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How Does Schizophrenia Affect Social Life

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How Schizophrenia Affects My Life

And what was it about your friends that helped?That sounds familiar . So you were mainly going down the pub, just having a couple of games of pool. That kind of thing?Did you go out to concerts. Football?And how did it feel, you know, inside your head at that time when you started to go out a bit more?And did the voices die down when you were speaking and things like that?So they were sort of in the background?Relationships

How Doctors Diagnose It

There are no lab tests to find schizophrenia, so doctors usually base a diagnosis on a personâs history and symptoms. They will first rule out other medical causes. In teens, a combination of family history and certain behaviors can help predict the start of schizophrenia. The period when symptoms first start to arise and before the first episode of psychosis is called the prodromal period. It can last days, weeks or even a years. Sometime it can be difficult to recognize because there is usually no specific trigger. Prodrome is accompanied by what can be perceived as subtle behavioral changes, especially in teens. These behaviors include withdrawing from social groups and expressing unusual suspicions, but thatâs not enough for a diagnosis.

The Turning Point: Adolescence

An interaction between something in your genes and something in your environment probably causes the disease. Researchers still have a lot to learn about it, but its likely that many things play a role. Some, like exposure to a virus or malnutrition , might have happened while you were still in your mothers womb. For vulnerable individuals, cannabis use can increase the risk of developing psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

No one knows exactly why it usually crops up in late adolescence, but there are many theories.

Your brain changes and develops a lot during puberty. These shifts might trigger the disease in people who are at risk for it.

Some scientists believe it has to do with development in an area of the brain called the frontal cortex. Others think it has to do with too many connections between nerve cells being eliminated as the brain matures.

Hormones also play a major role in puberty. One theory is that women get schizophrenia later than men because they go through puberty earlier and the hormone estrogen might somehow protect them. Know how to recognize the signs of schizophrenia in teens.

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Effects Of Signs And Symptoms Of Schizophrenia At Work And School

These early schizophrenia symptoms can easily result in a failure to thrive at school. The person may push away all their friends and become withdrawn, no longer willing to take part in things they once enjoyed, like sports or music. The cognitive impairment and difficulty thinking may result in a drop in grades.

Once a person gets older, the symptoms of schizophrenia tend to become more pronounced as schizophrenia becomes a full-blown illness. At this point, signs and symptoms of schizophrenia include:1

  • Disorganized speech
  • Unusual behavior or postures
  • Inappropriate or lack of mood
  • Muscle immobility or stupor
  • Excessive, pointless muscle activity repetition of movement or speech

The specific cluster of symptoms any one person has varies depending on the type of schizophrenia.

These schizophrenia symptoms often make working impossible and can lead to periods of joblessness and even homelessness. However, there may be times when the person is in remission , where life can resume as normal.

How Common Is Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia affects roughly 20 million people worldwide.

Schizophrenia is diagnosed about twice as often in men than women. Its also more common in urban than rural areas.

Symptoms of schizophrenia usually emerge between the late teens and mid-30s, most often becoming evident in the early-to-mid 20s for men and late 20s for women. It is much less common for schizophrenia to be diagnosed in childhood. Adults diagnosed with schizophrenia have often experienced other emotional or behavioural disturbances during childhood.

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How Is Functioning Affected By Schizophrenia

Personalising clinical intervention and treating negative and cognitive symptoms should be the focus for improving overall functioning in people with schizophrenia.

Cognitive dysfunctions are a core feature of schizophrenia and have been shown to play a major role in the functional outcome of the disorder.1 Overall functioning is strictly tied to quality of life. Functional impairment in schizophrenia is largely caused by negative and cognitive symptoms, which can affect social functioning, working memory and executive function. It is important for modern drug regimens to address this critical unmet need. Despite the amount of data supporting the benefits of cognitive remediation interventions in schizophrenia, a number of questions remain to be answered. Identification of potential predictors of effectiveness of cognitive rehabilitation is at the forefront of research, because the efficacy of treatments largely depends on the appropriate selection of individuals, depending on the severity of the disease and treatment methodologies.2

Figure 1: Improving functioning in schizophrenia

References

How Does Psychosis Affect Social Health

The more productive and more socially integrated a person is when they develop a psychotic illness, and the older they are and the longer they have been unwell, the greater decline in social inclusion they experience. Better quality of life is associated with less deterioration in social integration.

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What Are The Determinants Of Social Connection In The Community

Most of what we know about determinants of social disconnection in the community comes from large surveys and health outcome data, but examination of determinants requires more intensive examination of smaller samples and longitudinal designs. The literature on schizophrenia suggests that social processing abilities and social motivation might be relevant for disconnection in the community. However, a systematic examination of these factors requires more costly and time-consuming assessments, including specialized self-report measures, and neuroscientific approaches such as electroencephalography and functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Diagnosing Schizophrenia Requires Special Testing

How Paranoid Schizophrenia Impacts My Life – A Day in the Life

A conventional physician usually cant diagnose schizophrenia. However, a primary care doctor can perform tests to ensure that the symptoms arent caused by another medical condition. Once your doctor rules out other problems, they may refer the patient to a psychologist or psychiatrist.

The mental health professional will interview the patient and ask about their psychological and medical histories. Psychiatric care providers use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to evaluate a patients symptoms.

There are several criteria for diagnosing schizophrenia, including:

  • A patient has at least two core symptoms, one of which must be disorganized speech, hallucinations, or delusions for a minimum of one month
  • Self-care, personal relations, and motivation have diminished significantly since symptoms started
  • Disturbances are not caused by a substance abuse disorder or physical illness, and
  • Symptoms that indicate psychosis or loss of reality last for at least six months.

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What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment

If you are not happy with your treatment you can:

  • talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
  • ask for a second opinion,
  • get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
  • contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service and see whether they can help, or
  • make a complaint.

There is more information about these options below.

Treatment options

You should first speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you are not happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.

Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you are not given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it is not suitable for you.

Second opinion

A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.

You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.

Advocacy

An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.

There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like.

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service

Complaints

You can find out more about:

Looking After Your Physical Health

Schizophrenia takes a toll on your physical health as well as your mental health. It can sap your energy, confidence and motivation you might feel less capable of keeping up your physical health or lose the desire to try.

Another major influence on your physical health is the side-effects of antipsychotic medication. Newer antipsychotic medications have fewer side-effects, but weight gain is still a common one.

People being treated for schizophrenia are much more likely than the general population to be overweight, have high blood pressure and develop diabetes.

Theyre also more likely to smoke, drink too much and use recreational drugs, which can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health.

If youre struggling with these problems, you may hear your doctor use the term metabolic syndrome. It means you have some combination of:

  • weight gain around the abdomen
  • high blood pressure
  • low levels of the good cholesterol
  • high blood glucose levels.

Metabolic syndrome is common in people with a sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy diet, but its especially common in people with schizophrenia.

There is support to help you get healthy and stay healthy.

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Talking About Your Diagnosis

People with schizophrenia may feel reluctant to talk about it with people they dont know well. Sharing ones mental health condition may feel risky, particularly if the response of the other person is in question. Those who are managing this disorder may wonder how to tell someone you have schizophrenia. While there is no predetermined way to do this, it can be helpful to gauge their understanding of the condition. Often when people have knowledge about a condition, they are better able to respond to it appropriately and with compassion.

Teach people how to help you when you are experiencing a flare-up with your symptoms. Most people want to help and may simply need to be educated about how to do that. Whom you share your personal information with is entirely your decision. You can share or withhold your medical and mental health information with whomever you would like.

It can also be helpful to enlist the assistance of someone you trust to help you share information about your diagnosis with others. Schizophrenia support groups can be a great way to do this. Meeting up with others who manage a similar condition can help in identifying coping strategies and methods of communicating about it with others.

Maintain Your Social Network

Schizophrenia

Try to maintain your friendships or the network of people that you have in your life. These will later become important supports as your loved one recovers. Educate them and update them on your loved ones recovery. People are sometimes afraid to ask questions about schizophrenia and this will put them at ease.

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Do People Know When They Have Schizophrenia

Sometimes. It depends on multiple factors. Whether the symptomsare mild, moderate or severe can make a big difference. If paranoiais mild, and hallucinations are transient and not too bothersome,then generally the answer would be no. However, if delusions andhallucinations are severe, the afflicted individual generally isaware that something is not right, . Even when symptoms are severe, the person withschizophrenia often maintains denial of the illness . This results inthe majority of individuals with schizophrenia seeking toself-medicate rather than comply with anti-psychotic medications . from a Board CertifiedPsychiatrist and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry

Negative Perceptions Of Schizophrenia A Barrier To Treatment Social Support

Perhaps unsurprisingly, societys negative perceptions about people with schizophrenia can stop individuals with the disorder from getting the help they need, in terms of both treatment and social support.

NAMI report that only 46% of people say they would tell a friend if they had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, while 27% say they would be embarrassed to tell others if one of their own family members had been diagnosed with the disorder.

Stalter told MNT:

Someone who hears the negative and pejorative comments about people with severe mental illness will not admit to having any symptoms and then will not seek help even when they are in the early stages and recognize that their thoughts might be inappropriate.

Not only do the symptoms cause isolation, but people abandon their friends and the families, leaving them without the support that they need.

And for many individuals with schizophrenia, a sense of normality comes with the ability to work. But employment is challenging for people with the disorder.

Only around 15% of people with schizophrenia in the US are employed. This figure is even lower in the UK, at 8%.

But aside from these challenges, Dr. Crepaz-Keay noted that there is a great deal of employer prejudice at play, which is echoed in a report from The Working Foundation at the University of Lancaster in the UK.

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Cognitive And Psychosocial Therapy

Cognitive and Psychosocial therapies have long been assumed to have no place in the remission of an acute psychotic episode. This was the place for medication. According to Beck and Rector , this assumption is untrue.

Using cognitive therapy similar to that used with depressed patients, they believe that gentle questioning and empirical testing regarding delusions and hallucinations can help in the abatement of active psychosis.

Once the psychotic episode is in remission, the therapies can focus on the integration of the patient back into the classroom, workplace, and social settings.

It has been hypothesized that patients with Schizophrenia can be treated similarly to those with traumatic brain injury .

However, this comparison fails upon closer inspection. While TBIs have an insult and infarction to the brain, it is almost always to the higher level processes and the outer layers of the brain, often the prefrontal cortex, in those that respond to cognitive rehabilitation.

In contrast, it is hypothesized those with Schizophrenia have dysfunctions resulting from errors in the brainstem and midbrain structures as well as the prefrontal cortex .

Seeming to support this view, psychosocial therapy does not have a strong track record as supported by research evidence in the outcome of Schizophrenia according to Scott & Dixon .

In contrast, Beck & Rector believe that cognitive therapy can reduce positive symptoms, as stated above, as well as negative symptoms.

How Does Schizophrenia Affect Your Life

My journey through schizophrenia and homelessness | Bethany Yeiser | TEDxCincinnati

Give time to loved ones going through schizophrenia and focus on small but realistic steps. Express and communicate in a simple manner: proper wording of a message is important.

Everyone who has schizophrenia will experience it differently. Presentation and severity of symptoms can vary, however they are likely to affect the personal life of the person with schizophrenia as well as their family and friends. For people with schizophrenia it is not always easy to maintain strong relationships. If someone close to you has schizophrenia there is information available for you to learn what you can do to help. Remember, support is very important for helping a person experiencing schizophrenia to stay well. Be prepared by learning more about how schizophrenia may impact someones personal life below.

If someone close to you has schizophrenia or if you have schizophrenia yourself, it is important to learn the facts about. Remember to read reliable resources and separate the myths from the truths. Find out more about signs and symptoms of schizophrenia to look out for and how you can help others who are experiencing schizophrenia.

References

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The Emotional And Physical Toll Of Schizophrenia On Your Family

10/19/2012|Admin

Schizophrenia is a severe, debilitating brain disorder that typically presents in your 20s and 30s. Symptoms commonly associated with this disorder include: hallucinations, delusions, illogical speech, confused thinking, catatonia, irritability, agitation, etc. Schizophrenia not only affects you, it also affects your family. If you suffer from schizophrenia, you probably have a hard time maintaining relationships, a job and/or your personal hygiene. It is important to remember that this disorder affects not only you, but also the people who love you.

Don’t Skip Treatments Or Appointments

When your symptoms start to decrease in intensity you might feel like it isn’t necessary to go to your therapy appointments, group therapy sessions or your medication management appointments. Not attending treatment appointments consistently can have a negative impact on your overall success in this journey. It is important to be consistent.

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What Risks And Complications Can Schizophrenia Cause

Physical health

Research suggests that people with serious mental illness , such as schizophrenia, have a shorter life expectancy. People with mental illness may die 15 to 20 years earlier than the general population. This may because people who live with SMI are at higher risk of having a range of health issues. Such as being overweight, having heart disease, smoking and diabetes.

Because of these issues, NICE recommends that when you start taking antipsychotic medication, your doctor should do a full range of physical health checks. This should include weight, blood pressure and other blood tests. These checks should be repeated regularly.

Mental health professionals are responsible for doing these checks for the first year of treatment. Responsibility may then pass to your GP. Your doctor or mental health team should offer you a programme which combines healthy eating and physical health checks. You should be supported by a healthcare professional to help stop smoking.

Suicide

The risk of suicide is increased for people with schizophrenia. Research indicates that around 513% of people who live with with schizophrenia die by suicide.

Research has found that the increased risk is not usually because of positive symptoms. The risk of suicide is associated more to affective symptoms, such as low mood.

Key risk factors for suicide include:

  • previous suicide attempts,

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