Schizophrenia is a life-altering illness that affects you and your loved ones. Receiving a diagnosis and the proper treatment as soon as you recognize the signs can help reduce schizophrenia’s harmful symptoms in your life.
Advanced Psychiatry Associates provides the care you need at our facilities. We care about your happiness and mental well-being — we’ll work with you and learn more about you to develop a schizophrenia treatment that lets you take control of your life.
What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental illness consisting of active delusions, hallucinations, the perception of hearing voices, paranoia and exaggerated perceptions. Despite what many believe, schizophrenia is not the same as split personality or multiple personality disorder.
Schizophrenia can have several causes, with the three most common being:
- Chemical signal imbalances with dopamine and glutamate neurotransmitters
- A loss of connections in the brain
- Complications with brain development before birth
While the suspected causes have not been confirmed, there are risk factors related to developing schizophrenia, including:
- The environment: Several factors can influence your risk of schizophrenia, such as exposure to toxins or viruses. Some autoimmune diseases or infections can also affect your brain and neurotransmitter connections.
- Developmental complications: Your developmental progress as a fetus can interfere with your mental health in the future, creating a higher risk for schizophrenia. Developmental concerns are especially possible if your birth parent had preeclampsia, malnutrition, gestational diabetes or a vitamin D deficiency while pregnant.
- Recreational drug use: Taking psychoactive or psychotropic drugs recreationally as a teen or young adult can impact your brain health, increasing your chances of developing schizophrenia. After taking these drugs for a certain amount of time, it can be challenging for your brain to determine what is real vs. what is your imagination.
- Childhood trauma: There is also a correlation between trauma and development of schizophrenia — particularly childhood trauma. The effects of specific gene variants can interact with trauma to change brain functioning, and trauma itself can have neurobiological effects on bodily systems and certain areas of the brain.
Experts are still discovering more about schizophrenia. Initially, they broke it down into five categories — paranoid, hebephrenic, residual, catatonic and undifferentiated schizophrenia. However, these subtypes proved unproductive in diagnosis, as most symptoms could not be placed under the criteria of each category. Now, schizophrenia is thought of as a spectrum disorder, including conditions such as:
- Schizotypal personality disorder
- Delusional disorder
- Brief psychotic disorder
- Schizophreniform disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder
The most common time for a person to receive a schizophrenia diagnosis is in their late teens and early 20s. However, individuals sometimes receive a diagnosis as late as their early 30s. Some of the first signs of the illness include a loss of interest and motivation, trouble sleeping, strange thoughts, a diminished ability to follow through with responsibilities and withdrawal from friends and loved ones.
What Are the Symptoms of Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia can influence different patients in different ways with varying degrees of severity. However, it’s still crucial for people with this illness to get psychiatric treatment. If left untreated, these signs can worsen and become symptoms that significantly affect the patient’s quality of life. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Disorganized thinking: Schizophrenia can cause cognitive issues, such as the inability to focus on tasks or the tendency to jump from one subject to another in conversation. A person might also have memory issues, making them seem forgetful and scattered.
- Delusions and hallucinations: Some of the most well-known effects of schizophrenia are delusions and hallucinations, which can alter the patient’s sense of reality. Those affected by schizophrenia may hear, see, feel, taste or smell sensations that aren’t there. Similarly, some patients can develop false beliefs — these range from the patient thinking they’re stronger or more powerful than they are to thinking others are trying to hurt or manipulate them.
- Apathy: People who live with schizophrenia sometimes experience apathy, which involves a lack of interest in life or the activities they would otherwise enjoy. This is an example of a negative symptom in schizophrenia — the reduction of a regular trait or behavior. A person may also have diminished expressions and unusual perceptions and experience social withdrawal.
- Inappropriate emotional expression: Schizophrenia patients commonly deal with emotions in abnormal ways. This includes either failing to respond or responding minimally to major positive and negative events. Other patients can also display inappropriate emotional reactions in situations that usually elicit expressions.
How to Treat Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia has no known cure, but certain treatments can help manage its symptoms. Advanced Psychiatry Associates provides the following treatment options:
- Medication management: Physicians often address schizophrenia with antipsychotic medications, which block how your brain misuses certain chemicals for cellular communication. As part of your treatment plan, our professionals will prescribe you the proper medication for your individual situation and put you on a schedule suiting your medical needs.
- Psychotherapy and counseling: Our psychotherapy and counseling services let you engage in a healthy, open discussion with a medical specialist as you undergo schizophrenia treatment. Our specialists can help you develop coping strategies to implement daily, making schizophrenia more manageable for you and your loved ones. Long-term psychotherapy and counseling can also address any secondary conditions arising from schizophrenia, including depression or anxiety.
- Genetic testing: Our goal is to help you improve your mental health as safely and quickly as possible, which is why our schizophrenia treatment center uses genetic testing to remedy this mental health problem at its root. Your test results help us determine which medications will most effectively treat your condition.
Receive Help From a Schizophrenia Specialist in California
At Advanced Psychiatry Associates, we strive to provide care that will help you and other mental health patients lead happier, more productive lives. Schizophrenia diagnosis and treatment can be a challenging long-term process, but it can also make a major difference in your daily life and the lives of the people you care about.
Our staff has years of experience working in the mental health field and is prepared to find you the services you need. At your initial appointment, we will take the time to get to know you and learn more about your diagnosis. We can then talk about your treatment goals and options at our facility. Each appointment after will be treatment-based, following a personalized plan to meet your needs.
Contact Advanced Psychiatry Associates for Schizophrenia Treatment
Advanced Psychiatry Associates has several locations around the Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego areas. Contact us at a location near you today!
“I’ve been going here over a year now. I’ve always been treated professionally. Everyone is so nice. My clinicians are courteous and caring. Everyone I’ve dealt with has treated me respectfully while I’ve been learning to deal with my diagnoses. Highly recommend this office!”