Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Psychosocial Treatment Is Critical for Schizophrenia

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Psychosocial Treatment Is Critical for Schizophrenia

Article excerpt

DEAR DOCTOR K: There is a history of schizophrenia in my family. I'd like to learn more about it. Can it be treated?

DEAR READER: Schizophrenia is a long-lasting psychotic disorder. People with the condition have a hard time recognizing reality, thinking logically and behaving naturally in social situations. Having a parent or sibling with schizophrenia increases your risk of developing it.

The symptoms of schizophrenia are often defined as "positive" (remarkable because of their presence) or "negative" (remarkable because of their absence). Positive symptoms include:

* Delusions: distorted thoughts or false beliefs. A delusional person may speak of people who aren't real. She may imagine she is in communication with people who are dead. He may believe he is capable of impossible feats.

* Hallucinations: hearing, seeing, touching, smelling or tasting things that aren't there. The most common hallucinations involve hearing voices, music, noises like those made by machinery, or other sounds.

* Disorganized speech.

* Unusual movements or disorganized behavior.

Negative symptoms include:

* An absence of much emotion -- happy or sad. Just a flat, unexpressive appearance.

* Limited speech: great difficulty in carrying on a conversation.

* Trouble starting, continuing or completing any particular activity, including activities as simple as washing the dishes.

Many people with schizophrenia experience a steady decline of logical thinking, social skills and behavior. …

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