Schizophrenia

January 11th, 2009

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a severe brain disorder that affects millions of people worldwide today. It has affected approximately 2.7 million Indian populations. It is one of the poorly understood medical conditions affecting human being. People with schizophrenia not only suffer from frightening symptoms, withdrawal from the immediate world but also frequently results in profound distress to the family members. However this illness is treatable, and new discoveries and treatments are continually improving the outlook for people with this disorder. This illness may start suddenly or in a gradual manner often starting with lack of motivation, fearfulness, hearing of voices and unusual behaviors.

What are the symptoms of Schizophrenia?

Following are some important symptoms of schizophrenia a person may show:

Unusual fearfulness without any basis, suspecting others are trying to harm, follow, plotting against or implicating in some trick

Bizarre beliefs such as aliens controlling him or ability to influence tasks of immense proportion such as the creation of the world

Hearing voices of people not present around or seeing things or people not seen by others

Utterly strange behaviors such as talking or smiling to oneself frequently, assuming postures and maintaining them for long time, sudden violence without any apparent reason or becoming quiet and often bed ridden for long time without speaking or concern for food

Disturbed sleep often as a result of fearfulness, erratic eating habit, inability to relate with family members and friends and poor personal care like wearing dirty dresses for weeks together, not taking bath or brushing teeth and so on

There may be idea or attempt to harm self, suicide or cause injury to others in reaction to annoyances, suspiciousness or extreme fearfulness

When illness become severe person may becomes aimless, home bound, loose job, remains absorbed in self, avoid contact with people and wanders in street when left by family members and not treated

Unfortunately in most cases the person is not able to realize that he or she is ill and does not accept that they need any help, hence refusing visit to a psychiatrist.

Why does one have Schizophrenia?

The exact cause of schizophrenia is not known yet. Various factors are associated with the development of schizophrenia.
Biological factors- Disturbance of the brain chemical dopamine has been to shown to be one of the important factors for development of schizophrenia. Some of the acute symptoms of schizophrenia are result of excess of dopamine in the certain part (mesolimbic area) of the brain. Other factors such as genetic, exposure to influenza during gestational period and birth related minor injuries may also be associated.
Psychosocial factors- Faulty upbringing of a child was earlier thought to be a cause of schizophrenia, which is no more believed today. Excessive emotions towards the patient, both positive (such as over concern) and negative (such as constant nagging) may influence the expression and track of the illness but not a causative factor.

Treatment

Fortunately Schizophrenia is a treatable condition. Various drugs have been developed to treat Schizophrenia which helps in rectifying abnormalities in the brain. The treatment of Schizophrenia depends on the duration of illness and the treatment should be comprehensive i.e. pharmacological as well as non-pharmacological. Pharmacological treatment includes treatment with drugs like Oleanz, Resperidone, Haloperidol etc.Quel SR (Quel SR is quitiapine sustained release tablets manufactured by Innova pharmaceuticals) andSulpitac (Tablet sulpitac is amisulpride manufactured by SUN pharmaceuticals. This is available in the strength of 50mg, 100mg, 200mg and 300mg tablets) , Nexipride (Nexipride is tablet levosulpride manufactured by SUN pharmaceuticals). This is available in the strength of 50mg and 100 mg (amisulpride) are two new drugs with good efficacy and less side effect. The treatment of Schizophrenia is long term and follow up with the psychiatrist is important to maintain the patient symptom free.

The medications for Schizophrenia should be taken as per prescription of psychiatrist and regular follow up is important.

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