Schizophrenia is a formal thought disorder characterized by both positive and negative symptoms. These are the people who you see living under the bridges sometimes talking to themselves. They make-up 66% of the homeless population. This disease finds itself equally distibuted between both the male and female genders. It is overall present in about 1% of the general population. It is a treatable illness, but is usually associated with a number of co-morbid illnesses to include substance abuse and depression.
Positive Symptoms are things like hallucinations, bizarre delusions and agitation. Patients with Schizophrenia usually have auditory hallucinations. They often complain of hearing things and you may see them talking to themselves. This could be considered a hallmark sign. In some cases, the may see, taste, smell or feel things. These are all called perceptual disturbances. The more perceptual disturbances present, the sicker a patient most probably is at the time of diagnosis.
Negative Symptoms: affective flattening, social withdrawal, apathy, lack of interest, and poverty of thought and content of speech. This is what you may see in the quiet “Schizophrenic” patient. They usually don’t interact with others and spend most of their days in the basement or looking at video games. Does this sound familiar?
The symptoms have to be present for at least 6 months. The onset is usually between the ages of 17-25 in men and 25-30 in women. There is no identifiable cause of schizophrenia and the prognosis in highly variable. There are a lot of great treatments that can help patients lead a close to normal life. Many of them can work simple jobs and some even have families. However, we do advise genetic counseling before any patient with mental illness gets married and or plan to have children.
1. Which of the following drugs is used to primarily treat Schizophrenia?
a. Prozac (Fluoxetine)
b. Xanax (Alprazolam)
d. All of the above
The answer is C Abilify.
You may have a few more questions about this disease and its presentation. Feel free to call my office and set-up time for consultation. Or if you are experiences any of the above signs/symptoms go immediately to the closest heathcare provider so that you can receive the proper care that you need!