Facts to Know:
- Nearly 1% of Americans have schizophrenia.
- The average onset of schizophrenia for men is late teens to early 20s while the average onset for females is late 20s to early 30s.
- With recovery-oriented treatment, people with schizophrenia can live functional and fulfilling lives.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is an illness that affects a person’s relationships and ability to work or go to school. This illness may cause a person to not always be able to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from reality, have difficulty managing emotions, making decisions and relating to others.
Schizophrenia is different for each person. Generally, 2 of the 5 following symptoms must occur over a 6-month period:
- Delusions (beliefs that a person holds very strongly and denies evidence that contradicts those beliefs)
- Hallucinations (seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling things that others do not)
- Disorganized speech (having a very hard time staying on topic, incoherence)
- Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior (acting in a strange manner, agitation, etc. Catatonia refers to the lack of reactivity to the outside environment and may also include rigid or bizarre postures and mutism or lack of verbal responses)
- Negative symptoms (reduced motivation or interest in doing pleasurable tasks, less ability to show emotion with words or facial expressions)
Some people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia also experience mood symptoms such as depression and anxiety as well as difficulty with cognition such as attention, memory, problem-solving, and completing tasks as quickly as they did before becoming ill.
A diagnosis of schizophrenia is best made by a licensed mental health professional such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or social worker. Radiologic, laboratory and psychometric tests may be used to rule out other conditions and to facilitate treatment planning.
At ColumbiaDoctors, we provide a full array of treatments for schizophrenia. Search our providers for a therapist or psychiatrist who specializes in schizophrenia and may be a good fit for you. In addition, the Lieber Recovery Clinic is a specialized service that offers comprehensive outpatient treatment for people with psychosis with a special emphasis on returning to work, school, and independent living.
Recovery oriented and skills-based behavioral therapies are considered evidence-based treatment for schizophrenia. It has been found that a combination of skills-based treatments, such as social skills training, cognitive remediation and supported employment/education, as well as CBT for psychosis can improve life satisfaction and overall functioning in those with schizophrenia. Therapies may be offered in individual and/or group format. Education about the illness is helpful for families and patients alike. Our therapists are trained in the latest therapy modalities and can help you determine what behavioral therapy is right for you
Most people diagnosed with schizophrenia experience a decline in their ability to pay attention, process, and remember information as well as solve basic problems. Cognitive remediation is a therapy that combines targeted cognitive training exercises with learning compensatory strategies to improve the use of cognitive skills in everyday life, at school, work and in the home.
In most cases, medication management is a very important part of treating schizophrenia. Working with a doctor that you trust as part of the treatment team is essential for finding the right medication, or combination of medications, to alleviate symptoms. Our psychiatrists work with each individual to determine which medications, and at what dose, work best.
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