Crisis Helpline Contact Info
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 1-800-273-8255
- The International Association for Suicide Prevention: Visit their website for crisis helplines and other resources outside the United States
- Meet them on their level:Your loved one has schizophrenia even when you cant see their symptoms. It can be more difficult for them to stay focused and concentrated, finish tasks, or follow through on simple household chores and personal hygiene basics. Be patient, and remember to adjust expectations.
- Assess their housing situation:Considering the examples below can help you determine what is best and if you have enough resources on hand to safely support your loved one.
Schizophrenia Never Gets Better
1 in 4-5 people with schizophrenia recover completely. 3 out of 5 people with schizophrenia will be helped or get better with treatment.
If there is an inaccurate or abusive item about schizophrenia in the press, a radio talk show or on TV. don’t get depressed, get active. Write a letter, email them, phone them and tell them where they are wrong. It does work.
Shine: supporting people with mental ill health : Information Helpline: 1890 621 631
Cpa Care Programme Approach
This is a way of making sure that people with schizophrenia get appropriate care and support. It involves:
- a care coordinator who is responsible for organising all the different parts of your care and treatment.
- regular meetings every 3 6 months. These involve you, your care coordinator, your psychiatrist and any other people who are giving you care or support. This can include your family or carers.
- a care plan that is checked at the regular CPA meetings. It is re-written each time and you will have a copy to approve or change.
- plans are made with you at these meetings about what to do if you find yourself becoming unwell again, or run into difficulties.
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What Are The 4 Main Types Of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia looks different from one person to the next. But there are four main categories into which patients fall:
Having A Parent With The Condition
Having a parent with a serious mental illness like schizophrenia is the strongest known risk factor for developing a serious mental illness yourself. Children with a parent who has a serious mental illness have a 1 in 3 chance of developing a serious mental illness themselves.
Although only 1 in 100 people get schizophrenia, about 1 in 10 people with schizophrenia have a parent with the illness.
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Risk Factors For Schizophrenia
Different factors combine to heighten the risk of schizophrenia, says Dr. Bowers:
- Genetics: Having a relative with schizophrenia or one who displays schizophrenic behaviors increases risk.
- Life stressors: Extreme poverty homelessness traumatic events early in life early isolation or deprivation or a constant fight for survival heighten risk.
- Hallucinogens: The use of crystal meth, LSD, PCP or psilocybin mushrooms increases risk in the vulnerable.
Can I Talk To The Psychiatrist
Families have often been left out of discussions because of worries about confidentiality. This should not be the case now.
People with schizophrenia are often living with or being supported by their family. So, their family needs the information that will allow them to care most effectively.
Even if the person does not want their family to be involved, the family can still tell the mental health team about what is going on.
You may also need advice. What do you need to do? Schizophrenia makes people more sensitive to stress, so it is helpful to avoid arguments and keep calm – perhaps easier said than done.
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What Are The Types Of Schizophrenia
There are different types of schizophrenia. The International Classification of Diseases manual describes them as below.
- Pranks, giggling and health complaints.
- Usually diagnosed in adolescents or young adults.
- Unusual movements, often switching between being very active and very still.
- You may not talk at all.
- Negative symptoms are prominent early and get worse quickly.
- Positive symptoms are rare.
Your diagnosis may have some signs of paranoid, hebephrenic or catatonic schizophrenia, but doesnt obviously fit into one of these types alone.
This type of schizophrenia is diagnosed in the later stages of schizophrenia. You may be diagnosed with this if you have a history of schizophrenia but only continue to experience negative symptoms.
There are other types of schizophrenia according to the ICD-10, such as.
- Cenesthopathic schizophrenia. This is where people experience unusual bodily sensations.
- Schizophreniform. Schizophreniform disorder is a type of psychotic illness with symptoms similar to those of schizophrenia. But symptoms last for a short period.
Symptoms meet the general conditions for a diagnosis, but do not fit in to any of the above categories.
Here Are Some Things You Can Do To Help Your Loved One:
- Help them get treatment and encourage them to stay in treatment
- Remember that their beliefs or hallucinations seem very real to them
- Tell them that you acknowledge that everyone has the right to see things their way
- Be respectful, supportive, and kind without tolerating dangerous or inappropriate behavior
- Check to see if there are any support groups in your area
Some symptoms require immediate emergency care. If your loved one is thinking about harming themselves or others or attempting suicide, seek help right away:
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK or text the Crisis Text Line .
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The Anatomy Of Schizophrenia
The causes of schizophrenia are not fully understood, but we know that we derive information from our environment via our senses. This information undergoes processing where it is then stored into either one of two categories: something that has been experienced before, or something that is new.
We are able to go through life thanks to this processing, which gives us clues about what to expect, thanks to previous experience. So for instance, if you were walking outside and you heard wings flapping above your head, without looking, your brain would have put together many other experiences where you heard this noise and that information would lead you to believe the noise came from a bird.
These previous experiences are called schema. A schema relates to a pattern of behaviour or thought that organizes categories of information and the relationships among them.
The problem that people with schizophrenia have is that they find it difficult to access these schemas. So they have no back-up, no previous knowledge, and no helpful stored information that can help them make sense of what is going on around them.
There is also the factor that the schemas of people with schizophrenia are already distorted. Their schema, which is stored memories of earlier experiences, is often impaired experiences.
Because of this, people with schizophrenia often have no common sense. This is because of three factors:
Schizophrenia: The 7 Keys To Self
Seek social support. Friends and family vital to helping you get the right treatment and keeping your symptoms under control. Regularly connecting with others face-to-face is also the most effective way to calm your nervous system and relieve stress. Stay involved with others by continuing your work or education. If thats not possible, consider volunteering, joining a schizophrenia support group, or taking a class or joining a club to spend time with people who have common interests. As well as keeping you socially connected, it can help you feel good about yourself.
Manage stress. High levels of stress are believed to trigger schizophrenic episodes by increasing the bodys production of the hormone cortisol. As well as staying socially connected, there are plenty of steps you can take to reduce your stress levels. Try adopting a regular relaxation practice such as yoga, deep breathing, or meditation.
Get regular exercise. As well as all the emotional and physical benefits, exercise may help reduce symptoms of schizophrenia, improve your focus and energy, and help you feel calmer. Aim for 30 minutes of activity on most days, or if its easier, three 10-minute sessions. Try rhythmic exercise that engages both your arms and legs, such as walking, running, swimming, or dancing.
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Community Mental Health Team
If a diagnosis of schizophrenia is suspected, the GP should refer you to your local community mental health team .
CMHTs are made up of different mental health professionals who support people with complex mental health conditions.
A member of the CMHT team, usually a psychiatrist or a specialist nurse, will carry out a more detailed assessment of your symptoms. They’ll also want to know your personal history and current circumstances.
To make a diagnosis, most mental healthcare professionals use a diagnostic checklist.
Schizophrenia can usually be diagnosed if:
- you’ve experienced 1 or more of the following symptoms most of the time for a month: delusions, hallucinations, hearing voices, incoherent speech, or negative symptoms, such as a flattening of emotions
- your symptoms have had a significant impact on your ability to work, study or perform daily tasks
- all other possible causes, such as recreational drug use or bipolar disorder, have been ruled out
What Can Family Friends And Partners Do To Help
Friends, relatives and partners have a vital role in helping people with schizophrenia recover, and make a relapse less likely.
Do not blame the person with schizophrenia or tell them to “pull themselves together”, or blame other people. It’s important to stay positive and supportive when dealing with a friend or loved one’s mental illness.
As well as supporting the person with schizophrenia, you may want to get support to cope with your own feelings. Several voluntary organisations provide help and support for carers.
Friends and family should try to understand what schizophrenia is, how it affects people, and how they can help. You can provide emotional and practical support, and encourage people to get appropriate support and treatment.
As part of someone’s treatment, you may be offered family therapy. This can provide information and support for the person with schizophrenia and their family.
Friends and family can play a major role by monitoring the person’s mental state, watching out for any signs of relapse, and encouraging them to take their medication and attend medical appointments.
If you’re the nearest relative of a person who has schizophrenia, you have certain rights that can be used to protect the patient’s interests.
These include requesting that the local social services authority ask an approved mental health professional to consider whether the person with schizophrenia should be detained in hospital.
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What Is The Cause Of Schizophrenia
The cause is not known for certain but there are several current ideas. It is thought that the balance of brain chemicals is altered. Neurotransmitters are needed to pass messages between brain cells. An altered balance of these may cause the symptoms. It is not clear why changes occur in the neurotransmitters.
Inherited factors are thought to be important. For example, a close family member of someone with schizophrenia has a 1 in 10 chance of also developing the condition. This is 10 times the normal chance. A child born to a mother and father who both have schizophrenia has a higher risk of developing it but one or more factors appear to be needed to trigger the condition in people who are genetically prone to it. There are various theories as to what these might be. For example:
- Stress such as relationship problems, financial difficulties, social isolation, bereavement, etc.
- A viral infection during the mother’s pregnancy, or in early childhood.
- A lack of oxygen at the time of birth that may damage a part of the brain.
- Illegal or street drugs may trigger the condition in some people. For example, heavy cannabis usage may account for between 8% and 14% of schizophrenia cases. Many other recreational drugs such as amfetamines, cocaine, ketamine and lysergic acid diethylamide can trigger a schizophrenia-like illness.
Can Someone With Schizophrenia Live Alone
Many people with schizophrenia are able to live independently. However, this is not the case for all people with schizophrenia. There are several things that people with schizophrenia should know to overcome the difficulties of their illness and live on their own: Early diagnosis and treatment leads to better outcomes.
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Signs That Immediate Medical Attention Is Needed
If the patient is a danger to himself or others and is unwilling to seek treatment, they can be involuntarily committed to a hospital and held for a period of evaluation usually lasting three to seven days. A court order is required for involuntary commitment to be extended.11
Film and news media have characterized schizophrenia as a violent condition, however, the majority of people with schizophrenia are not violent. The majority of violent crime is committed by individuals who do not suffer from this disorder. The risk of violence in schizophrenia drops dramatically when treatment is in place.12
Schizophrenia is associated with a higher risk of suicide. If the patient is suicidal contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK or call 911 immediately.
Isn’t Schizophrenia A Split Personality
No. Too many people have the idea that someone with schizophrenia can appear perfectly normal at one moment, and change into a different person the next. This is not true.
People can misuse the word schizophrenia in two different ways to mean:
- Having mixed or contradictory feelings about something. This is just part of human nature – a much better word is ambivalent.
- That someone behaves in very different ways at different times. Again, this is just part of human nature.
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Voluntary And Compulsory Detention
More serious acute schizophrenic episodes may require admission to a psychiatric ward at a hospital or clinic. You can admit yourself voluntarily to hospital if your psychiatrist agrees it is necessary.
People can also be compulsorily detained at a hospital under the Mental Health Act 2015. It is only possible for someone to be compulsorily detained at a hospital if they have a severe mental disorder, such as schizophrenia, and if detention is necessary:
- in the interests of the person’s own health and safety
- to protect others
People with schizophrenia who are compulsorily detained may need to be kept in locked wards.
All people being treated in hospital will stay only as long as is absolutely necessary for them to receive appropriate treatment and arrange aftercare.
An independent panel will regularly review your case and progress. Once they feel you are no longer a danger to yourself and others, you will be discharged from hospital. However, your care team may recommend you remain in hospital voluntarily.
The Bright Side Of Schizophrenia
The symptoms of schizophrenia are not always bleak and troublesome, however. In some cases, people with schizophrenia can actually see reality when healthy subjects cannot.
In the famous Hollow Mask illusion, where a mask that is concave is shown to people with and without schizophrenia, most healthy people see the mask as convex, as you would assume a face normally looks like.
But those with schizophrenia are not fooled by the image. They see the concave image, what is actually being shown. It is thought that the reason people with schizophrenia manage to see past the illusion is to do with top-down and bottom-up processing.
The brain uses both top-down processing and bottom-up processing when it comes to sorting out visual information. Top-down processing holds our memories, it stores images we have seen before, whereas bottom-up processes what we actually see before us, the reality.
Because we are used to seeing peoples faces as a normal convex one, in healthy individuals the bottom-up processing is over-ruled, and our minds do not see the tell-tale shadows that give the image away.
In the test, both healthy subjects and those with schizophrenia were scanned in an MRI scanner where their brain activity was measured. When the healthy subjects undertook the test, it was shown that the front parietal network and the visual parts of the brain were strengthened. There was no such strengthening with those who had schizophrenia.
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How Is Schizophrenia Treated
There are different types of treatment available. Medical professionals should work with you to find the right treatment for you. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence recommends that you should be offered a combination of medication and talking therapies.
People who live with schizophrenia can respond to treatment differently.
For many treatment helps to reduce symptoms to help make daily life easier. You may find that you need to continue with treatment to keep well. For every 5 people with schizophrenia:
- 1 will get better within 5 years of their first obvious symptoms.
- 3 will get better but will have times when they get worse again.
- 1 will have troublesome symptoms for long periods of time.
What medication should I be offered?
Your doctor may offer you medication known as an antipsychotic. These reduce the symptoms of schizophrenia, but dont cure the illness. Your healthcare professionals should work with you to help choose a medication. If you want, your carer can also help you make the decision. Doctors should explain the benefits and side effects of each drug.
In the past, some antipsychotics had negative side effects. Some people find that the side effects of newer antipsychotic drugs are easier to manage.
Your medication should be reviewed at least once a year.
What type of psychosocial treatment will I be offered?
Family intervention is where you and your family work with mental health professionals to help to manage relationships.