Schizophrenia

The symptoms of schizophrenia vary greatly from person to person, from mild to severe. A specialist is needed to make the diagnosis, especially because there are no diagnostic tests. A person with schizophrenia may seem relatively unaffected and can more or less function in society. During relapse, however, it is a different story. People with schizophrenia may experience one or all of these main conditions
• Delusions and/or hallucinations
• Lack of motivation
• Social withdrawal
• Thought disorders

Treatments
A number of medications have been found that help bring biochemical imbalances in many people with schizophrenia closer to normal. Psychotherapy for individuals, groups or families is possible, and can mean a lot to people with schizophrenia and their loved ones. Psychotherapy can offer understanding, reassurance, insights and suggestions for handling the emotional aspects of the disorder and providing less stressful living situations. Families can be a big help. Working closely with health care professionals, family members can learn about the illness. Families can also provide useful information to the health care professionals. They can find ways to support people with schizophrenia and provide a nurturing environment that encourages communication.

Into the Future
With proper and improved medication, extensive community support (especially in housing) and skilled psychotherapy, many people with schizophrenia will be able to function in the community. With these resources to draw from, many people with schizophrenia could live independently, work and enjoy family and friends. The search for a cure continues with hope for success increasing every day.

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