Symptoms of schizophrenia affect the day-to-day lives of people living with the disorder and treatment is an ongoing requirement, especially where a person shows severe symptoms that may include positive and negative symptoms.

Therapy sessions work hand-in-hand with medication, and gives the psychologist an opportunity to accurately assess symptoms [Image: yanalya/Freepik].

Positive symptoms

Called positive symptoms as they are highly exaggerated ideas and perceptions experienced by a person diagnosed with schizophrenia and include:2

  • Delusional behaviour
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganised thinking and speech
  • Extremely disorganised or abnormal motor behaviour that may present itself in numerous ways and may include behavioural abnormalities such as childlike silliness or unpredictable agitation.
  • Resistance to instructions
  • Inappropriate or bizarre posture
  • Complete lack of response
  • Useless or excessive movement patterns

Negative symptoms

Called negative symptoms because the person diagnosed lacks normal, mental functions such as:2

  • Neglect of personal hygiene
  • Lack of emotion
  • Lack of expression
  • Loss of interest in daily activities

Treating schizophrenia the right way

The symptoms of schizophrenia vary from person to person, which is why it’s so important to seek help from a healthcare professional. Some treatment options recommended by healthcare professionals may include:3

Daily medication3

Depending on the severity of symptoms, a healthcare professional will recommend daily, oral medication, which will be an effective symptom management solution. The disadvantages include,

  • The person may be reluctant to take daily medication, which could result in their symptoms becoming more aggressive.
  • They may quit the medication once their symptoms lessen, believing they no longer require treatment. This may cause symptoms to reappear with a higher frequency.

Monthly injectables

These are administered by a healthcare professional and are effective in managing symptoms of schizophrenia for longer periods. The advantages of injectables include:

  • Healthcare professionals track the progress of treatment and symptom management.
  • By managing symptoms for up to 30 days, it reduces the possibility of a person resisting treatment and relapsing to symptoms that may result in self-harm.

Talk therapy

Therapy sessions work hand-in-hand with medication, and gives the psychologist an opportunity to accurately assess symptoms. Should the symptoms become more aggressive, the supporting psychiatrist may recommend a higher dosage of medication. Other benefits include,4

  • A psychologist addresses the symptoms with a person, educating them how to manage delusional thoughts and hallucinations.
  • Medical professionals report a higher recovery rate with effective symptom management.

Schizophrenia treatment options have come a long way thanks to research and development from pharmaceutical companies. Each treatment option works differently, for different people, which is why a support system and complementary therapy is necessary. To truly help someone living with schizophrenia, caregivers should have a good understanding of the disorder and how to better impact positive change in the lives of their loved ones living with schizophrenia.5

References:

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care. – Last accessed 28/10/2020