July 13, 2006

Understanding Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects a person's cognitive function, emotional stability, and perception of reality. Most schizophrenics become symptomatic in their teenage years or early 20s.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, symptoms typically include delusions, hallucinations, difficulty communicating, and general lack of enthusiasm and expression.

Some people with severely debilitating schizophrenia may need to be hospitalized to control violent, hallucinatory or suicidal tendencies, the NAMI says.

Besides therapy and rehabilitation, antipsychotic drugs such as chlorpromazine, fluphenazine, haloperidol, thiothixene, perphenazine, risperidone, or clozapine usually can control symptoms and allow a person with schizophrenia to lead a normal life.

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