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anxiety treatment schizophrenia

[8 Oct 2010 | No Comments | | Author: ]
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Schizophrenia is the most chronic and disabling of the severe mental disorders. Typically it develops in the late teens or early twenties. The most obvious symptoms are hallucinations or hearing voices and seeing visions. Sufferers can also experience delusions which are false beliefs about reality or bizarre thought patterns.

More recent advances in pharmacotherapy have highlighted other disabling cognitive symptoms. In fact over the past decade evidence has shown that the cognitive symptoms are probably the most functionally disabling of the symptoms that people with schizophrenia experience.

When clinicians consider co-morbid conditions they often think of substance abuse and post-psychotic depression. Co-morbid conditions are those that occur at the same time as the primary condition. However, at a recent annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association a meeting was held to highlight the importance of anxiety disorders, especially social anxiety disorder (SAD) in people who suffer from schizophrenia.

Anxiety treatment schizophrenia has now become a concern when considering the treatment protocols used to treat the primary schizophrenia.

Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is another disabling condition whose symptoms are severe and persistent fear of social situations. In social situations the person fears humiliations or embarrassment. This may be present in specific types of social situations such as public speaking or the person may have a more generalized fear of most (if not all) social situations.

The social anxiety may be so severe that it would provoke a panic attack when the individual is out of their home.

Clinicians often ignored these complaints and believed them to be simple shyness. Currently evidence shows that these conditions are also disabling, especially when coupled with the schizophrenia. However, understanding that psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia are very dramatic while other more milder co-morbid conditions can go undetected.

Clinicians now estimate that anywhere from 6 to 42% of those who suffer from schizophrenia also suffer from SAD. Although SAD was the focus of this particular meeting at the annual meeting there is also evidence for high rates of other anxiety disorders as well.

In a study by Cosoff and Hafner, the researchers reported that in 100 consecutive patients admitted with a psychotic disorder, 60 of whom had schizophrenia. The researchers found that of those 60 17% had SAD, 13% had obsessive compulsive disorder and 12% had generalized anxiety disorder. In half of the patients who had both anxiety disorder and schizophrenia they reported that the anxiety disorder predated the psychosis by several years. And, in addition to these statistics, most patients also said that they hadn’t been diagnosed or treated for their anxiety disorder.

This anxiety treatment schizophrenia puts an interesting twist on treatment protocols that must answer the needs of the anxiety co-morbid condition and the primary schizophrenia. These medications must work together without side effects or interactions so the sufferer can work productively through their day.

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