ONG Specialist & Counselling Centre
8-G, Lebuh Sungai Pinang 1,
11600 Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia.

Contact No. : +604-283 8178
+604-282 2237

Opening hours : Tue - Sat
10am - 5pm

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder, with some patients showing exacerbations and remissions. The onset is usually gradual although patient may also present with acute onset of disturbed behavior. He may initially complain of sleep disturbances, changes in mood, difficult to concentrate at work, feeling ‘suspicious’ and thinking “people are out against me” during the prodromal phase.

The core symptoms of Schizophrenia become apparent as the disorder progresses.

Hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech and disorganized behavior are the hallmarks. Some patients, especially chronically ill patients, may come with negative symptoms.

The usual hallucination is auditory in nature where he hears voices talking to him or talking about him. Commonly these voices are derogatory in nature and may be ‘commanding’ too. Visual hallucination and hallucinations in other sensory modalities can also occur.

Paranoid delusion and delusion of reference are very common where patient firmly (and falsely) believes that people, be it family member, acquaintance or strangers, are harboring ill-thoughts and ill-intentions towards him. Patient may actually react against these people due to his delusion.

When the patient is acutely ill, he may talk irrelevantly and ‘loosely’ where it becomes difficult to understand what he is saying.

He may also behave in a grossly disorganized manner by doing strange acts, socially unacceptable behavior and becomes violent.

The negative symptoms of Schizophrenia include lack of motivation, lack of expression and reduced level of activity. Some refuse to talk or to socialize even with family members. He may prefer to keep to himself, lock himself in the room and refuse to eat. Few may present with catatonia which is life-threatening.

The advancement in science and medicine has brought new understanding, new treatment and hopes to these patients. The ‘Stress-Diathesis’ model subscribes to the idea of interaction between biological, psychological and environmental factors in the development of Schizophrenia. Therefore, managing these patients is best achieved by a comprehensive and holistic approach. Treatment encompasses conventional and novel antipsychotics. It is important to monitor possible adverse effects such as tremors, stiffness, impaired glucose tolerance etc. Complicated cases with co-morbid conditions must be treated accordingly. Treatment outcome is improved by incorporating psychotherapy and modifying the environmental factors.

Longitudinal follow-up is essential in picking up signs and symptoms of relapse/ exacerbation such as sleep disturbances, changes in mood, irritability, hallucinations, delusions etc. A concerted effort by all care givers and medical professionals can ensure a better prognosis for patients with Schizophrenia in leading a normal life.

To learn more please click here.

Click here to read the real case of a patient suffering from Schizophrenia.