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Schizophrenia

Introduction

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder just like epilepsy, Dementia or Multiple sclerosis. It usually first appears in young people. It affect 1% of general population throughout the world.

Signs and Symptoms

  1. Disturbance of thought.
    • Delusions:
      • A fixed, false beliefs not amenable to reasoning. For example belief that other people conspiring to harm him, his act or thought being controlled by outside forces such as genie, ghost or holy person (wali ) and belief that he possessed great power.
      • Difficulty in concentrating, forming or maintaining a train of thought. The person speech appear irrelevant to questions or difficult to understand.
  2. Disturbance of perception:
    • Hallucinations:
      • Afalse perception. For example hearing voices talking to him or talking to each other or comment on his action where as this voices was not heard by other people.
  3. Disturbance of behavior:
    • Odd and erratic behaviors.
    • Impaired abilities to carry out normal daily activities. Withdrawn from social interaction (like to be alone)

Complication

If left untreated, it will progress to stage of chronic schizophrenia. A person will be withdrawn into his own world, neglect his personal hygiene (refuse to take bath, brush his teeth or change his clothes), no motivation to do anything, unable to feel and express emotion (blank face).

Treatment

A complete assessment by a psychiatrist to exclude other medical condition is necessary.

  • Pharmacotherapy/Drugs treatment (antipsychotics) is front line of treatment now.
    • These drugs helped to bring signs and symptoms of schizophrenia under controlled.
    • You must take the drugs as prescribed by your doctors.
    • You must continue taking medications even though you better already.
    • Drugs treatment for schizophrenia is to be taken for a long duration of time as the likelihood of a relapse is high especially in the first 2 years of developing the illness.
    • The doctor will advised you how long you need to take medications.
    • Do not hesitate to discuss with your doctor regarding your medication.
  • Individual counseling:
    • Will help you to understand the nature of the illness so you are better equipped to handle your illness. It will also helped you to regain self confidence and self esteem.
  • Group therapy:
    • These involve gathering of a group of people with the same problem i.e schizophrenia to sit together to discuss their experience, difficulty and way of coping. In this way they will learn from each other and support each other.
  • Psychoeducation
    • Learning about the illness and its treatment; recognizing and preventing relapse.
  • Family therapy
    • To help family members cope with and manage the stress of living with schizophrenic.

Prevention

Stress reduction techniques

Rehabilitation

After the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia is under controlled by taking the medications. A comprehensive plan of rehabilitation need to be planned so a person can gain his place in society.< Every psychiatric department in general hospital have an occupational therapy unit with trained staffs to help you recover from your illness.< Some health centre are equip with community psychosocial rehabilitation unit to help you recover from your illness and regain your confidence to work and interact with society.

Support Groups

  • KAMI (Family support group of Johor)
  • MMHA (Malaysian Mental Health Association-PJ)
  • Each state family support group
Last Reviewed : 20 April 2012
Writer : Dr. Mohd Nasir bin Abd Kadir
Reviewer : Dr. Mohd Ariff Bin Mohd Noor