Approximately one in 100 Americans are diagnosed with schizophrenia. Left untreated, schizophrenia can be a disabling condition that significantly impacts your relationships and overall quality of life. In some cases, it can even endanger you and the ones you love. For this reason, professional intervention is highly recommended. Dr. Daniel Bober in Hollywood, FL, is a board-certified psychiatrist who has dedicated his career to advocating for patients and treating mental illness. He can work in tandem with your therapist to provide comprehensive treatment and help you lead the healthy, fulfilling life you deserve.
The National Institute of Mental Health defines schizophrenia as a chronic and severe mental health condition that affects how a patient thinks, feels, or behaves. It is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and behavior, and other symptoms that cause social or occupational dysfunction. Patients typically begin to exhibit symptoms between 16 and 30 years old.
It is often wrongly assumed that patients with schizophrenia have multiple personalities or are considered to be violent or even dangerous. However, that is typically not the case. Many patients live safely with their families and can lead full, normal lives with proper treatment.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
While genetics play a role in whether a patient develops schizophrenia, it is believed that certain environmental factors must also be present. An imbalance in brain chemistry is also thought to be a contributing factor. However, identifying which factors specifically cause the onset of schizophrenia still requires further research.
Recognizing the Condition
There are noticeable changes in a loved one's behavior that may indicate the onset of schizophrenia, such as:
- Reluctance to speak
- Difficulties with short-term memory
- Illogical thought processes
If you notice your loved one is exhibiting these warning signs, seeking professional treatment is the best way to help them.
Is Treatment Necessary?
Without treatment, your loved one may be at three times higher risk of death. This can be attributed to high rates of comorbidities of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. However, patients with psychotic disorders are also at higher risk of suicide. According to a recent study, the risk of mortality for patients with psychotic disorders significantly decreases from 54.6 to 27.1 per 10,000 people between one and three years following diagnosis.
How Is It Treated?
As with many mental health conditions, patients suffering from schizophrenia typically benefit most from a dual treatment approach. However, treatment typically begins with medication, which is also useful in helping to prevent relapse. Dr. Bober can help you find the right medication and dosage best suited to your needs, striving to minimize side effects while maximizing the benefits.
Dr. Bober can work alongisde your therapist to provide comprehensive treatment and help you lead the healthy, fulfilling life you deserve.
Once an effective medication has been implemented, it is recommended that you begin visiting a therapist. Regular therapy can help you develop skills to cope with your condition and lead a more productive lifestyle.
Helping a Loved One Day-to-Day
In addition to helping a loved one receive professional treatment, there are several ways you can support them on a daily basis, including:
- Show Compassion and Respect
- While their hallucinations may seem completely irrational to you, they are real to them. It is important to respect that and acknowledge their right to feel the way they do.
- Create a Strong Support System
- Aid them in seeking continuous treatment, find support groups, and provide the environment they need with friends and family at home.
- Draw the Line at Dangerous Behavior
- In some cases, patients may react violently to their hallucinations or engage in other harmful or hurtful behavior. It is important to enforce boundaries for yours and others' safety, and their own.
Educating yourself about the condition and how you can help improve interactions at home is a good starting point. These tools will remain essential to your loved one's ongoing success.
Effective Treatment Is Available
You are not alone. If you or a loved one is struggling with schizophrenia, call (954) 994-1115 to schedule your consultation today. Dr. Bober can help you begin treatment so you can begin maintainin a higher quality of life.
- Number of Americans diagnosed with schizophrenia - American Psychological Association
- Definition of schizophrenia - National Institute of Mental Health
- Misconceptions - American Psychiatric Association
- Risk of mortality - The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry
- Medication as treatment - The American Journal of Psychiatry