Schizophrenia is a neurological disorder that is characterized by inconsistency in the order of mental processes. These disorders may adversely affect the coordination of physical processes in the affected person.
Symptoms of schizophrenia are presented as; hallucinations, paranoia, corrupted speech, social skill impairment, among other numerous and variable symptoms.
For the majority of affected people, the disorder appears in the commencement of adulthood. However, there is a lesser possibility that schizophrenia will appear in later stages of life. The excessive use of drugs affecting the brain can enhance a person’s chance of developing schizophrenia. The condition’s development is associated with strenuous mental conditions during the early adulthood. The outcomes of this condition are overwhelmingly adverse. Patients exhibit the extensive emotional impairment and unresponsive behavior.
This symptom is not easily observable, and can only be identified by a trained medical practitioner. However, the most obvious symptoms of schizophrenia are easily identifiable without any specialized knowledge in the medical field. These obvious symptoms include; extremely untidiness, since people with this condition are rarely capable of maintaining basic hygiene. In addition, incoherent speech in which the patient may seem to be talking to another invisible person whose profile may keep changing is common.
Patients of schizophrenia are at most times unresponsive to communication through the normal speech. Schizophrenia can be classified into several categories, according to some psychiatrists. However, others argue that classification of schizophrenic conditions is difficult, since almost all symptoms seem to have a significant level of interaction with each other (Birchwood & Jackson, 2001). Furthermore, Autism, another condition related to schizophrenic mental disorder is said to be a common feature of schizophrenia (Birchwood & Jackson, 2001). The patient seems to be in another world, and is often not responsive to the presence of other people.
Various methods of treatment of the disorder have been tried with a wide range of responses. Some methods have resulted in worsening of the patient’s condition, while others have resulted in the remarkable positive improvement. However, no single mode of treatment has been repeatedly successful in attaining the full recovery from the schizophrenic condition. Cognitive therapies, conventional pharmacological prescriptions, and a myriad of therapeutic treatments have been applied in trying to treat schizophrenic condition with debatable levels of success (Gaebel, 2011).
In schizophrenic conditions, where hallucinations and delusions are prominent, cognitive treatment is touted to have a significant ability to ease the symptoms with around 20% effectiveness (Hirsch & Weinberger, 1995). This is the most successful of the methods available for treating the condition.
The therapy targets cognitive dysfunction present in patients with schizophrenic conditions. The cognitive dysfunction features inability to single out relevant details in the relayed information, such as speech, uncoordinated shifting of attention and inability to control the direction of attention. In addition, deterioration of intelligence level is also a common symptom that is cognitive in nature. Cognitive treatment significantly restores psychological functions and facilitates the behavioral change. In one form of procedure, a relationship is forged between the patient and the therapist. The relationship involves development of trust and an emotional bond between the patient and the therapist. The therapist should express interest towards the patient’s favorite subjects. In addition, the therapist should give accounts on his life that are similar to the patient’s past, so that the conversations in which they are involved in present the practical scenes. The bonding sessions should not be more than the patient can withstand. If the patient exhibits anxiety or unsettled condition, the therapist should suggest another activity that does not involve the psychological strain. The patient has to understand the aim of the treatment and agree to it, albeit not formally. The therapist should acquaint his patient with the schizophrenic condition during the sessions, with the therapist taking the leading role in the procedure. During this period, the therapist should be able to identify the problem causing the mental instability. Moreover, the therapist should subconsciously teach the patient on how to cope with psychological stress to avoid worsening of the schizophrenic condition. The patient will show intolerance to any assignments that require mental efforts and will often result in the unusual methods of resolution (Kingdon & Turkington, 2005).
To counter this problem, the therapist should present the psychologically challenging situations, and then teach the patient on how to find a suitable psychological reaction with the aim of reducing the effects on the schizophrenic condition. During therapy, the patient should be assisted to keep track of the activities, in order to be able to evaluate the progress of recovery. It is through the account of the patient’s activities that the psychiatrist is able to gauge the level of consistency and order of the patient’s thoughts. Moreover, the patient should be able to identify situations that present stress and identify the stress itself, and be able to formulate an appropriate and effective response to the situations. The action used to cope with stress should be a subject of interest to the patient to avoid a negative response. In the second phase of treatment, the therapist should focus on social activities, since they are the major source of mental strain for schizophrenic patients. The patient tends to misinterpret the social events and interactions, and this is countered by helping the patient identify the real situations. In case of a reaction to stress, such as delusion or hallucination, the therapist should not try to counter the symptoms directly, but should help the patient to identify the suitable alternative reaction. When the patient shows the significant improvement, then the therapist should try to introduce the concept of responsibility to the patient. The responsibility should be of mild nature to avoid the risk of the counter effective treatment. Emotional turbulence and occasional depression are common phenomena in the course of treatment. If the patient manages the full recovery from the condition, it will be possible for him or her to evaluate the former condition, the course of the therapy and its effects (Kingdon & Turkington, 2005).
Research into the use of pharmacological antipsychotics in treatment of schizophrenia has not been done to an adequate level. Traditional antipsychotics usually produce catalepsy in patients. Most patients have unique reactions to the use of antipsychotics, and finding a drug suitable for all schizophrenic patients is difficult. Furthermore, the characteristics that constitute symptoms of schizophrenia are ill defined, making a pharmacological approach more complicated. However, drugs that do not induce catalepsy in patients have been developed in the late 21st century (Hirsch & Weinberger, 1995).
Tests should be conducted to establish the physical health of an individual before the administering pharmacological treatment of schizophrenia. In addition, the state of internal organs should be examined, to ensure that the patient is fit and able to withstand the inevitable side effects of the drugs. Furthermore, the evaluation of the patient should be done regularly within the cause of treatment.
Overactive transmission of the substance dopamine in the neural system is the major contributor to the positive symptoms in schizophrenic patients. On the other hand, inadequacy of dopamine causes the negative symptoms in the patients. However, there is no incontrovertible evidence to support the theory that dopamine movement disparities are the main cause of symptoms in the patient. This theory sometimes helps in administration of pharmacological treatment.
Neuroleptic drugs are the favored medication for countering effects of dopamine disparities in the neural system with 60% effectiveness (Hirsch & Weinberger, 1995). Despite a wide range of side effects, neuroleptics are able to block D2-like dopamine receptors, which are responsible for the positive clinical symptoms of schizophrenia (Parsy, 1999). These drugs slow down a patient’s response through the inhibitory effect on mesolimbic dopamine pathway. The side effects exhibited by patients on neuroleptics are impairment of movement and loss of general neural motor control. Prolonged use of neuroleptics may result in the uncontrolled facial expressions, involuntary limb movement, anxiety, akathisia and minor convulsions.
Newer neuroleptics suppress negative symptoms of schizophrenia and have an advantage over the typical neuroleptics in that they have minimal extrapyramidal side effects. However, symptoms, such as dryness of the oral cavity, impaired vision and hypotension are consistent even with the modern neuroleptics. Scientists are focusing more on the development of a typical neuroleptics that employ the inhibitory action on 5-HT to avoid the chances of occurrence of extrapyramidal syndrome (Parsy, 1999). However, the exact action that the neuroleptic drugs use to suppress symptoms has not yet been established. This is facilitated by the fact that all neuroleptic drugs that have been developed or are in the course of development have obvious side effects, and several inevitable effects on physiological processes. Effects, such as parkinsonian syndrome, induced by neuroleptics, can be suppressed by the use of muscarinic acetylcholine (Parsy, 1999). Use of antagonistic suppressors, such as muscarinic acetylcholine substances is not recommended for all patients, since some of them may exhibit an increase of tardive dyskinesia, and not all patients have adverse reaction to the use of neuroleptic medication. Akathisia, a condition that is brought about by the administration of neuroleptics, can be controlled by the use of antagonistic beta adrenoreceptor. Administration of benzodiazepine drugs could help minimize the extent of the condition. For an effective curative effect, neuroleptics should be administered in small amount to avoid development of adverse complications. An alternative drug can be administered to produce more effective and less traumatizing compound effect. The use of neuroleptics is one of the most effective medications for treating schizophrenia (Parsy, 1999).
Some cases of schizophrenia fail to respond to the conventional pharmacological and cognitive models of treatment. It is then necessary to commence the acute pharmacological treatment of the condition. Acute pharmacological treatment should not be confused with the conventional pharmacological treatment. The two regimes apply different principles in the execution. This kind of approach is employed in a case where the patient has acute schizophrenia and fails to respond to the conventional treatment. Once acute pharmacological treatment starts, the possibility of the patient spending the rest of her lifetime on medication is very high. In most patients, this is the likely course of action, since the disorder advances with age and is often a chronic condition. Selection of the drug to be used for treatment of schizophrenia is a sensitive issue, and physicians are advised to result into acute treatment using stronger drugs, when the other regimes of rehabilitation prove futile.
Cognitive and pharmacological treatment of schizophrenia has a variety of risks with high chances of occurrence. Sometimes, it is safer to avoid either treatment, in case where the condition is not severe. A simple therapy aimed at rehabilitating the basic behavior of the patient can be adopted. The patients can be taught basic hygiene practices, since schizophrenic people cannot observe basic hygiene by themselves. In case of a family, where parents have a schizophrenic child, family intervention can be employed to reduce criticism of the parent. This is a psychosocial therapeutic measure to counter the severity of schizophrenia and has an estimated effectiveness of 15% (Rubin, & Springer, 2011).
A clinician administering family therapy will have to understand the family itself. In addition, the clinician must investigate the social and economic status of the family, since it constitutes the environment of the schizophrenic individual. In this therapy, the sick person’s family will have to participate in the process of treating the patient. The clinician usually supervises the family, because the stress, due to the condition of one of their members, may be overwhelmingly leading to failure of the therapy. Family therapy involves both treatment and research, in order to understand the underlying cause of the schizophrenic condition. The clinician must be careful not to concentrate more on research than the treatment of the schizophrenic individual. Family therapy helps to improve the relationship between the schizophrenic person and the family members. This is essential for enhancement of the quality of the sick person’s life. The family is more equipped, when it is offered the family intervention and can take care of the sick person (Marley, 2004). Moreover, the family members should be made understand the critical role they play in the recovery of the patient and in determining the patient’s life quality. Basic requirements, such as housing and transport facilities are crucial in ensuring the effectiveness of the family intervention therapy. This therapy is aimed at improving the quality of life of the patient and preventing the worsening of the schizophrenic condition, and might not effectively cure the clinical condition.
In comparison of the three methods of treatment of schizophrenic individuals, none of them has been found to be fully effective in treating schizophrenia. Cognitive therapy is used to deal with mild cases of schizophrenia ,where it may be used alone. This mode of treatment is preferred for pharmacological treatment for mild cases, since it does not involve high risks. However, there is a chance of the patient’s responding in a counterproductive manner. In addition, the treatment must involve professional therapist acquainted with the field of psychiatrics. The method may be combined with pharmacological methods for quicker improvement of the patient, depending on the nature of the schizophrenia. The therapist and the suitable environment for treatment might be too expensive for the relatives of the patient.
However, the therapy provides a comparatively effective mode of treatment for schizophrenics at a low risk (Rubin, & Springer, 2011). On the other hand, pharmacological treatment becomes important when treating the severe cases. Acute cases of schizophrenia cannot be treated using family intervention or any cognitive measure. This is because it is difficult to integrate the patient into the treatment program or the patient may respond in a counterproductive manner. In such a case, only pharmacological measures can be employed. Pharmacological treatment has serious side effects and is only used with due care. The use of family intervention method has the least significance in reducing the severity of the schizophrenic condition. This method takes longer time to achieve any results, and is more expensive than any other methods, since it involves the provision of material needs to the affected family. However, the effects of this treatment last longer, and there are minimal adverse side effects. A combination of all the modes of treatment is used in some cases for maximum results. Pharmacological treatment is often used with cognitive treatment in a hospital environment for quicker and more significant improvement. In my opinion, the best regime for treatment of schizophrenia would be a combination of the cognitive therapy and pharmacological treatment. This regime provides the most affordable combination with the best possible results in comparison to the involvement of family intervention as a method of treatment.
People who are not professionals are usually indifferent to the family intervention as a method of treatment. In their opinion, this method is least effective and seems to involve the family members who are not professionals in the field of psychiatrics. Relatives of a schizophrenic person will prefer treatment in a hospital where there is specialized personnel. The cognitive treatment method is viewed from a skewed perspective. People believe in it because it directly involves the patient. However, it takes a long time to achieve any appreciable results through cognitive treatment, hence a mild opinion to its application. Most people trust the use of pharmacological treatment because of its significant and almost immediate effect. The majority of people are ignorant of the possible side effects resulting from the use of this method.