What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is categorized as a thought disorder that consists of symptoms revolving around a person’s ability to perceive reality as it is and/or a person’s mind creating visual sights or auditory sounds that aren’t there. Schizophrenia interferes with the way a person behaves, thinks, and feels, often resulting in the individual being prone to false, delusional beliefs about themselves or others. Schizophrenia may also make it difficult for an individual to concentrate, manage emotions, make decisions, or develop normal motivations, causing an individual to become unusually anxious, unresponsive, or withdrawn in social situations

The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown. A combination of causes, such as genetics, brain chemistry and structure, stress, and psychoactive drugs such as LSD may contribute to the development of the disorder. Evidence also suggests that changes in body chemistry during puberty may also play a role. Researchers have recently theorized that there’s a link between schizophrenia and brain development problems that occur in fetuses when the pregnant woman contracts certain viruses (influenza, toxoplasmosis and rubella). Genital or reproductive infections present in the mother during conception may also increase the baby’s future risk of developing schizophrenia.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia typically includes a cluster of symptoms, some of which overlap with other mental illnesses (like depression or bipolar disorder). Due to overlapping symptoms, mental health professionals base diagnoses on symptoms that persist for at least six months. Individuals with schizophrenia may have episodic symptoms, while others have long-lasting symptoms.
Symptoms will vary in each individual, but common symptoms include:

Treatment For Schizophrenia

An individual can learn to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia successfully, however, the treatment must be individualized considering the person’s history, motivation, and response to suggestions. At Lifeskills, we treat schizophrenia using our Cognitive Remediation Therapy (CRT) Pathway.

The CRT Pathway is used to treat clients with thought disorders that are experiencing cognitive deficits including problems with attention, memory, processing speed, facial recognition, and other social deficits. The pathway uses BrainHQ which is a computer-based cognitive rehabilitation training program that helps people think more clearly and quickly. Using brain games and interpersonal skills groups, the pathway helps clients improve their attention, memory, problem-solving, organizational, and planning skills. Our CRT Pathway also uses other types of therapy, psychoeducation, and medications to help stop the cognitive decline and in some instances reverse it

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