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Paranoid schizophrenia: what it is, symptoms, causes and treatment

Health

Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common type of schizophrenia, characterized by symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, changes in speech and changes in behavior, such as agitation and restlessness.

Schizophrenia is a set of disabling psychiatric disorders, which can be caused by genetic, environmental factors or changes in neurotransmitters. Learn more about schizophrenia.

Although paranoid schizophrenia has no cure, a psychiatrist can recommend treatments such as psychotherapy, medication and occupational therapy to help control symptoms and improve the person's quality of life.

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Main symptoms

The main symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia are:

  • Delusions of persecution, jealousy or about doing a special mission;
  • hallucinations, such as hearing voices saying swear words or giving orders to the person, or seeing things that don't exist;
  • Changes in speech, where the person may have disorganized speech or make up words;
  • Changes in behavior, which may include aggression and agitation;
  • Anosognosia, which is a lack of perception or denial about the disease itself.

Other symptoms that can also arise in paranoid schizophrenia include suicidal thoughts, lack of concentration, lack of enthusiasm or social isolation.

How to confirm the diagnosis

The diagnosis of schizophrenia is made by a psychiatrist who evaluates, through a clinical interview, the signs and symptoms presented by the person and the family health history, for example.

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The doctor may also recommend carrying out tests such as computed tomography, urine or blood tests and an encephalogram, to exclude other diseases, such as a tumor or dementia, for example.

Possible causes

The exact cause of paranoid schizophrenia is not yet known, but it is known that it is a disorder that can be influenced by genetics. However, not everyone with a family member with schizophrenia will have this type of disorder.

Furthermore, other factors that may increase the risk of this condition include changes in the functioning of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin; Gestational diabetes; problems affecting brain development before birth; or the use of substances, such as Cannabis, for example.

How the treatment is carried out

Although paranoid schizophrenia has no cure, the treatment recommended by the psychiatrist includes the use of antipsychotic medications to help control the symptoms of the disease such as aripiprazole, olanzapine, quetiapine, and risperidone. Some anxiolytic medications, such as diazepam and lorazepam, may also be indicated to control behavioral changes.

Cognitive behavioral therapy, art therapy and occupational therapy are also indicated to help people with schizophrenia better understand and adapt to their condition, improve social reintegration and the person's quality of life, as well as prevent relapses.

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General practitioner from UPAEP with professional certificate nº 12420918 and degree in Clinical Psychology from UDLAP nº 10101998.

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Bibliography
  • TANDON, Rajiv et al. Definition and description of schizophrenia in the DSM-5. Schizophrenia Research. Vol.150. 1.ed; 3-10, 2013
  • McCUTCHEON, A, Robert et al. Schizophrenia-an overview. JAMA Psychiatry. Vol.77. 2.ed; 201-210, 2020
  • TREASURE ISLAND (FL): STATPEARLS PUBLISHING. Schizophrenia. Available at: <https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK539864/>. Accessed on April 20, 2023
  • CLEVELAND CLINIC. Paranoid Schizophrenia. Disponível em: <https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/23348-paranoid-schizophrenia#management-and-treatment>. Acesso em 20 abr 2023