Table of Contents
What is Schizophrenia?
MENTAL HEALTH AND WELLNESS FOR VETERANS
Schizophrenia Treatment in San Diego
Schizophrenia can be a severe, upsetting mental illness for both those who struggle with it and their friends and family.
Although schizophrenia is a chronic condition with intense symptoms, with appropriate treatment, those suffering from this illness can learn to lead healthy, fulfilling lives. Solara’s Behavioral Health and Psychiatric Treatment Center in San Diego specializes in treating schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder classified as a type of psychosis. Its psychotic symptoms produce a distorted or false sense of reality. In turn, a person with schizophrenia may have difficulty processing thoughts, emotions, and sensory stimulations.
When translated from Greek, the word schizophrenia literally means “a split mind.” The definition is a fitting description as this severe mental health disorder causes a disconnect between a person’s perceptions and reality.
It is not to be confused with a split personality or mood disorder. A person diagnosed with schizophrenia does not necessarily go through regularly occurring personality changes. If that were the case, a mental health professional might identify these signs and symptoms as a schizoaffective disorder.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
There is no one cause solely responsible for developing schizophrenia, but there are recognized triggers and risk factors:
- Genetics — Though no specific gene is accountable, a history of family members with mental illness can make one more susceptible to it. Abnormal hormones can also make a person more vulnerable.
- Neurological problems — Chemicals in the brain such as dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate affect neurotransmission. Genetics, stress, or brain injury can cause an imbalance in these chemicals, causing psychosis.
- Drugs — Side effects of psychoactive drugs such as cannabis or LSD can trigger psychosis in individuals more prone to.
- Environmental factors — Along with stress, schizophrenia can be triggered by environmental incidents such as serious viral infections or immune disorders. Experiencing these complications as a baby in the womb heightens these risks more.
Early Warning Signs for Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia tends to begin to affect people during adolescence. Researchers believe that the maturity of the brain, hormonal changes, and progressive risk factors may be responsible for the delayed onset.
Early behavioral warning signs of schizophrenia may include:
- Change in personality and appearance
- Nonsensical speaking or writing
- Unusual body positioning
- Loss of interest in significant occasions
- Deteriorating performance at school or work
- Withdrawal from social activities
- Irrational, fearful, or angry responses
- An extreme obsession with supernatural ideation
Symptoms for Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a spectrum disorder, meaning there are many severities and variations of it. While this disorder manifests itself differently for each individual, common symptoms of schizophrenia include the following:
- Delusions: Ninety percent of people with schizophrenia suffer from delusions. These are false but strongly-held beliefs. They may involve believing that someone is out to get you, that you are someone you are not (such as a celebrity or historical figure), that ordinary events or objects hold great significance, or that outside forces are controlling your mind.
- Hallucinations: Similar to delusions, hallucinations are sensory experiences that are not truly happening but feel real to those having them. Hallucinations can manifest themselves through any of the senses, though visual and auditory hallucinations are the most common. For example, someone experiencing a hallucination may hear someone yelling at them when there is nobody there. Hallucinations can be profoundly distressing and frightening.
- Disorganized thinking and speech: Schizophrenia often disrupts normal cognitive functioning. This cognitive struggle manifests itself in disorganized speech. This speech is incoherent and confusing, often including incomplete sentences, random jumps from topic to topic, invented language, and repeated words or phrases.
- Disorganized behavior: The disruption of normal cognitive functioning also disrupts behavior. These cognitive symptoms manifest themselves in a variety of ways, including low impulse control, inability to set goals or complete tasks, lack of self-care, awkward movements, a decline in motor skills, and unresponsiveness.
- Negative symptoms: This is the general lack of normal functioning. Negative symptoms can include a loss of interest in the world or others, an absence of practical communication skills, a lack of self-care, and an inability to feel or express emotion.
The mental disconnect seen in people with schizophrenia can be extremely confusing and upsetting, causing intense psychological distress. In turn, this distress can damage social relationships, cause self-destructive behavior, and prevent normal functioning in everyday life.
How to Treat Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia almost always requires lifelong treatment. However, if the illness is identified and treated early, a person may be able to manage and significantly reduce the development of symptoms.
Everyone experiences it differently. Some people may get better, and some get worse. Some have episodes, and others may endure more constant symptoms.
Medication is often the cornerstone of treatment for schizophrenia as the brain’s chemical imbalances are primarily to blame for symptoms.
Due to the complexity of the disease, a long list of different FDA approved antipsychotic medications may be used. Medications for schizophrenia may include:
- Conventional antipsychotics — Typically cheaper than their counterparts and effective at reducing hallucinations and delusions.
- New generation antipsychotics — Newer antipsychotic medications generally have less risk and neurological side effects than typical antipsychotics.
- Other medicines — Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, mood stabilizers, and other medications may be used to manage symptoms and side effects.
The medications a mental health care professional prescribes may depend on the patient’s symptoms, financial situation, or side effects experienced.
The most effective treatments for schizophrenia typically include medication alongside talk therapy.
Types of services that can be beneficial are:
- Case management — Case managers can help a person with schizophrenia with access to treatment, financial support, and other resources.
- Psychotherapy — “Talk therapy,” such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) helps people recognize feelings and thoughts. Once patterns are identified, the patient can manage symptoms better.
- Inpatient treatment — Patients can receive 24-hour assistance through residential programs.
- Self-care — Therapists can show you how to manage daily needs better and develop healthy habits.
- Support Groups — Having others to relate to can help people with schizophrenia feel more secure with their mental illness.
Solara’s Schizophrenia Treatment
To aid the healing process, Solara Mental Health provides a thorough, specialized schizophrenia treatment in San Diego designed to address symptoms and lay the groundwork for lasting psychological health.
The program begins with an in-depth assessment, including consultations with friends, family, and outpatient care providers. The evaluation gives our clinicians a complete understanding of each veteran’s history, symptoms, and needs.
Our skilled staff then utilizes a combination of individual psychotherapy, group therapy, holistic therapies, and carefully created medication. Patients here learn important skills for coping with their illness.
Our intensive inpatient treatment will help veterans start to integrate into the world around them and come to lead fulfilling peaceful lives.
While our veterans make considerable and rapid improvements, schizophrenia is often a long-term condition. Through years of experience, our mental health treatment center has learned how to provide the entire spectrum of care for our veterans.
Our intensive program begins with a comforting, calm, and secure environment. The nurturing staff fosters veterans so they can feel safe as they start to reconnect with reality. Then, they can heal both psychologically and physically.
We will also include loved ones in the treatment process and aftercare planning when appropriate. Together, we can build a strong support network. As veterans utilize our effective schizophrenia treatment modalities, they can build the foundation for a happy life. One that is stable, healthy, and rich.
Our program has been designed to free our veterans from the clutches of schizophrenia. We’ll help you move from inpatient to outpatient care. And, we help you with long-term aftercare plan to transition into the world.
Contact us now to start the healing process.
Solara’s Schizophrenia Treatment for Veterans
A veteran with schizophrenia may have difficulty processing thoughts, emotions, and sensory input. Schizophrenia is a mental disorder classified as a type of psychosis. Its psychotic symptoms produce a distorted or false sense of reality.
At Solara Mental Health San Diego we provide a safe space for treatment for veterans, understanding each person has different needs for an efficient recovery.
Solara Mental Health is VA contracted as a community care provider, which gives us the unique opportunity to help veterans with their mental health needs. Once authorized, housing, transportation, and accommodations will be provided.