Paranoid schizophrenia is a type of schizophrenia in which the patient experiences delusions that somebody may be plotting against them or their family or friends. This is the most common form of schizophrenia. Patients may also experience auditory hallucinations, meaning, they hear things that are not real.
Patients may spend majority of their time thinking of ways they can protect themselves or their loved ones from these delusions or hallucinations.
Compared to patients with other types of schizophrenia, those with paranoid schizophrenia often have fewer memory problems, dulled emotions, and concentration difficulties. This allows these patients to think more clearly and have a higher level of functioning.
Paranoid schizophrenia is a chronic condition. And because it’s there for life, it does increase the risk of complications later on.
There are several tests a doctor can perform in order to confirm a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia. These involve a physical examination, a complete blood count to check thyroid function along with alcohol and drug levels, imaging scans such as MRI or CT scans, electroencephalogram, and a psychological evaluation conducted by a psychiatrist.
The diagnostic criteria for paranoid schizophrenia include having an obsession with at least one delusion and the presence of a recurring auditory hallucination. These criteria are set out by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is used by medical professionals in order to properly diagnose mental health problems.
Treatment for paranoid schizophrenia is not a one-size-fits-all. There are numerous treatment options and outlets, so patients may combine treatment methods or may have to try several options before finding one that works best for them.
It often takes a team of healthcare professionals in order to best treat a patient. These may include case workers, general practitioner, pediatrician, pharmacist, psychiatric nurse, psychiatrist, psychotherapist, social worker, and members of the patient’s family.
Medications such as antipsychotics or antidepressants are often prescribed as well.
Other therapy treatment methods include:
Cognitive behavioral therapies (CBT)
This type of talk therapy looks at our reactions to our feelings, and involves changing our behavior as a means of improving how we feel. Cognitive behavioral therapy is primarily a scientific approach to talk therapy completed in the short term. This form of talk therapy is best designed for those seeking a solution or who have a goal they wish to meet.
Dialectic behavior therapy (DBT)
DBT combines treatments from cognitive behavioral therapy with meditation. It can take place both on an individual level and in a group setting. DBT is best suited for people with eating and personality disorders.
This type of talk therapy explores how early life experiences influence your present-day thinking. By understanding your past, you can make appropriate changes in your future.
By using a whole-person approach, problems are solved with a variety of practices and theories along with working on a person’s full potential. This type of talk therapy is best suited as treatment for depression and addiction, but humanistic therapy can work to overcome any specific problem as well.
Some other treatments which have been investigated to potentially benefit schizophrenics include a gluten-free diet, a diet high in antioxidants, sugar and fat intake reduction, music therapy, animal-assisted therapy, and Chinese herbal medicine, but more research is required to determine the effectiveness of these treatment options.