Schizophrenia Disorder & Treatment
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness characterized by illogical thoughts, bizarre behavior and speech, and delusions or hallucinations, such as hearing voices.  The symptoms of schizophrenia interrupt a person’s typical emotions, behaviors, and abilities. The good news is that schizophrenia treatment can help control the symptoms for many people, enabling you to lead independently, and have a productive life.
Identifying who is at risk and how to prevent schizophrenia from occurring has been an important focus of researchers for years. In fact, a complete psychiatric exam by your doctor will be required to make a diagnosis.
Early Signs to Severe Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is an uncommon condition, affecting around 0.25% to 0.64% of people in the United States. It can have a profound impact on a person’s life, as well as the lives of those around them.
See below the early signs and major symptoms of this disorder:
- Isolating oneself from friends and family
- Difficulty completing normal daily activities
- Disorganized thinking, such as trouble focusing or paying attention
- Sleep problems
- Irritability and agitation
- Hallucinations (hallucinations are experiences that appear real but are created by your mind including seeing things, hearing voices, or smelling things that others around you do not experience)
- Delusions (means you believe something despite facts to the contrary)
- Agitated body movements or strange postures
- Disorganized thinking or speech (you change topics rapidly when speaking or use made-up words)
- Difficulty in controlling impulses
- Odd emotional responses
- Loss of interest or excitement in life
- You cannot use learned information to make decisions
- Also, being unaware of your symptoms or loss of insights
Causes of Schizophrenia
Medical researchers believe that several factors can contribute which include biological, genetic, and environmental factors.
There is ongoing research about the abnormalities in brain structure and how they can cause schizophrenia to an individual. Researchers also believe that low levels of certain brain chemicals which affect emotions and behavior may contribute to this mental disorder.
As with genetics, you will have a higher risk of developing this disorder if you have a family history of schizophrenia. Moreover, other risk factors for schizophrenia may include:
- Using mind-altering drugs
- Exposure to toxins or a virus before birth or during infancy
- Having an inflammatory or an autoimmune disease
- High-stress levels
To reclaim your life from this disorder, it is extremely important to seek out schizophrenia treatment. Above all, this mental illness increases the risk of serious complications including:
- Family problems
- Self-injury or suicide
- Alcohol or drug use
- A higher risk for poverty and homelessness as schizophrenia may severely affect your functionality
Schizophrenia Treatment, Diagnosis, and Tests
You will need to see a psychiatrist or mental health professional as there is not a single test to diagnose schizophrenia. And then, you will be asked about your medical history, mental health, and family medical history during your appointment.
The following tests for schizophrenia treatment may include:
- A physical exam
- Blood work
- Imaging tests, including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scan
Substance abuse can also cause similar symptoms of schizophrenia, as well as certain medications and other mental illnesses. To summarize, your doctor may diagnose schizophrenia if you have had at least two symptoms for one month. And these symptoms must include disorganized speech, hallucinations, and delusions.
Schizophrenia Treatment Program
To begin with, there is no cure for schizophrenia. You will need lifelong treatment if you are diagnosed with this disorder. In this case, treatments can control or reduce the severity of your symptoms.
It is important to get treatment from a psychiatrist or mental health professional who already has experience in treating people with this disorder. You may also work with case managers or social workers.
Medications – Antipsychotic medication is the most effective treatment for the symptoms of schizophrenia. It will help to stop symptoms including delusions and hallucinations. Medical researchers had theorized that these medications work by correcting the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain. In fact, antipsychotic medications are effective in helping 4 out of 5 people who take them.
Side effects of antipsychotic medications are common and may include shakiness, slowness or sluggishness, abnormal movement of the tongue and jaw, and sexual problems. The medication can as well increase some of the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Consequently, antidepressants are sometimes prescribed to be taken with antipsychotic medications.
Schizophrenia treatment is usually most effective when started early. Keep in mind that it may take several weeks to see the medications’ full effect. Hence, therapies and medications when combined can make the treatment program more effective.
Therapies – Cognitive-behavioral therapy or talk therapy can extremely be useful in helping people gain the skills they need to function in their daily activities. In fact, it is one of the most effective and common therapies for any mental illness.
Furthermore, Electroconvulsive therapy may be recommended to you if antipsychotic medications are not effective.
A 2014 study reported that even with treatment, only 20 percent of individuals with the disorder reported favorable outcomes.  Others are still experiencing schizophrenia symptoms for the remainder of their lives and almost 5 percent of people with this disorder die by suicide.
Successful schizophrenia treatment programs usually involve families in the process as they decrease the need for hospitalization and improve social functioning.
Above all, the right schizophrenia treatment for you can bring you a symptom-free life. Following your doctor’s recommendations will improve your prognosis even if the symptoms go away for a while and then return.
Schizophrenia Treatment & Prevention
According to the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 3 out of every 5 people diagnosed with schizophrenia will get better with treatment. Therefore, to get on the road to improvement, it is important that you learn about your condition, understand the risk factors, and you follow your doctor’s schizophrenia treatment plan.
According to U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information, the comorbidity of schizophrenia and substance abuse has attracted increasing attention in the past years. Potential links, including genetic vulnerability, neurobiological aspects, side effects of medications, and psychosocial factors are being under discussion. The link between the use of substances and the development of psychoses is demonstrated by the high prevalence of substance abuse in schizophrenia. 
Here at We Level Up NJ Treatment Center, our professional and caring staff are driven to guide you and your loved one through this vital journey in a safe, therapeutic, and comfortable environment.
We understand that long-term recovery does not come in a one-size-fits-all program. For this reason, each client, upon arrival at our drug treatment center, will undergo an extensive and comprehensive physical and psychological exam with our team of physicians, counselors, mental health specialists, spiritual advisers, and nutritionists. Together, we will determine what the client’s underlying issues are so we can then tailor-fit an individualized approach and, when appropriate, provide integrated dual-diagnosis treatment.
 – https://www.apa.org/topics/schizophrenia / – American Psychological Association
 – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4159061/ – National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine
 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3181760/ – National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine