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Schizophrenic? Yes, You Can Have a Functional Life

Schizophrenic? Yes, You Can Have a Functional Life

Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that’s surrounded by a lot of stigma and misunderstanding. That means that for many people, a diagnosis of schizophrenia can seem devastating, leaving patients worried about their futures.

The fact is, while schizophrenia certainly is a serious health issue, like other health issues, it can be managed. The key is working closely with your mental health provider to find a schizophrenia treatment that works best for you.

At Axis Psychiatry, Uzma Zafar, MD, specializes in patient-centered, compassionate, customized care tailored to each person’s unique needs. In this post, learn how you can lead a functional, fulfilling life despite your schizophrenia diagnosis.

Quick facts about schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is uncommon, but it’s not as rare as most people think. Roughly 1% of the world’s population — about 80 million people — suffer from schizophrenia, a lifelong disorder that typically begins in the teens to early 30s.

Schizophrenia involves a mix of symptoms that can be roughly divided into three types: psychotic symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms.

Psychotic symptoms

Psychotic symptoms include:

These symptoms are perhaps what most people associate with schizophrenic behavior. 

Negative symptoms

Negative symptoms are similar to symptoms associated with depression and include: 

Negative symptoms interfere with a person’s ability to show emotions.

Cognitive symptoms

Cognitive symptoms primarily involve problems with memory and concentration. These symptoms can make it difficult to hold a job or perform well in school.

People with schizophrenia may have problems maintaining personal hygiene, following routines, or displaying “normal” facial expressions and reactions. In addition, many people with schizophrenia have symptoms of other mental health disorders, like anxiety, depression, or substance abuse disorder.

Although researchers don’t know for sure what causes schizophrenia, it’s likely a combination of family history, genetics, and abnormal brain chemistry, compounded by risk factors like exposure to toxins or emotional trauma.

Managing your symptoms

People with schizophrenia benefit from a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and self-care activities focused on helping them manage symptoms while leading a balanced life.

Get the most from therapy

Our team offers therapy that addresses both the biological and psychosocial aspects of schizophrenia, focusing on individual therapy, family therapy, and social skills training. Your therapy will be completely customized for you and focused on your success.

Take medication as prescribed

Antipsychotic medications help you manage symptoms and prevent relapse episodes. Depending on your needs, we may prescribe other medications, as well. It’s essential to stick with your medication schedule and to call the office if you have any concerns about your treatment regimen. Regular checkups with our team ensure your dosing remains on target for your needs, maximizing benefits while reducing the risk of side effects.

Focus on a healthy diet

Self-care activities begin with a healthy diet. Focus on including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. A balanced diet gives your brain and nervous system the nutrients they need to support healthy function. It also reduces your risks of diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease, medical problems that tend to be relatively common among people with schizophrenia.

Make regular exercise part of your routine

Regular exercise helps manage health risks and improves your mental outlook, too. You don’t need to join a gym or follow a complex routine. A simple daily walk is all it takes to improve your physical health and reduce your stress levels.

Prioritize stress management and sleep

Exercise is one way of managing stress, but other activities can help, too. Yoga, meditation, and focused breathing techniques help bring down levels of stress and anxiety by releasing “feel-good” chemicals in your brain. Regular sleep gives your body time to repair itself while playing a major role in stress relief, too.

Avoid drugs and alcohol

Drugs and alcohol can act as triggers for schizophrenia symptoms and episodes of psychosis. Plus, they can interfere with your medications and usher in feelings of depression and anxiety. If you need help quitting a substance abuse problem, our team can help. 

Schizophrenia: We can help

While there’s currently no cure for schizophrenia, an individualized treatment plan can help manage symptoms and support a healthy, functional lifestyle. 

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, we can help. To learn more, request an appointment online or over the phone at our Las Vegas, Nevada, practice today.

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