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What is Paranoid Schizophrenia? by Megan Poley

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Paranoid Schizophrenia is one of many types of schizophrenia. With this type of schizophrenia, people can usually function better and may not have as many difficulties with memory, dulled emotions, or concentration as people with other types tend to have. Paranoid Schizophrenia is a mental illness where a person loses touch with reality.  This is known as psychosis. Paranoid Schizophrenia is a brain disorder and genetics and the environment play a role in the cause of this disorder in people. The precise cause of Paranoid Schizophrenia is unknown, but some factors can increase the risk or trigger Paranoid Schizophrenia. Some of these factors may include being exposed to viruses while in the womb, poor nutrition when in the womb, having a family history of schizophrenia, older paternal age, and taking psychoactive drugs in adolescence.  Symptoms and signs of schizophrenia generally occur during teenage years and up to the mid-30s.

Symptoms of Paranoid Schizophrenia may include hearing things, also known as auditory hallucinations, delusions such as believing people are trying to harm you when they actually aren’t, anger, anxiety, violence, emotional distance, becoming socially isolated, suicidal thoughts and behavior, feeling tense, feeling suspicious, delusional jealousy, and an exaggerated sense of self-importance known as grandiose delusions.

To be diagnosed with Paranoid Schizophrenia a person must have had one or more delusions and frequent auditory hallucinations. Paranoid Schizophrenia can be hard to diagnose because the person suffering from the disorder might not realize that they are having delusions and hallucinations because they feel very real to them. This disorder is also hard to diagnose because other conditions can have some similar symptoms. Tests and exams done to diagnose Paranoid Schizophrenia include physical exams such as checking vital signs, measuring height and weight, laboratory tests such as a complete blood count, a screening for drugs and alcohol, and psychological evaluations such as talking to a doctor about feelings and behavior patterns and about the symptoms that they may be experiencing.

The main treatment options for Paranoid Schizophrenia are medications like antipsychotics and psychotherapy.  These treatments can help reduce symptoms and make life a little easier.  There are other options for managing Paranoid Schizophrenia.   These include education about the disorder and the treatment options.  Sometimes hospitalization is necessary when having severe symptoms which can ensure safety.  Treatment during hospitalization may include electroconvulsive therapy.  This treatment is done by having electric currents pass through the brain to trigger short seizures that are supposed to help reduce symptoms.  The last treatment is social and vocational skills training to learn skills to make living independently easier.  Learning to live independently can be very important for the recovery of someone with schizophrenia.

Paranoid Schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment and care.  Sometimes a person suffering from schizophrenia feels better and believes they aren’t having any more delusions or hallucinations but they still need to continue taking their medication or treatment because the period of feeling better usually doesn’t last. With effective treatment, a person with Paranoid Schizophrenia usually can manage their symptoms and live a relatively happy, healthy, and normal life.

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If Paranoid Schizophrenia is left untreated there can be severe consequences. If not treated a person can have very bad emotional, health, behavioral, and other problems that negatively affect that person’s life. Untreated this disorder can cause someone to have suicidal thoughts, be self-destructive, have depression, family conflicts, homelessness, and not be able to work or go to school.

Paranoid Schizophrenia is a very serious disorder and should not be taken lightly. There is no known way to prevent an individual from getting this disease because it is genetic and can be brought on by environmental factors.  The best thing for someone with Paranoid Schizophrenia is to have a good support system which would include family, friends, and doctors who can make sure they continue getting the necessary treatment so they can live their life independently and keep their symptoms of Paranoid Schizophrenia under control.


References: MayoClinic, MedlinePlus


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