Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that causes individuals to interpret and respond to reality abnormally. The disorder is chronic and doesn’t have a cure, so lifelong treatment is necessary. It can also be seriously disabling, though there are many treatments available to help to make it manageable. Schizophrenia has a variety of symptoms, such as delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thoughts and behaviors, which often impact day-to-day functioning and relationships. Early diagnosis and treatment help prevent the development of serious complications. Schizophrenia manifests differently in every individual who has it. Hallucinations occur when the patient sees or hears things that aren’t there. Delusions are beliefs that aren’t true. Individuals with schizophrenia also tend to exhibit disorganized speech, abnormal physical behavior, and a lack of ability to function.
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Prescription medication tends to be the first line of treatment. The most common type of medication prescribed is an antipsychotic. Antipsychotics help treat symptoms of psychosis, such as paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. The goal is to reduce symptoms so the patient can perceive reality and engage in rational thought processes. Two types of antipsychotic are on the market: typical and atypical. Typical antipsychotics, also called conventional or first-generation antipsychotics, are antipsychotics that have been used to treat schizophrenia for a long time. They have proven results, but they also often have pronounced side effects that can cause distress and issues with functioning. Atypical antipsychotics are newer, and they’re sometimes more expensive, especially if a generic version hasn’t been released onto the market yet, but they also tend to cause fewer side effects. Since there are many different options, patients can try a few if need be. Schizophrenia involves memory issues, problems keeping track of time, and problems understanding the necessity of medication, so it’s important to have a strong support network and plan to keep from missing doses.
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