Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects an individual’s thinking capacity, emotions and behavior pattern(s) to an extent that they seem to have lost contact with the reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental and behavioral disorders (it affects about 1 in every 100 people during their lifetime), it is a long-term illness and can be extremely disabling. People with symptoms of schizophrenia present complex behavioral and cognitive dysfunctionality, they find it hard to think rationally and may experience unusual things such as hearing strange voices or having false or bizarre beliefs.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
The complexity of symptoms is typical of schizophrenia. It manifests differently in everyone, which makes it important to consider the specific needs of the patient(s) in order to assist them and plan treatment. The symptomatic trends around it
A person suffering from schizophrenia may experience some thoughts, emotions or indulge into behavior(s) that were not present earlier or are not experienced by people in general. Such symptoms are called positive symptoms. These include:
Hallucinations- distorted perception of the things around or perceiving (hearing voices, seeing, smelling or feeling things) when the external stimuli are not present.
Delusions- unshakable false beliefs which are different from reality or awkward. Example, a person may have a delusion of others controlling his/her actions and thoughts.
Abnormal motor symptoms – catatonia, where the affected person does not move or respond to others; repetitive unusual bodily movements; psychomotor slowing.
Thought disorder- disorganized thinking, absurd content and flow of thoughts.
Negative symptoms are those thinking, emotional or behavioral aspects of normal functioning that are absent or diminish in person with the disorder. People presenting negative symptoms need support in everyday chores as their functionality is severely affected. These include:
Social withdrawal- avoids social engagements or prefers being isolated most of the time.
Inability to regulate and express emotions.
Lack of motivation or drive.
Diminished capacity to experience pleasure.
Deteriorating thinking capacity and speech.
A person with schizophrenia experiences the significant disturbance in higher mental functioning. These include:
Difficulty in understanding and comprehending information.
Inability to focus or sustain attention.
Diminished capacity to make decisions.
Difficulty in retaining and remembering information- poor memory.
Considering the complexities of such mental and behavioral disorders, our trained professionals deem in treating patients having psychiatric disorders with care and compassion. Only the experts from the fields of psychiatry & psychology see and assess patient and the family to make a case summary based on which an informed diagnosis is made by experienced Psychiatrist.
Family history and substance abuse related questions are asked from the family members and it is expected of them to provide honest answers to the questions so that treatment procedures go well.
Schizophrenia may be caused by a combination of genetic and psycho-social (environmental) factors that leads to biochemical imbalances in the brain. At Tulasi Healthcare, we offer comprehensive care for persons diagnosed with schizophrenia- medical treatment (pharmacotherapy) and psychosocial rehabilitation (Psychotherapy).
Antipsychotics are prescribed in most cases as they regulate the levels of biochemical functions (neurotransmitters) in the brain and control symptoms. Some common side effects of antipsychotic drugs may be:
Antipsychotic drugs, besides being able to manage current symptoms, are also recommended after treatment to prevent relapse.
We firmly believe that psychological intervention combined with medication is essential for effective management of our patients. Our psychosocial rehabilitation program has helped many of our patients with schizophrenia to lead enriched lives. By means of a patient-centered approach, we aim to provide emotional support and motivation to the patients helping them establish a trusting relationship with the therapist that would facilitate their recovery. Psychological interventions with counselling help them restore their self-esteem and self-confidence. Based on the course of illness and specific needs, our expert therapists practice different approaches with patients to bring desired behavioral changes.
The Rehabilitation program at Tulasi also includes following group activities focused on the overall psychosocial development of individuals:
Yoga has significant benefits to people diagnosed with schizophrenia. It enhances physical health and can be mindful for some, decreases negative symptoms, helps control anxiety, reduces the side effects of medication etc.
Meditation helps control the mind and body. It helps in practicing control over thoughts and emotions, increases concentration and improves attention.
Dance therapy brings back the essence of joy and enhances social skills, movement facilitates emotional expression and helps regain physical strength.
Listening to music and musical activities is a great way to involve patients in activities; it reduces depression, anxiety and negative symptoms like emotional withdrawal.
Art activities like drawing, clay making etc. help patients express themselves freely, explore and interact with others.
Family Education and engagement facilitates the treatment process. Families are educated about the illness, the treatment and how to deal with the patient, including how to behave, maintaining recovery and preventing relapse.
We encourage our patients to become self-dependent in various aspects- such as social skills, self-care which includes the use of public transportation, daily chores and activities, managing their own routine and control over the lifestyle to some extent.
To ensure long-term benefits of the treatment we choose the combination of complementary interventions and approaches that are most favorable to the patient.
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