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Sep11

What are the different types of schizophrenia?

There are five types of schizophrenia, each based on the kind of symptoms the person has at the time of assessment:

 

   ·   Paranoid schizophrenia: The individual is preoccupied with one or more delusions or many auditory hallucinations but does not have symptoms of disorganized schizophrenia.

·         Disorganized schizophrenia: Prominent symptoms are disorganized speech and behavior, as well as flat or inappropriate affect. The person does not have enough symptoms to be characterized as catatonic schizophrenic.


·         Catatonic schizophrenia: The person with this type of schizophrenia primarily has at least two of the following symptoms: difficulty moving, resistance to moving, excessive movement, abnormal movements, and/or repeating what others say or do.


·         Undifferentiated schizophrenia: This is characterized by episodes of two or more of the following symptoms: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech or behavior, catatonic behavior or negative symptoms, but the individual does not qualify for a diagnosis of paranoid, disorganized, or catatonic type of schizophrenia.


·         Residual schizophrenia: While the full-blown characteristic positive symptoms of schizophrenia (those that involve an excess of normal behavior, such as delusions, paranoia, or heightened sensitivity) are absent, the sufferer has less severe forms of the disorder or has only negative symptoms (symptoms characterized by a decrease in function, such as withdrawal, disinterest, and not speaking).

 

How common is schizophrenia in children?

Although there have been fewer studies on schizophrenia in children compared to adults, researchers are finding that in children as young as 6 years old can be found to have all the symptoms of their adult counterparts and to continue to have those symptoms into adulthood.

What is the history of schizophrenia?

The term schizophrenia has only been in use since 1911. Soon before that, it was deemed a separate mental illness in 1887 by Emil Kraepelin. Despite that relatively recent history, it has been described throughout written history. Ancient Egyptian, Hindu, Chinese, Greek, and Roman writings described symptoms similar to the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. During medieval times, schizophrenia, like other illnesses, was often viewed as evidence of the sufferer being possessed by spirits or evil powers.

A number of accomplished individuals suffer from schizophrenia. The film A Beautiful Minddepicts the life of John Nash, a noted scientist, and his struggles with paranoid schizophrenia. The film The Soloist explores the challenges faced by Juilliard-trained musician Nathaniel Ayers as a result of schizophrenia.

What are causes of schizophrenia? Is it hereditary?

One frequently asked question about schizophrenia is if it is hereditary. As with most other mental disorders, schizophrenia is not directly passed from one generation to another genetically, and there is no single cause for this illness. Rather, it is the result of a complex group of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors. Genetically, schizophrenia and bipolar disorde  have much in common, in that the two disorders share a number of the same risk genes. However, the fact is that both illnesses also have some genetic factors that are unique.

Environmentally, the risks of developing schizophrenia can even occur before birth. For example, the risk of schizophrenia is increased in individuals whose mother had one of certain infections during pregnancy. Difficult life circumstances during childhood, like the early loss of a parent, parental poverty, bullying, witnessing parental violence; emotional, sexual, or physical abuse; physical or emotional neglect; and insecure attachment have been associated with the development of this illness. Even factors like how well represented an ethnic group is in a neighborhood can be a risk or protective factor for developing schizophrenia. For example, some research indicates that ethnic minorities may be more at risk for developing this disorder if there are fewer members of the ethnic group to which the individual belongs in their neighborhood.

 

What are schizophrenia symptoms and signs?

Symptoms of schizophrenia include the following:

Positive, more overtly psychotic symptoms

        ·  Beliefs that have no basis in reality (delusions)

·         Hearing, seeing, feeling, smelling, or tasting things that have no basis in reality (hallucinations)

 

·         Disorganized speech


·         Disorganized behaviors


·         Catatonic behaviors

Negative, potentially less overtly psychotic symptoms

 

        ·       Inhibition of facial expressions

·         Lack of speech

·         Lack of motivation

How is schizophrenia diagnosed?

As is true with virtually any mental-health diagnosis, there is no one test that definitively indicates that someone has schizophrenia. Therefore, health-care practitioners diagnose this disorder by gathering comprehensive medical, family, and mental-health information. Patients tend to benefit when the professional takes into account their client's entire life and background. This includes but is not limited to the person's gender, sexual orientation, cultural, religious and ethnic background, and socioeconomic status. The practitioner will also either perform a physical examination or request that the individual's primary-care doctor perform one. The medical examination will usually include lab tests to evaluate the person's general health and to explore whether or not the individual has a medical condition that might produce psychological symptoms.

In asking questions about mental-health symptoms, mental-health professionals are often exploring if the individual suffers from hallucinations or delusions,depression and/or manic symptoms,anxiety, substance abuse, as well as some personality disorders (for example, schizotypal personality disorder) and developmental disorders (for example,autism, spectrum disorders). Since some of the symptoms of schizophrenia can also occur in other mental illnesses, the mental-health screening is to determine if the individual suffers from schizoaffective disorder or other psychotic disorder, bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, or a substance abuse or personality disorder. Any disorder that is associated with bizarre behavior, mood, or thinking, like  or another psychotic disorder, as well as DID, formally known as multiple personality disorder (MPD) may be particularly challenging to distinguish from schizophrenia. In order to assess the person's current emotional state, health-care providers perform a mental-status examination as well.

In addition to providing treatment that is appropriate to the diagnosis, determining the presence of mental illnesses that may co-occur (be comorbid) with schizophrenia is important in improving the life of individuals with schizophrenia. For example, people with schizophrenia are at increased risk of having a depressive or anxiety disorder and of committingsuicide.

 



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