Schizophrenia is one of the most misunderstood mental disorders. While the exact nature of the disorder varies between patients, treatments have helped many sufferers improve their lives. Through effective schizophrenia drug treatment, many are able to live normal lives.
Too often, the media portrays schizophrenia as multiple personality disorder, a controversial disorder that some psychologists argue is psychological and not neurological in nature. Those who suffer from schizophrenia do not display multiple personalities but instead have severely disorganized thought processes. The hallmark symptom of schizophrenia is difficulty separating reality from fantasy, and this can manifest in several ways.
Hallucinations are common in schizophrenia. Many sufferers hear voices. While hearing voices is present in many mental disorders, the voices heard by schizophrenics often instruct them to perform certain activities. Even after extensive therapy, sufferers sometimes have trouble convincing themselves that these voices are not real. Sufferers will sometimes even see people speaking to them who are not there. These hallucinations can be confusing and frightening, and they can make it difficult to live a normal life.
Delusions are common as well. Sufferers may believe that they are a deity or think that they have instructions from a deity. Delusions of grandeur are also common, and schizophrenics may believe that they have superhuman abilities. In severe cases, these delusions can even cause sufferers to act dangerously. Schizophrenics often have trouble organizing their thoughts. This can manifest as an inability to speak clearly, and many have trouble speaking in a manner that follows a rational thought pattern. They may also dress strangely or have trouble completing tasks.
The treatment for schizophrenia centers around medication. Antipsychotic medication is used first, and improvement can sometimes be seen within a week. There are a number of different medications available, and sufferers may need to try several before they find one that works.
Ongoing therapy is important as well. Medications often cannot fully alleviate symptoms, but they can allow patients to manage what symptoms remain. With the help of a therapist, sufferers can develop techniques for handling acute symptoms while balancing their lives in other ways. While the road to successful treatment can be long, most patients are able to improve their lives over time.