is a chronic mental disorder that affects social behavior and the ability to
comprehend what is real. There are many misconceptions on this disorder and
though one of the main ones is that schizophrenics are dangerous and violent,
this is not true. Many people with schizophrenia lead close to normal lives if
the condition is treated. There are many factors that contribute to the causes
of schizophrenia, and many people of all ages and backgrounds are affected.
There is more than one type of this disorder, and they range from minor
symptoms to very bad if left untreated.
are affected are between the ages of 16-30, which means it can affect the
person in their prime years. In children, the most common effects are:
decreased intellect, motor skills, and social anxiety. These would be the
earliest signs that can be noticed. These symptoms and signs change
dramatically in adults. Where children act more socially “awkward”, the adults
are more aggressive in their expression. The first major signs shown in adults
are: social withdrawal, irritability, clumsiness, and dysphoria. Dysphoria is
described as feeling unhappy, uneasy, or unwell. As described, adults have what
appears to be a more severe version on the social anxiety than the children
diagnosed with schizophrenia have.
can be caused by many things including genetics and environmental factors. If
there is a family history of schizophrenia, the person has an increased chance
of being affected. It is also said that the older the father is the higher risk
for the offspring getting this disorder. Maternal complications can greatly
affect whether or not the child is going to have this disorder. Obesity and
malnutrition, such as any nutritional deficiencies, and drug use during
pregnancy are factors that will contribute to the infant getting schizophrenia.
can affect anyone, but most commonly affected would be males who also
experience the more severe symptoms. It occurs in all societies regardless of
class, race, religion, color, or culture. Though the lower class people will
experience it more because of the lack of healthcare resources. Maternal
mothers especially need the most supervision because pregnant women have to
give so much vital nutrients and vitamins for there to be a stable enough
environment for the fetus to develop. 0.3-0.7 people are affected in their life
time and when viewed globally, there have been 23.6 million cases recorded. In
the united states alone 2.2 million individuals are affected.
and way of thinking is compromised with this disorder. Many of the people are
jailed, about 6%, hospitalized, about another 6%, placed in long term care
facilities, about 10%, placed in supervised living facilities or programs,
about 20%, or homeless, about another 6%. Whether the person was living in
these conditions before is hard to tell, but it is likely that the disorder has
made these changes for them. Often times having a schizophrenic family member,
especially immediate family, put a lot of stress on them and they are forced to
place them in a home or facility that can give them the best chance at living
the best life. In more drastic cases the person can be a danger to themselves
or others, so they are forced into hospitals where they can be supervised at
all hours. Some just feel out casted and leave their families becoming homeless
in the process.
may seem hard to deal with when encountering an individual with the disorder,
but for the affected persons themselves, it is especially hard to cope with the
changes the disorder brings. Many affected people experience: delusions,
disoriented speech and/or thoughts, hallucinations, lack of motivation,
inability to experience pleasure, lack of desire to form relationships, and
mood changes. All of these symptoms and signs make it noticeably hard to make
or maintain relationships with anyone if not for the sudden aggression or
paranoia but for the lack of motivation and decreased pleasure sensations.
These symptoms can leave the affected person very depressed and that’s why one
of the major things to look for in schizophrenic patients is thoughts or
threats of suicide. This disorder can make it exceptionally difficult to
interpret and understand information. Their decision making is weakened, so
they act out of emotion and focus less on moral views. Their attention span is
shortened, the have trouble paying attention and if they do pay attention it is
for a short period of time before they begin to lose focus again. Trying to
recall information is much more difficult. Their long term memory might be
intact but their working memory, which is what is used when recalling something
you might’ve just heard or learned, is tainted.
is more than just one type of schizophrenia, in fact there are 5 types. One of
them being paranoid schizophrenia. Paranoid schizophrenia is the most generic
form of schizophrenia. With this form of the disorder, the affected person will
experience the same symptoms as any other form of schizophrenia but will also
have auditory delusions, meaning they will hear voices that aren’t actually
there. The second type is disorganized schizophrenia where hallucinations and
delusions are less common but there is still evidence that these symptoms can
still occur. The more pronounced symptoms are those of disorganized speech and
thought and some mood changing behavior. The next type of schizophrenia is
catatonic schizophrenia which is described as the motor impairment type. This
form of the disorder can cause excess movement or leave the person in a stiff,
rigid, position for hours or days even. As usual with almost any form of
schizophrenia, there will be delusions and/or hallucinations. The next type is
schizoaffective which focuses more on the mood, leaving the person depressed or
even manic. They will go through pretty much all of the same symptoms as any
other form but will have drastic mood change and mood impairment issues. The
last type of schizophrenia is childhood schizophrenia. This type of
schizophrenia has all of the same characteristics as the generic form of
schizophrenia, except they all occur before the age of 13.
is clear where the misconceptions come from. A lot of the signs that are first
seen in a schizophrenic are very aggressive, that could make them come off in a
way I’m sure they never intended to come off as. I believe the problem is lack
of education on such an important and common disorder. Not knowing the way, the
mind changes with a disorder like this makes you an easy target for the
schizophrenic to take out their aggression. There are triggers which vary from
person to person, but knowing that even a joke can make them lash out is
important. A lot of the time they aren’t aware that they are doing so, after
the incident they may have no recollection of the event. Their compromised
memory makes It easy for them to feel frustrated in their lack of remembrance.
Knowing that the schizophrenic person has no desire to make friends or keep
them, it is important to make sure you are flexible with them. Be there for
them to lean on if necessary but know that they may be very resistant to anyone
trying to intrude on their problems.
for schizophrenia include a combination of antipsychotic medication to help
them cope with the outside world and better control their anger. They will also
have therapy to give them a better understanding on how different people may be
compared to them and the therapist will likely advise them to remain calm and
collected in the event that they may feel themselves losing control of their
emotions. Even when the symptoms cease, they must still remain on the
medications and follow through with their therapy sessions as advised to
prevent an outbreak from occurring. They may experience what appears to be a
remission stage, but schizophrenia is a chronic illness that cannot go away.
The symptoms can be treated to prevent them from worsening. The medication is
said to control the transmission of dopamine in the brain which can help them
experience a more pleasurable time when they might otherwise feel very out of
place or alone. Though the medications have side effects It is vital that they
stay consistent with the treatment prescribed. Otherwise they might be forced
to give the schizophrenic persons injections to help them cope with all of the
symptoms. Much of the schizophrenic population will be reluctant to take the
medications because of the status of their brain. They may feel like someone is
out to get them or that the medications are not going to help but make them
work. This comes from the paranoia part of the illness. The lack of
understanding may make them feel as if they don’t need the medication to begin
with. They might not see a problem with their behavior and feel as though It is
not mandatory. Along with possible denial of the diagnosis, many factors
contribute to the resistance behind the schizophrenic patient.
the care of a schizophrenic person in a long-term care facility, the nursing
assistant should always remember to remain calm when dealing with them.
Understanding that the delusions and hallucinations they experience are scary
for them plays a key role as well. Be empathetic, if you were in their
situation you would want your caregivers’ utmost patience and genuine care.
Although you are being considerate while they go through their hallucinations
It is important to know that the CNA should never agree or go along with them.
When possible, reorient the resident. Avoid touching the resident unless
absolutely necessary. Touching the schizophrenic resident may upset them; thus,
further adding to the anxiety they may be experiencing. Avoid arguing with the
resident. Effective communication is a very important foundation for developing
trust and openness with them. Always report to the nurse any changes in mood
that are out of the norm. Promptly report any delusions and hallucinations when
they are experiencing them.
nurse and/or doctor will create a plan of care that will create optimum
comfort. Implement the care plan to ensure the safety of the resident and those
around them. Many of what would be on the care plan consists of how the CNA
should already be expected to treat them. Speak slow and calm, be empathetic, have
effective communication skills. The care plan will also include what to do in
the event they begin to become combative or violent. Along with following the
care plan, the nurse must be notified immediately.