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glossary page.  Schizophrenia:  Understanding the Disorder




        In addition to providing definitions for some of the medical terms used in this booklet, included are some words that you may encounter with schizophrenia.


                Antagonist:  Antagonists block receptor sites.  Medications used in the treatment of schizophrenia are antagonists because they block specific receptors in certain areas of the brain.


                Antipsychotics:  Specific medications used in the treatment of mental disorder, like schizophrenia.  They are used, as the name suggests, to control psychotic symptoms like delusions and hallucinations.


                Blocking:  When the train of thought suddenly stops, especially in the middle of a conversation.


                Cogentin:  A medication used to help reduce the side effects of antipsychotics, ex. Shaking and tremors.


                Extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS):  Side effects caused by antipsychotics (neuroleptics).  They include uncontrollable movements in the face, arms and legs.


                Genetics:  The science that studies the principles of heredity, specifically with respect to how traits and disorders are passed from parents to children.


                Neuroleptics:  Medications used in the treatment of schizophrenia, that have antipsychotic properties.


                Neurotransmitter:  A chemical in the brain that transmits or sends messages to other specific cells.  Dopamine and serotonin are neurotransmitters, and abnormalities in the level of neurotransmitters, particularly dopamine and serotonin, are thought to be critical in schizophrenia.


                Occupational Therapy:  A type of therapy in which the individual participates in a variety of creative tasks and activities related to daily living.  This could include painting, woodworking, or pottery and other activities like creative writing or poetry.


                Out patient:  An individual who comes into the hospital for medical care but does not need to be admitted.


                Parkinsonism:  A side effect of antipsychotics(neuroleptics) characterized by awkward and stiff facial movements.


                Psychiatrist:  A physician that specializes in treating mental and emotional disorders.


                Psychosis:  A major mental disorder in which a persons’ ability to think, respond, feel, remember, and communicate is affected.  Contact with reality is usually impaired, interfering with the persons’ capacity to function normally. 


                Receptor:  Special places on nerve cells that respond to specific chemical messages between cells.


                Rehabilitation:  Programs that help individuals return to normal functioning after a disabling disorder, injury or addiction.  They are designed to help patients live as independently as is possible. 


                Serotonin-Dopamine Antagonists (SDA’s):  A new class of therapies used in the treatment of schizophrenia.  The treat the negative symptoms (social withdrawal, loss of drive, lack of emotion) previously untreated by antipsychotics, producing less EPS than conventional antipsychotics.  As well, they also control the positive symptoms (delusions and hallucinations) of schizophrenia.


                Social Worker:  A person specially trained to help individuals with social adjustment.  A social worker would counsel a person with schizophrenia and their family in dealing wit the social and emotional issues that are a result of the disorder.