Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Illnesses
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Signs and Symptoms
- Feeling distanced or detached from one’s body or thoughts
- Feeling that the surrounding world is strange or not real
- Feeling unusually excited or feeling down and depressed, experiencing mood swings
- Finding it hard to show emotions or feeling less emotions than other people do
Perceptual or sensory changes
- Hallucinations: having the sense of experiencing something that really isn’t there (eg, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting or feeling things that do not exist in the environment and that others don’t think is there)
- Delusional thinking or false beliefs, having fixed thoughts about something that probably isn’t true and not accepting any logical arguments that it isn’t the case (eg, believing that your thoughts are being controlled by someone else)
- Difficulty concentrating, paying attention and remembering things
- Everyday thoughts can seem confusing, making it hard to understand sentences
- Social isolation or being withdrawn
- Problems with work, social or family life
- Problems with motivation or problems with increased activity
- Responding differently to situations, for example laughing when things don’t seen funny
- Problems with sleep
The Schizophrenia Research Institute Treatment reports that treatment methods for Schizophrenia are based on both clinical research and experience, and aim to stabilise the condition, and reduce the likelihood that psychotic symptoms will return.
Antipsychotic medications first became available in the early 1950s. Second generation antipsychotic medications were introduced in the 1990s. These new medications are less likely to produce the sometimes severe side effects of earlier medicines, although they do have problems of their own, particularly metabolic effects, including weight gain, diabetes and their complications. However, medications of these kinds have allowed many people with schizophrenia to achieve long-term stability by maintaining their regular dosages.
Just as important as medications are psychosocial interventions (services, supports and strategies that aim to change behaviour and support people) which can include:
- Cognitive-behavioural therapy and other psychological interventions.
- Supported employment programs. This can assist people with employment, education and training.
- Case management, social support programs and supported accommodation initiatives.
- Behavioural family management. This can help family members to support and cope more effectively with their ill family member.
Who Can Help
There are a number of Mental Health Professionals who can help you. This can include a General Practitioner, Psychologist, Psychiatrist and Mental Health Nurse.