What is Schizophrenia?Schizophrenia is defined as a chronic mental disorder in which a person loses touch with reality (psychosis). Schizophrenia is divided into subtypes based on the “predominant symptomatology at the time of evaluation. The clinical picture is dominated by relatively stable and often persecutory delusions that are usually accompanied by hallucinations, particularly of the auditory variety (hearing voices), and perceptual disturbances. These symptoms can have a huge effect on functioning and can negatively affect quality of life. Paranoid schizophrenia is a lifelong disease, but with proper treatment, a person with the illness can attain a higher quality of life.
What is Paranoid Schizophrenia?
Paranoid schizophrenia represents the most common of the many sub-types of the debilitating mental illness known collectively as schizophrenia. People with all types of schizophrenia become lost in psychosis of varying intensity, causing them to lose touch with reality. Untreated, people with psychotic disorders lose their ability to function in daily life. Paranoid schizophrenia, also called schizophrenia, paranoid type, is a sub-type of schizophrenia as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It has been the most common type of schizophrenia.
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What happens in Paranoid Schizophrenia?
Typically, a paranoid schizophrenic experiences auditory hallucinations along with deluded thought processes and beliefs. They often believe others plot and conspire against them or their family members. They tend to fare better than those suffering from one of the other sub-types. They experience fewer issues with concentration, memory, and emotional apathy, allowing them to function better in everyday life.
Causes of Paranoid Schizophrenia:[Quick Navigation]
Think of any genetic predisposition for developing psychotic disorders as rows of levers or switches. People and events represent your environment. If a person, event, or combination of these flips your switches at certain of times and in a particular order, you develop signs of paranoid schizophrenia. These initial signs signal the onset of the disorder. Research studies indicate that an imbalance of brain chemicals contributes to the onset of the first psychotic episode, leading to a paranoid schizophrenia symptoms.
Risk factors that increase chances of a paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis include:
- Family history of psychotic disorders
- Exposure to a viral infection in the womb
- Fetal malnutrition
- Stress in early childhood
- Sexual or physical abuse
- Older parental age
- Use of psychoactive drugs during adolescence
Early Warning Signs
These are early warning signs of illness,
- Withdrawal from friends and family.
- A drop in performance at school.
- Trouble sleeping.
- Irritability or depressed mood.
- Lack of motivation.
Symptoms of Paranoid Schizophrenia:
Patients often describe life with paranoid schizophrenia as a dark and fragmented world – a life marked by suspicion and isolation where voices and visions torment them in a daily waking nightmare.
Common paranoid schizophrenia symptoms may include:
- Auditory disturbances – hearing things that are not real (more on hallucinations and delusions)
- Unexplained anger
- Emotional disconnectedness
- Severe anxiety and agitation
- Argumentative behavior
- Violent tendencies (more on violent behaviors)
- Delusions of grandeur – self-importance and believing he or she possesses special powers
- Frequent suicidal thoughts and behavior
Paranoid Delusions :When suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, you feel that others are conspiring against you. As these paranoid thoughts intensify, you may behave aggressively or commit violence in self-defense against those you believe plan to cause harm to you or a loved one. You may also think you possess special powers, such as the ability to breathe under water or fly like a bird. You may believe you’re famous or that a famous person wants to date you. Even though others present contrary evidence, you hold onto these beliefs anyway.
Auditory hallucinations that are unpleasant and cruel – Imagine sitting in your living room. You hear voices in the room, but no one else can hear them. You might hear one person’s voice or two or more people conversing. They may talk to you or about you amongst each other. They criticize you; cruelly poke fun at your real or perceived flaws. Suddenly, one of the voices orders you to hurt someone else or yourself. Although not real, to you they absolutely are.
Diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia:
The diagnosis of schizophrenia requires the presence of symptoms for certain periods of time in order to successfully diagnose a person with schizophrenia. A person must exhibit two or more core symptoms for a minimum of one month, such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, or negative symptoms.
There also must be significant impairment for the person at work, with academic performance, interpersonal relationships, and the ability to take care of oneself. These symptoms must continue for a minimum of six months with the first symptoms continuing for at least one month.
Paranoid schizophrenia is differentiated by the presence of hallucinations and delusions involving the perception of persecution or grandiosity in one's beliefs about the world.
People with paranoid schizophrenia are often more articulate or "normal" seeming than other people with schizophrenia, such as hebephrenic-afflicted individuals. The diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia is given with the presence of bizarre delusions or hallucinations that defy the natural laws of basic logical thought processes, or thought disorders and withdrawal due to these thoughts and delusions.
The paranoid subset of schizophrenia tends to have a better prognosis than other subtypes (hebephrenic and simple in particular) as the intellect and personality is relatively preserved, thus enabling a greater degree of cognitive and interpersonal functioning.
Treatment of Paranoid Schizophrenia:
Treatment of paranoid schizophrenia involves a lifelong commitment; no cure for schizophrenia exists. Treatment, essentially the same for all types of the disorder, varies based on symptom intensity and severity, patient medical history, age, and other individually relevant factors.
Treatments for paranoid schizophrenia require a team of medical and mental health professionals as well as social workers. Treatment strategies may include one or more of several options:
1. Antipsychotic Medications for Paranoid SchizophreniaAntipsychotic medications (both traditional and atypical), psychotherapy for patient and family, hospitalization, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and social skills development training.
For psychotherapeutic and other non-pharmaceutical interventions to work, doctors must first control paranoid schizophrenia symptoms. They accomplish this by prescribing one or more antipsychotic drugs. For the drugs to do their work effectively, the patient must comply with the physician orders by closely adhering to dosing instructions and schedule.
Medication non-compliance represents a significant problem in the efficacy of treatment and eventual recovery of paranoid schizophrenic patients. A high percentage of patients choose to stop taking their medications during the first year of treatment, allowing psychosis to return and the debilitating clutches of the disorder to take over once again.
Paranoid schizophrenia is an illness that typically requires lifelong treatment with narcoleptics to allow someone to have a relatively stable and normal lifestyle. In order to be successfully treated, a person with schizophrenia should seek help from family or primary care doctors, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, pharmacists, family members, case workers, psychiatric nurses, or social workers, provided he or she is not unable to do so, due to many people with schizophrenia having the inability to accept their condition. Non-compliance with narcoleptics may also occur if the patient considers the side effects (such as extra pyramidal symptoms) to be more debilitating than the condition itself. The main options that are offered for the treatment of paranoid schizophrenia are the following: narcoleptics, psychotherapy, hospitalization, electroconvulsive therapy, and vocational skills training.
There are many different types of disorders that have similar symptoms to paranoid schizophrenia. There are tests that psychiatrists perform to achieve a correct diagnosis. They include "psychiatric evaluation, in which the doctor or psychiatrist will ask a series of questions about the patient's symptoms, psychiatric history, and family history of mental health problems; medical history and exam, in which the doctor will ask about one's personal and family health history and will also perform a complete physical examination to check for medical issues that could be causing or contributing to the problem; laboratory tests in which the doctor will order simple blood and urine tests can rule out other medical causes of symptoms". There are side effects associated with antipsychotic medication. Narcoleptics can cause high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Many people who take them exhibit weight gain and have a higher risk of developing diabetes.
Tips of how to prevent Paranoid SchizophreniaSome tips include:
- Take medicine as instructed. Do this even if schizophrenia symptoms have gone away. Stopping medicine is the most common cause of relapses. How quickly this happens varies. It can be days, weeks, or months after stopping.
- Work closely with your doctor to find the lowest dose to control symptoms, as well as the best method and type of medication. For example, a once-a-month, long-acting antipsychotic given by a shot helps some people stay on track.
- Avoid alcohol and illegal drugs. They make symptoms worse and a relapse more likely. Friends and family members can help you find services that treat substance abuse problems.
- Find positive ways to manage stress. For people with schizophrenia, stress can trigger symptoms. When you feel overwhelmed, step back and take a break. If you're supporting a friend or relative with schizophrenia, try to help them find healthy ways to relax.
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