Schizophrenia Q&A

A highly trained psychiatrist, Dr. Soon K. Kim is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Soon K. Kim currently serves as president and CEO of Aurora Behavioral Health Care.

What is schizophrenia and who gets it?

A complex mental disorder involving differences in brain chemicals and the central nervous system, schizophrenia is characterized by disordered thinking and an inability to accurately interpret reality, which leads to inappropriate emotional and social responses. The cause of the condition is unknown, but family history is thought to play a role in some cases.

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia and how is it diagnosed?

Signs and symptoms of schizophrenia can appear at any age, although the condition usually manifests itself between a person’s teenage years and 30s. Those with schizophrenia can have hallucinations, delusional thinking, and disorganized thoughts, speech, and behavior. They may also withdraw and lose motivation to do the simplest tasks, such as bathing or getting dressed. Cognitively, patients may have problems with attention and memory and be unable to make sense of what they see or hear. However, because the symptoms of schizophrenia can mimic those of other mental or neurological conditions, a full psychiatric evaluation is necessary to obtain a proper diagnosis.

What treatments are available for schizophrenia?

Once diagnosed, patients are usually treated with antipsychotic medications to stabilize brain neurotransmitters. After the symptoms of psychosis are under control, patients should begin psychotherapy to learn how to cope with the condition, stay healthy, and maintain a job and normal relationships.

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A Brief Overview of Schizophrenia

As the president and chief executive officer of Aurora Behavioral Health Care and a member of the board of directors at the University of Southern California’s Davis School of Gerontology, Dr. Soon K. Kim focuses on treating individuals with chemical dependency and severe behavioral and mental health disorders. A few of the behavioral and mental health conditions Dr. Soon K. Kim treats include addiction, alcoholism, depression, and schizophrenia. Here is a brief overview of schizophrenia.

Question #1: What is schizophrenia?

Answer #1: Schizophrenia is a chronic condition where people have an abnormal interpretation of reality. Individuals with schizophrenia may suffer from delusions, hallucinations, unclear thinking, or a combination thereof, and usually require lifelong treatment.

Question #2: What are a few of the symptoms of schizophrenia?

Answer #2: The symptoms of schizophrenia are generally divided into three groups: cognitive, negative, and positive. Cognitive symptoms include issues with thought processes such as difficulty making sense of or retaining information. Negative symptoms include a lack of interest in everyday processes, lack of emotion, and lack of attention to personal hygiene while positive symptoms involve a misrepresentation or excess of normal activities.

Question #3: What is the most appropriate course of treatment?

Answer #3: Treatment options for schizophrenia include antipsychotic medications and support therapy. Relationship, job-training, and behavioral techniques are typically employed for individuals with schizophrenia to help them cope better in work-related or social settings.