Teenager with cognitive and psychological problems treated successfully
A 17 years old Rahul (name changed) was admitted at the emergency with complaints of severe aggression, hallucination and changes in his cognitive behavior, which upon further investigations revealed a complicated case of schizophrenia. With such persistent behaviour for over a year, the patient’s family member noticed a sudden change in his cognitive behaviour that urged them for a sense of emergency. Upon detailed examination, he was found to be a poorly groomed young man with inattentiveness and preoccupied mind.
Rahul began talking about organized crime so often that his father and sister brought him to the emergency room at Tulasi Healthcare. His family said that they had never known him to use drugs or alcohol, and his drug screening results were negative and shocking. He did not want to eat the meal offered by the hospital staff and voiced concern to parents that they might be trying to conceal drugs in his food.
“The patient had a maternal history of mental health problem, with his great grandmother had a serious illness and lived in state hospital for over 30 years and his mother had also been undergoing treatment for such ailments. Rahul was counseled for getting treated at our psychiatric unit. He was having persecutory delusions, auditory hallucinations and negative symptoms that had lasted for at least one year. All of these symptoms fit with a diagnosis of schizophrenia (severe and chronic mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves). About 50 per cent of schizophrenia cases go undiagnosed and if we count, nearly 35-40% of the cases can be traced to hereditary factors.” Said Dr Gorav Gupta, Director, Tulasi Healthcare, New Delhi.
Though the diagnosis of schizophrenia may be easily ruled out for other causes including substance abuse, head trauma, medical illness, stressful or emotional life events which are combined with a predisposition to the disease. But can be particularly difficult if the illness develops during teenage years, as changes in behavior are common at this age. When schizophrenia is active in a person, symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, trouble with thinking and concentration, and lack of motivation. The most leading causes for the high rate of suicide attempts by schizophrenics are depression and anxiety.
“Antipsychotics are divided into two categories: first-generation, also known as "typical" drugs, and second-generation, also known as "atypical" drugs and dopamine partial agonists. Recent research suggests that all of these drugs mainly affect dopamine systems. Atypical medications seem to produce greater negative symptom relief, less cognitive impairment, better relapse prevention and functional capacity, fewer extrapyramidal symptoms, and less tardive dyskinesia. These are significant advantages and suggest that where tolerated and appropriate, atypical medication therapy may result in a better quality of life for those living with schizophrenia.” Added Dr Gupta
His story reflects a common case, in which a high-functioning young adult went through a major deterioration in his day-to-day skills. Although family and friends felt this as a loss of the person they knew, but after finally receiving a timely diagnosis for schizophrenia, his illness was treated successfully and resulted in a good outcome and better quality of life.