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What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a psychosis and one of the most incapacitating mental disorders that affect how an individual thinks, feels, and sees. It affects about one percent of the US population. From the years 2009 to 2011, schizophrenia cases accounted for more than 382,000 emergency room visits.
It is a chronic brain disorder characterized by:
- Problems concentrating
- Abnormal social behavior
The disorder will leave an individual withdrawn and frightened most of the time. Although it may seem severe, symptoms can improve over time. Still, there are no known causes of schizophrenia at this time. Experts consider genetics, brain chemistry, and environmental influences as being major factors in developing the disorder.
Signs of Schizophrenia
A person who suffers schizophrenia experiences difficulty distinguishing between reality and the imagination. Like other disorders, the severity and duration of the symptoms can vary. Despite what most people think, schizophrenia does not refer to multiple or split personalities. Instead, schizophrenic people will lose touch with reality during what are known as psychotic episodes.
Some of the most common signs of schizophrenia include:
- Trouble sleeping
- Irritability or depressed mood
- Lack of motivation
- Disorganized thinking or speech
- Avoiding eye contacts
- Blank facial expressions
- Decrease interest in everyday activities
- Socially withdrawn
- Lack of simple pleasures
Even today, there are still no known cures for schizophrenia. There are several treatments that can manage the symptoms of the disorder. These include the following:
- Individual therapy
- Social skills training
Medical science is finding new and safer treatments for the disorder. Experts are attempting to discover the root cause of the disorder by conducting behavioral research and genetics testing as well. This can help researchers unravel the best possible treatments for this mental illness.
Experts are now discovering the uses of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation or TMS. TMS uses magnetic pulses to stimulate brain nerve cells. The stimulation affects the network of neurons in the brain which can activate its functions. The therapy involves health care professionals to administer these magnetic pulses through the surface of the scalp. As a simple procedure with very minor side effects, the treatment has several ongoing studies to find ways to treat mental disorders.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved the use of TMS in 2008 in treating depression. Today, researchers are finding ways to use TMS in treating many other disorders, including schizophrenia, anxiety, autism and more.
Treating Schizophrenia with TMS
Schizophrenia is often associated with hypofrontality. Stimulating this part of the brain using TMS can increase activity in the reward system. Some studies show that TMS can have positive effects on the symptoms of schizophrenia.
Deep TMS offers a safe and effective alternative in treating schizophrenia. It is a simple non-invasive treatment that doesn’t require sedation or anesthesia. The patient remains fully alert and can immediately resume their daily routine immediately after treatment. Risks are relatively low, as there are no fears of non-systemic side effects.
Many experts see TMS therapy as a potential treatment for the disorder. Most schizophrenic patients require support from their loved ones to live. But with proper medical treatment and management, they can manage to finally live life on their own.