Title

Schizophrenia: A Review

Document Type

Review

Publication Date

6-15-2007

Description

Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental illness that affects 1 percent of the population in all cultures. It affects equal numbers of men and women, but the onset is often later in women than in men. Schizophrenia is characterized by positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations, voices that converse with or about the patient, and delusions that are often paranoid. Negative symptoms include flattened affect, loss of a sense of pleasure, loss of will or drive, and social withdrawal. Both types of symptoms affect patients' families; therefore, it is important for physicians to provide guidance to all persons affected by the disease. Psychosocial and family interventions can improve outcomes. Medications can control symptoms, but virtually all antipsychotics have neurologic or physical side effects (e.g., weight gain, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes). There is a 10 percent lifetime risk of suicide in patients with schizophrenia.

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