What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a heterogenous group of disorders characterized by a constellation of symptoms and signs including delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thoughts and behavior, apathy, avolition, amotivation, anhedonia and abstracting difficulties.It affects one out of 100 individuals globally. It usually begins in adolescence or early adulthood and affects both sexes equally. In more than 90% of cases individuals will have a “prodromal phase”. The diagnosis is made by careful history from the patient, family or caregivers along with a complete physical and mental status examination. About 10% of patients with schizophrenia will commit suicide. Most patients will benefit from medications and psychosocial treatments in combination. The atypical antipsychotics like risperidone, aripirazole, quetiapine, lurasidone, ziprasidone, olanzapine and asenapine are commonly prescribed. Psychosocial treatments found to be helpful include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), assertive community treatment (ACT), psychoeducation and social skills training. Unfortunately there are still many unmet needs in the treatment of schizophrenia.

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