Definition of schizophrenia: Paranoid schizophrenia is perhaps the most common of all types of schizophrenia. It is defined as a long term mental disorder in which a person is deprived of reality. It is a chronic condition that requires a lifelong treatment. The illness usually starts in late adolescence or young adulthood. Paranoid Schizophrenia is a paranoid neuropsychiatric disorder.
Causes of paranoid schizophrenia are still unknown. Scientists believe that a combination of genetic factors, brain chemistry, and your environment may be responsible for the development of paranoid schizophrenia.
Problems with certain naturally occurring brain chemicals, such as neurotransmitters called dopamine and glutamate, may contribute to paranoid schizophrenia. Researchers consider that schizophrenia is a brain disease based on various evidences and imaging studies of brain for people with paranoid schizophrenia.
Paranoia can arise in certain other mental health conditions too, such as:
Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common form of schizophrenia and affects people in the age group of 15 to 25 years mostly. The onset of schizophrenia usually starts at puberty. Brain changes are seen during puberty as hormones play a major role in this stage.
Based on some research, women tend to get schizophrenia later than men because they go through puberty earlier and the estrogen hormone somehow protects them.
Schizophrenic symptoms usually begin in the mid to late 20s. Early-onset of schizophrenia occurs before the age of 18 years. Very early-onset of schizophrenia in children, who are younger than 13 years, is extremely rare.
Some street drugs particularly cannabis, methamphetamine and cocaine also believed to cause schizophrenia.
Certain genetic as well as environmental factors can lead to paranoia. Family history is also responsible for it. There is a 10% chance that the problem will transfer to the next generation if any of the family members already has a paranoid schizophrenia condition. According to a study, there is higher level of norpinephrine in paranoids as compared to non paranoids.
Genes play an immense role in paranoid schizophrenia. There are mutations or changes in the DNA that can lead to the mental illness. The studies related to twins reveal that if one identical twin has paranoid schizophrenia, there is a 30-50% chance that the other twin will have it as well. If a fraternal twin has paranoid schizophrenia, then the chances are increased by 15% for the disease to occur.
Paranoid schizophrenia is more dependent on mother’s gene than a father’s gene. As a father gets older, sperm develops new mutations that can lead to an increased risk of paranoid schizophrenia. These new DNA conformations elevate the chances of paranoid schizophrenia genes in the schizophrenic population.
Many new theories suggest that paranoid schizophrenia is a multifaceted disorder while earlier theories suggest that an abnormal expression of dopamine is the main cause of the delusions that are commonly found in many patients with this mental disorder.
However, further studies have shown inferences involving peculiarities and defects in the GABA, and glutamate pathways. However, in adjunct to this, new studies have revealed that long-term use of cannabis may also be the causative agent for the development of this disorder.
A diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia requires a series of tests and evaluations. Some of the common paranoid schizophrenia tests used for diagnosis:
Since paranoid schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder, delusions are firm beliefs and seem real to people suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Some of the delusions are:
These firm viewpoints can cause problems in personal and sociological relationships. People also experience minor auditory hallucinations. For example, you may hear voices and sounds that make you annoy. Paranoid schizophrenia symptoms occur normally between 16 to 30 years of age.
Early signs of paranoid schizophrenia are:
Indications (symptoms) may upshot from an imbalance of dopamine and serotonin, both of which are neurotransmitters. Certain physical changes were also responsible for these paranoid outcomes.
People suffering from schizophrenia have a dissimilar experience of paranoia. Their paranoid opinions are very sophisticated and reaching to extremes. They create a belief that the entire world is spying on them.
Psychiatrists call these kinds of beliefs as persecutory delusions. People with paranoid schizophrenia believe that antipsychotic medicines prescribed to them by the doctors are poisonous and may kill them and they ultimately stop their medication.
Generally, half of the population diagnosed with this disorder does not believe that they are sick. People suffering with paranoid schizophrenia may harm themselves. Teenagers also experience some symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia and can be observed by low performance in their academics.
Females may develop paranoid schizophrenia later than men. Common symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia in females are:
Children may develop paranoid schizophrenia. They generally show these behaviors:
Paranoid schizophrenia is different from general schizophrenia in the context that, in paranoid schizophrenia, people experience delusions and auditory hallucinations while in general schizophrenia, hallucinations (seeing, hearing, and listening) to things that don’t exist and delusions are observed.
Paranoid delusions, auditory hallucinations and some minor negative symptoms make paranoid schizophrenia different from general schizophrenia.
Options available for paranoid schizophrenia treatment are:
Individual psychotherapy: A therapist or a psychiatrist teaches how to deal with disorganized speech or behavior
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT): A therapist enables paranoid schizophrenic patients to deal with "voices" and hallucinations. Combining CBT sessions and medication, one can easily tell what activates his or her psychotic episodes and how to minimize or stop them.
Cognitive enhancement therapy (CET): It is also called cognitive remediation. It makes one learn how to recognize social circles, improve their attention, memory, and ability to arrange their thoughts. Combined computer-based training and group sessions are effective in paranoid schizophrenia.
Psychosocial Therapy: How to become a major part of a community is taught in these sessions of psychosocial therapy.
Social skills training: Being social is a major part of human life and people are taught to be social in these trainings.
Currently, as per researchers there is no cure for paranoid schizophrenia. Doctors are still trying to find the cure for this disease. Antipsychotic drugs are recommended by doctors and some effective therapies are also practiced to manage the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia.
Pathophysiology of schizophrenia is the key to develop the most effectual treatment for the disease, and is the key goal of many researchers. Science is making magnificent advances in this field. The exact pathophysiology of paranoid schizophrenia is not understood, and henceforth, two theories are mentioned here to support this context:
Abnormality in the dopamine levels of schizophrenic brain clears that dopamine is contributing in some way in the pathophysiology of paranoid schizophrenia. Other neurotransmitters such as glutamate, serotonin and gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) also play a major role.
The basis for the hypothesis of dopamine of paranoid schizophrenia came from studies taken from post mortem reports, finding increased striatal availability of D1/D2 receptors in the striatum, as well as studies finding increased CSF levels of dopamine metabolites. Eventually, many antipsychotics were found to have affinity for D2 receptors.
Modern investigations of the hypothesis suggested a link between striatal dormation of dopamine and positive symptoms, as well as elevated and decreased dopamine transmission in subcortical and cortical regions respectively.
Besides the dopamine hypothesis, neurotransmitter glutamate and the decreased function of the NMDA glutamate receptor in the pathophysiology of paranoid schizophrenia has also been highlighted for paranoid schizophrenia. Lower levels of glutamate receptor found in postmortem brains of people earlier diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and the revelations that glutamate blocking drugs such as phencyclidine and ketamine can produce symptoms similar to that of paranoid schizophrenia provide evidences for this theory to believe.
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