Schizophrenia is an unpredictable mental illness that can take many forms. Some patients have only one or two seizures in a lifetime, while others lose touch with reality in months. Some types of pathology develop rapidly, and some progress over the years. Residual schizophrenia is the second type. It is characterized by a long period of negative phase. In this article, let’s consider what its features are.
Schizophrenia is a polymorphic endogenous disease that affects the human mental apparatus. Polymorphism indicates that it occurs in different forms. The cause of its origin is an internal state of the psyche, so we are talking about endogenous nature. As for the direct impact on the person, schizophrenia affects the brain, explicitly thinking and emotional reactions.
This psychopathology is detected in about 1% of people. The peak incidence occurs at 20-28 years for men and 26-32 years for women. However, schizophrenia is also diagnosed in children, as well as in the elderly. It often combines with anxiety disorders, depression, alcoholism, and drug abuse, so identifying the disease earlier is not always possible.
Many people believe that schizophrenia is a split personality. Others believe that hallucinations always accompany it. In fact, “split personality” is too simple a formulation for such a complex illness. In schizophrenic disorders, there is a disintegration of personality traits and the loss of a person’s connection to reality.
If we talk about hallucinations, they do not occur in every type of pathology. Moreover, the presence of this symptom may not indicate schizophrenic spectrum disorders. Residual schizophrenia refers to those forms in which hallucinations are extremely rare.
What Is Residual schizophrenia?
Residual schizophrenia is also called residual schizophrenia. It is registered after worsenings (attacks) and is characterized by persistent remission without apparent signs of psychosis. Although it can be asymptomatic, it is impossible to say that a person is entirely healthy in this state.
The patient has no hallucinations or delusions, but his behavior is very passive and inactive. The patient may say that he is okay. However, relatives are usually concerned about his behavior and are very worried. They have reason to be worried since the disease can escalate at any moment, even though sometimes the person stays in this state for years without any signs of psychosis.
Residual schizophrenia is rare, occurring in only 2.6% of patients.
Treatment is carried out not only during attacks but also during remission. Further development of the pathology depends on its quality.
Residual Schizophrenia Causes
Nothing is precisely known about the causes of schizophrenia. Scientists have not yet been able to describe the mechanism of development of the pathology. The only thing established is that its focus is on the brain, but what causes its emergence and how it progresses is still a mystery.
Medical doctors have at their disposal a group of factors that hypothetically may provoke schizophrenia:
- Genetic predisposition. The likelihood of developing psychopathology increases if it has been identified in relatives. The closer the kinship, the higher the risk. A child with two schizophrenic parents is less than 50% likely to avoid the illness.
- Abnormalities of the brain. MRI scans show that in schizophrenic disorders, there is an enlargement of the ventricles and atrophy of the hippocampus, temporal lobes, and other areas.
- Problems occur while carrying a fetus. We are discussing trauma, infections, the mother’s unhealthy lifestyle, complicated delivery, and birth trauma.
- Social conditions. In families with alcoholics, drug addicts, psychopaths, and other antisocial personalities, children can develop schizophrenia, psychopathy, schizoaffective disorder, and other illnesses. They can not avoid Psychological trauma.
- Parenting. As a rule, people with schizophrenia appear in families with oppressive parents or, on the contrary, in conditions of permissiveness. Also, the likelihood of the development of psychopathology increases if no one takes care of the child and no one loves him.
- Addictions. Alcohol, drug addiction, and smoking are not direct causes of schizophrenia, but they can serve as an impetus for its development. The risks are markedly increased if a person uses psychoactive substances in childhood.
Trauma, acute or chronic stress, lingering depression, etc., can lead to schizophrenia or its exacerbation. A patient’s medical history is carefully studied, but a direct connection between this event and a psychopathic attack is not always possible.
Residual Schizophrenia Symptoms
Any schizophrenic disorder has two sets of symptoms, positive and negative. The former is so called not because they are “good,” but because they are a consequence of mental activity. Typical signs of productive symptoms are hallucinations and delusions.
In such a state of psychosis, the patient may be inadequate. At the same time, in most cases, he is unaware that he is ill, even if he sees grandiose and fantastic hallucinations.
The nature of the hallucinations is individual. Some hear voices, while other patients see or touch objects which do not exist in reality.
See Also: What Is Catatonic Schizophrenia?
In residual schizophrenia, there are usually no such symptoms. The patient is in the negative phase, revealed when the mental apparatus is passive. The main manifestations of the residual schizophrenic disorder are:
- For a minimum of one year, no signs of psychosis. This period is considered remission.
- Decreased motivation. The person does not want anything and does not aspire to anything. He is not interested even in those activities which used to bring pleasure.
- Emotionlessness. The patient may not respond to others and circumstances, including dramatic and difficult situations.
- Rapid fatigue, mental and physical weakness, and loss of strength are all signs of fatigue. The patient takes up something and immediately gets tired. Efficiency is practically zero.
- Closeness. With residual schizophrenia, the person does not want to communicate with anyone and tends to be lonely. His speech is empty and senseless. Often he tries not to speak at all.
- Poor hygiene. Over time, the patient stops caring for himself, including bathing, shaving, and washing his clothes. Outwardly he looks unkempt, but he does not care.
- Strange behavior. The patient may talk loudly to himself in front of others, loitering, picking up trash, and bringing it home (pathological hoarding).
- Superstitions. Belief in the supernatural and in perfect absurdities, supernatural ideas, telepathy, etc., is possible.
To make a diagnosis of residual schizophrenia, four of the above signs must be present. There must be no organic brain damage, dementia, and chronic depression, which are also characterized by negative symptoms.
Delusions, illusions, catatonia, and hallucinations can be present in residual schizophrenia, but they are expressed poorly and do not cause any bright emotional feelings.
The person may be in remission for more than a year, but relapse is possible at any time.
Then positive symptomatology will appear, probably even more intensively than during the last attack. It depends on the patient adhering to the doctor’s advice and receiving timely treatment if the condition deteriorates.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis in schizophrenia, as well as treatment, is not interrupted even during remission. The patient must periodically visit a psychiatrist and undergo specific tests. It makes it possible to notice signs of exacerbation at the initial stage. The same applies to therapy. The diagnosis of schizophrenia means that the patient is a patient for life regardless of whether or not seizures occur.
See Also: What is Recurrent Schizophrenia?
Treatment methods for exacerbation and remission are somewhat different. The following medications and techniques are used in residual schizophrenia:
- They are taking antipsychotic drugs. Their task is to restore the dopamine activity, which in schizophrenic illnesses fails. With negative symptoms, dopamine production is insufficient, so the person is passive.
- I was taking antidepressants. With their help, it is possible to activate the psyche by stimulating the production of serotonin.
- Hospitalization. In remission, the patient usually stays at home. He can even get a job. But sometimes, doctors recommend a temporary hospitalization and additional examinations, especially at the risk of aggravation.
- Psychotherapeutic sessions. They can be individuals or groups. They are considered one of the most effective methods of schizophrenia therapy during remission. The patient can talk to the doctor and listen to other patients with similar illnesses. It helps improve mood and increase motivation.
- They are working with loved ones. A psychiatrist can help relatives of schizophrenic patients communicate with relatives suffering from schizophrenia. They must learn how to communicate with him and quickly identify the symptoms of an attack.
- Training. In some cases, the patient is trained in professional skills so that they can work. It is much more dangerous to shut yourself away. It is much more productive for the patient to work. Monotonous and manual work is preferable.
In general, treatment for residual schizophrenia is aimed at social adaptation of the patient and reducing the negative impact of the pathology on the psyche.
Residual Schizophrenia Forecast
It is difficult to predict the development of schizophrenia. It is incurable, and therefore the person is constantly at risk. He has an opportunity to prolong remission, but only with a comprehensive approach to his health, not only mental but also physical.
The earlier schizophrenia manifested itself, the more devastating its consequences.
It is recommended to do sports (except extreme sports), eat right, walk outdoors daily, take vitamins and socialize with others. Alcohol, drugs, smoking, and other psychoactive substances should be excluded from your life forever. If you adhere to these rules, the risk of another attack is markedly reduced.