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Mental Health Fittness And Diseases

Posted by on Wednesday, September 8, 2010, 3:33
This news item was posted in M, Mental health category and has 3 Comments so far.

Diagnostic Features
This disorder, at some point in the illness, involves a psychotic phase (with delusions, hallucinations, or grossly bizarre/disorganized speech and behavior). This psychotic phase must last for at least one month (or less if successfully treated). Schizophrenia also causes impairment in social or vocational functioning which must last for at least 6 months. The psychotic phase is not due to a medical condition, medication, or illegal drug.

Complications
Individuals with this disorder may develop significant loss of interest or pleasure. Likewise, some may develop mood abnormalities (e.g., inappropriate smiling, laughing, or silly facial expressions; depression, anxiety or anger). Often there is day-night reversal (i.e., staying up late at night and then sleeping late into the day). The individual may show a lack of interest in eating or may refuse food as a consequence of delusional beliefs. Often movement is abnormal (e.g., pacing, rocking, or apathetic immobility). Frequently there are significant cognitive impairments (e.g., poor concentratiion, poor memory, and impaired problem-solving ability). The majority of individuals with Schizophrenia are unaware that they have a psychotic illness. This poor insight is neurologically caused by illness, rather than simply being a coping behavior. This is comparable to the lack of awareness of neurological deficits seen in stroke. This poor insight predisposes the individual to noncompliance with treatment and has been found to be predictive of higher relapse rates, increased number of involuntary hospitalizations, poorer functioning, and a poorer course of illness. Depersonalization, derealization, and somatic concerns may occur and sometimes reach delusional proportions. Motor abnormalities (e.g., grimacing, posturing, odd mannerisms, ritualistic or stereotyped behavior) are sometimes present.

The life expectancy of individual with Schizophrenia is shorter than that of the general population for a variety of reasons. Suicide is an important factor, because approximately 10% of individuals with Schizophrenia commit suicide – and between 20% and 40% make at least one suicide attempt. There is an increased risk of assaultive and violent behavior. The major predictors of violent behavior are male gender, younger age, past history of violence, noncompliance with antipsychotic medication, and excessive substance use. However, it should be noted that most individuals with Schizophrenia are not more dangerous to others than those in the general population.

Mental Schizophrenia

Mental Schizophrenia


Course

Schizophrenia usually starts between the late teens and the mid-30s, whereas onset prior to adolescence is rare (although cases with age at onset of 5 or 6 years have been reported). Schizophrenia can also begin later in life (e.g., after age 45 years), but this is uncommon. Usually the onset of Schizophrenia occurs a few years earlier in men than women. The onset may be abrupt or insidious. Usually Schizophrenia starts gradually with a prepsychotic phase of increasing negative symptoms (e.g., social withdrawal, deterioration in hygiene and grooming, unusual behavior, outbursts of anger, and loss of interest in school or work). A few months or years later, a psychotic phase develops (with delusions, hallucinations, or grossly bizarre/disorganized speech and behavior). Individuals who have an onset of Schizophrenia later in their 20′s or 30′s are more often female, have less evidence of structural brain abnormalities or cognitive impairment, and display a better outcome. Schizophrenia usually persists, continuously or episodically, for a life-time. Complete remission (i.e., a return to full premorbid functioning) is uncommon. Some individuals appear to have a relatively stable course, whereas others show a progressive worsening associated with severe disability. The psychotic symptoms usually respond to treatment with antipsychotic medication, whereas the negative symptoms are less responsive to antipsychotic medication. Often the negative symptoms steadily become more prominent during the course of Schizophrenia.

Outcome
The best outcomes are associated with early and persistent treatment with antipsychotic medication soon after the onset of Schizophrenia. Other factors that are associated with a better prognosis include good premorbid adjustment, acute onset, later age at onset, good insight, being female, precipitating events, associated mood disturbance, brief duration of psychotic symptoms, good interepisode functioning, minimal residual symptoms, absence of structural brain abnormalities, normal neurological functioning, a family history of Mood Disorder, and no family history of Schizophrenia.

Treatment
Antipsychotic medication shortens the duration of psychosis in Schizophrenia, and prevents recurrences (but psychotic relapses can still occur under stress). Usually it takes years before individuals can accept that they have Schizophrenia and need medication. When individuals stop their antipsychotic medication, it may take months (or even years) before they suffer a psychotic relapse. Most, however, relapse within weeks. After each psychotic relapse there is increased intellectual impairment.

Antipsychotic medication (+/- antidepressant medication +/- antianxiety medication) usually prevents suicide, minimizes rehospitalization, and dramatically improves social functioning. Unfortunately, even on antipsychotic medication, most individuals with Schizophrenia can’t return to gainful employment due to the intellectual impairments caused by this illness (e.g., poor concentration, poor memory, impaired problem-solving, inability to “multi-task”, and apathy).

Life-long treatment with antipsychotic medication is essential for recovery from Schizophrenia. Individuals also require long-term emotional and financial support from their families. Most individuals with Schizophrenia qualify for government (or insurance) disability pensions. Social rehabilitation (e.g., club-houses, supervised social activities) and sheltered/volunteer employment are also essential. Certain illicit drugs, especially cannabis (“pot”), have been shown to actually cause Schizophrenia.

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3 Responses to “Mental Health Fittness And Diseases”

  1. [...] symptoms occur inappropriately and therefore do not represent ‘true fear’. Anxiety attacks are not the response to an actual threat but make the sufferer ‘feel threatened’; [...]

  2. [...] Mental illness definition states that it is ‘a mental condition that affects the mood, thinking and behavior of the affected individual’. Mental illness can lead to a lot of problems in time and also reduce the ability of a person in different areas of life, like work, family, personal relationships and social setups. There are over 200 mental illnesses and conditions that range from minor problems to severe mental disorders. Schizophrenia and depression are the most common mental illnesses. [...]

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