navigate without guidance.
Through CBT, you will receive help from trained therapists to assist in understanding your mental health. You will learn coping mechanisms that can help reduce stress and improve thought processes. These tools can ultimately help you live a much happier and less stressful life.
In addition to CBT and medication, you also have a lot to gain from continued education on your mental health disorder. Through psychoeducation, both individually and in a group setting, you and your loved ones are able to learn all there is to know about this widely misunderstood disorder. You will be well equipped with the knowledge and understanding needed to cope with schizophrenia. Both parties will learn that this mental health disorder is not to be stigmatized as dangerous.
Find Schizophrenia Treatment Today
It is important to reach out as soon as possible if you or a loved one may be struggling with schizophrenia. Your life can be wonderful and full of happiness with the right guidance and care. You need only to reach out, and someone will be there to take your hand. Your life matters. You matter. Don’t wait to put yourself first. You deserve happiness, and proper treatment can bring just that.
At Alter Behavioral Health, we understand how difficult life must be with the questions of not knowing. Facing schizophrenia can be extremely challenging when you aren’t sure what type you have or what to do about it. However, schizophrenia of any type is treatable. You can get help today so that tomorrow and each day going forward are days of happiness. You deserve all that life has to offer, just like everyone else does. Don’t let your schizophrenia hold you under. Rise above it and live your life the way you deserve to. Call us today at (866) 691-4386, and let us guide you to a happy life free of the burdens of schizophrenia.