Schizophrenia: Psychiatry and Treatment

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Schizophrenia is a major mental illness which can be identified through signs and symptoms that can be categorized into positive and negative symptoms. This essay will identify what signs and symptoms go under each category and discuss in detail different care and pharmacological treatments available for people suffering from schizophrenia. Treatment and care requirements under the NSW Mental Health Act 2007 will also be discussed along with my own opinion on the Australian community’s attitudes towards schizophrenia. This essay will begin by including a brief introduction into the major mental illness schizophrenia. Mosby’s Dictionary of medicine, nursing and health professions defines schizophrenia as ‘a complex mental disorder with active symptoms of psychosis,’ (Harris, P & Nagy, S & Vardaxis, N, p. 1549). Schizophrenia is diagnosed on the basis of the person’s symptoms. The symptoms of schizophrenia can be categorized into two different types, positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations related to seeing, smelling, feeling and the most common hallucination hearing things that aren't there. Other positive symptoms include delusions of fixed false beliefs that are uncompromised to the person’s cultural religious background. Types of delusions include paranoid, grandiose (the individual believes they are superior to others), religious, jealousy and nihilistic. Another positive symptom is thought disorders and bizarre behaviour. Negative symptoms are associated with a lack in normal individual behaviours and emotions. These include a lack of range in expressing emotions, alogia (reduced speech), lack of motivation to perform everyday tasks, social withdrawal, affective behaviour, content of thought and formal thought disorder. Other types of symptoms relate to cognitive which include disorganised thinking, social withdrawal, lack of thought formations and concentration. People living with schizophrenia will start to exhibit identifiable changes in their mood, behaviours and psychosocial abilities as well. Identifiable mood changes include depression, socially withdrawn, flat affect, bi-polar symptoms, depression with psychotic symptoms and anhedonia (lack of pleasure). Changes in behaviour refer to poverty of speech and thought, bizarre behaviours and basic behavioural processes are diminished or absent. Psychosocial changes in an individual with schizophrenia include social withdrawal, apathy and loss of contact with reality. Contemporary nursing care and pharmacological treatments are the most effective treatment options for achieving a greater quality of life for people suffering from schizophrenia. Treatment needs to involve a whole team of interdisciplinary health care members. Nurses must be educated and liaise with community treatment agencies and other interdisciplinary team members. This is important so that information can be given to patients with schizophrenia about accommodation options, financial help in regards to paying for treatment and certain areas where they can access community support programs within their local areas. According to Mary Ann Boyd, p. 290 about 20% to 50% of people with the diagnosis of schizophrenia attempt suicide. Priority of care is highlighted through this very statistic. A suicide assessment should be conducted on the patient which involves talking with the patient about their intended suicide plan. This assessment is very important in terms of nursing care requirements when caring for schizophrenic patients. It is important as a nurse to help and be a part of the patient’s and family member’s psychosocial treatment. One of the most important aspects of treatment is patient and family education of schizophrenia. Mary Anne Boyd states that ‘patients need help in accepting their illness and developing expectations for their future that are realistic,’ (Mary Anne Boyd, p. 290). Patient education allows for the patient and family to gain...
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