How To Tell If Someone Has Schizophrenia
Approximately one percent of the worlds population lives with schizophrenia, which is a serious mental health disorder that requires lifelong treatment. If you know even 100 people through family, work, school, and friends, you have a good chance of knowing someone who lives with this disorder.
Only a mental health professional can diagnose someone with schizophrenia . However, friends and family often notice signs that someone may need help from such a professional. By knowing the signs, you can help someone you love seek diagnostic help and treatment.
What Myths Are There About Schizophrenia
There are some myths or mistaken beliefs about schizophrenia which come from the media. For example,
- Schizophrenia means someone has a split personality
This is not the case. The mistake may come from the fact that the name ‘schizophrenia’ comes from two Greek words meaning ‘split’ and ‘mind’.
- Schizophrenia causes people to be violent
Research shows that only a small number of people with the illness may become violent. The same way as a small minority of the general public may become violent.
People with schizophrenia are far more likely to be harmed by other people than other people are to be harmed by them. But as these incidents can be shocking, the media often report them in a way which emphasises the mental health diagnosis. This can create fear and stigma in the general public.
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.
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When Schizophrenia Symptoms Start
Symptoms usually start to develop in early adulthood, between late adolescence and the early 30s. The disorder typically becomes evident slightly earlier in men than in women. Symptoms often emerge between late adolescence and the early 20s in men and between the early 20s and the early 30s in women.
Positive And Negative Symptoms
What psychiatrists call the positive symptoms of schizophrenia are more obvious:
- Abnormal thinking and inappropriate emotions.
- Hallucinations, delusions and odd communication.
What they call the negative symptoms are more subtle and can last longer:
- Not talking much.
- Blunted feelings/little facial expression.
- Staying in bed to avoid people.
Whether their symptoms are positive or negative, people with schizophrenia dont seem to interact with the world in a healthy way, says Dr. Bowers.
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Warning Signs And Symptoms
To learn more about symptoms that are specific to a particular mental illness, search under Mental Health Information.The following are signs that your loved one may want to speak to a medical or mental health professional.
It is especially important to pay attention to sudden changes in thoughts and behaviors. Also keep in mind that the onset of several of the symptoms below, and not just any one change, indicates a problem that should be assessed. The symptoms below should not be due to recent substance use or another medical condition.
If you or someone you know is in crisis now, seek help immediately. Call 1-800-273-TALK to reach a 24 hour crisis center or dial 911 for immediate assistance.
In Adults, Young Adults and Adolescents:
- Confused thinking
What Is The Typical Age Of Onset For Schizophrenia
Men and women are equally likely to get this brain disorder, but guys tend to get it slightly earlier. On average, men are diagnosed in their late teens to early 20s. Women tend to get diagnosed in their late 20s to early 30s. People rarely develop schizophrenia before they’re 12 or after they’re 40.
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Challenging Or Denying Hallucinations And Delusions
Many people think its best to gently counter hallucinations or delusions by saying something like, Thats not real, or I would see it, too.
Yet these symptoms are very real to them, and denying their reality often just ends up driving them away.
They may decide they cant trust or confide in you since you dont believe them. A lack of trust can make it more difficult to support them and encourage them to get help for symptoms.
Offering support doesnt mean pretending to believe in the hallucinations or delusions. You can simply say:
- It must feel so upsetting to hear those voices.
- That sounds so confusing and stressful.
When To Call A Doctor
If you notice symptoms like these, your teen needs to be checked by a doctor right away. That’s especially true if anyone on either side of their family has had schizophrenia.
The doctor will ask your teen questions about their thinking and behavior, possibly perform a brief physical exam, and give them blood or urine tests to make sure there isn’t another medical condition or drug abuse problem thatâs to blame.
For a schizophrenia diagnosis, the symptoms have to last for at least 6 months and donât seem to be due to another medical or psychiatric condition. Sometimes it takes longer than 6 months to make a confident diagnosis, based on how symptoms appear over time.
If your teen has the condition, a combination of treatments may work best. These might include medication and individual and family therapy.
The diagnosis can be tough news to hear. But with the right treatment, people with schizophrenia do go to college, hold jobs, and have a family life.
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What Is Mental Illness
Mental Illnesses are brain-based conditions that affect thinking, emotions, and behaviors. Since we all have brains having some kind of mental health problem during your life is really common.
For people who have mental illnesses, their brains have changed in a way in which they are unable to think, feel, or act in ways they want to. For some, this means experiencing extreme and unexpected changes in mood like feeling more sad or worried than normal. For others, it means not being able to think clearly, not being able to communicate with someone who is talking to them, or having bizarre thoughts to help explain weird feelings they are having.
There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of the more common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal.
Mental health problems may be related to excessive stress due to a particular situation or series of events. As with cancer, diabetes and heart disease, mental illnesses are often physical as well as emotional and psychological. Mental illnesses may be caused by a reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these. With proper care and treatment many individuals learn to cope or recover from a mental illness or emotional disorder.
To hear personal descriptions of mental illness, visit feelslike.
Challenges In Reaching Out
It can be challenging for people with schizophrenia to reach out to a doctor or other health professional about their concerns. This can be particularly tough for people who may be experiencing symptoms that leave them feeling suspicious of others.
Reassurance from people they trust can be helpful in encouraging and prompting someone to speak with a doctor or other mental health professional.
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Positive Signs Of Schizophrenia
In this case, the word positive does not mean much. Means additional inputs or functions that are not supported in the real world.
They Are Sometimes Called the Opposite Manifestation and Can Include:
- Day Dreams: These are false, mixed, and sometimes strange beliefs that are not based on the real world and that person will not give up, no matter where he is when he is shown current facts. For example, a person who is a fanatic may admit that people can hear their thoughts, that he is God or a deceiver, or that people put their heads in their heads or get rich.
- Dream Pipes: This includes counterfeit chemicals. Hearing voices is the most well-known myth in people with signs of schizophrenia. Voices can tell about a persons behavior, harass them, or give orders. Many unusual types include hallucinations, a strange smell, a pleasant taste in your mouth, and sensations in your skin even though nothing is affecting your body.
- Mental shock: In this case, the person may stop talking, and their body may be rehabilitated for some time.
Schizophrenia rotates frequently, so mitigation periods are ideal times to use self-improvement procedures to prevent the length and frequency of any future scenes. Without proper help, medication, and treatment, many people with signs of schizophrenia can cope with their symptoms, work more freely, and appreciate full, productive lives.
Dangers Young Adults With Schizophrenia Face
A young person dealing with schizophrenia and not receiving treatment is at risk for additional problems the longer they have the disorder. Unfortunately, suicide and suicidal thoughts are fairly common in those struggling with the mental illness. Substance abuse may also become an issue as someone tries to cope with schizophrenia, and is the most common co-occurring disorder. When both are present, treatment must address both conditions to be most effective.
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Moving Into Adulthood: A Turning Point
Schizophrenia is typically diagnosed after age 18, most often in a persons 20s or early 30s.
It may be fairly well-controlled early in life, but moving from home to college and encountering new rules, or no rules exposes vulnerable young people to things theyre not prepared to deal with, says Dr. Bowers.
Living with a college roommate can prove difficult. It may seem easier to avoid talking or eating with others. You tend to isolate yourself and seem preoccupied with your own world, she says.
Increased exposure to alcohol or drug use is also a trigger.
Among 50 college students who smoke pot, a few may get a drug-induced psychosis that clears in weeks, says Dr. Bowers. But one may go on to develop a serious mental health disorder.
Exposure to disturbing news events or potentially false information on the internet and social media can provoke extreme reactions in the vulnerable.
They misperceive whats happening in the environment and develop delusions, she says. They may not make sense or become too aggressive.
Its easy to become so distracted by thoughts that schoolwork and jobs get neglected.
If someone constantly plays video games or focuses only on personal interests, and offers an irrational explanation for avoiding studies or work, thats a warning sign, says Dr. Bowers.
Treatment Support And How To Help Find Answers For People Struggling With Psychosis:
Treatments for people showing potential signs of psychosis mostly focus on talk therapy, also called cognitive behavioral therapy. Family and group therapy are also important, and can be done virtually.
For people who show clear breaks with reality, antipsychotic medication can help greatly. The vast majority of people who receive these medicines experience improvement in their symptoms, but they may also experience side effects, so its important to work with a trained professional to find the best fit.
Women who experienced postpartum psychosis after having a baby are at high risk of experiencing it again if they have another pregnancy, and should receive special attention during and after pregnancy.
A very small number of people with psychosis may be driven by their paranoia or hallucinations to act strangely in public or try to harm others. If you find yourself having to call the police because of such behaviors, make sure they understand and acknowledge that the person youre calling about has a mental health condition and needs help getting to appropriate care.
Just like many infectious diseases can cause a fever, psychosis is part of many mental health conditions but what exactly causes it isnt well understood. Thats why the U-M team needs people with psychosis to consider taking part in the studies theyre running.
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What Are The Causes Of Schizophrenia
There is no known cause for schizophrenia however, there are two main factors that contribute to the development of schizophrenia in individuals genetics and environment. Genetics can play a significant role in schizophrenia as it can be hereditary, passed through the genes of the parent to their children. Having either one parent with schizophrenia gives you a ten percent increase in your chance of developing the disease. If both parents have schizophrenia, it increases your odds by forty percent. However, it usually takes genetics as well as your environment to trigger the disease. There are environmental factors such as substantial exposure to toxins, taking psychoactive or psychotropic drugs like methamphetamines or LSD, a viral infection or puberty.
How To Help Someone Else Experiencing Symptoms Of Psychosis:
Often, family and friends help identify someone who is struggling with psychosis, and suffering from their symptoms, so theyre important to getting them in touch with professionals who can help.
Stressful life events, such as going off to college or breaking up with a significant other, can trigger psychosis. Further research is needed into why this is, but a low underlying stress tolerance level is often seen.
Its all right to mention to someone that youre worried about them, and open the door to discussing it at that point or later. You can find out if theres an early-psychosis clinic like U-Ms near you, and provide information or offer to contact them.
If you notice signs that theyre harming themselves, thats the time to seek immediate help, often by starting with contacting suicide hotline or nearby psychiatric emergency room for advice. People with psychosis have 10 to 15 times the risk of suicidal thoughts or behaviors than others.
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Schizophrenia: What Is It
Printed primarily by myths and psychiatric aids, schizophrenia is a crippling mental disorder that causes a person to place a certain distance between the real world. It is thought to occur in about 1% of people and can be very difficult to treat, especially when combined with other mental illnesses or substance abuse problems. Schizophrenics tend to abuse drug use by self-medication to alleviate the side effects of the disease.
What Is The Outlook
- In most cases there are recurring episodes of symptoms . Most people in this group live relatively independently with varying amounts of support. The frequency and duration of each relapse can vary. Some people recover completely between relapses. Some people improve between relapses but never quite fully recover. Treatment often prevents relapses, or limits their number and severity.
- In some cases, there is only one episode of symptoms that lasts a few weeks or so. This is followed by a complete recovery, or substantial improvement without any further relapses. It is difficult to give an exact figure as to how often this occurs. Perhaps 2 in 10 cases or fewer.
- Up to 2 in 10 people with schizophrenia are not helped much by treatment and need long-term dependent care. For some, this is in secure accommodation.
- Depression is a common complication of schizophrenia.
- It is thought that up to a third of people with schizophrenia misuse alcohol and/or illegal drugs. Helping or treating such people can be difficult.
- About 1 in 10 people with schizophrenia end their own life.
The outlook is thought to be better if:
Newer medicines and better psychological treatments give hope that the outlook is improving.
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Understanding Schizophrenia: How To Recognize The Causes Symptoms And Early Warning Signs In Young People
November 6, 2016 by SABHH
Schizophrenia is a serious and chronic mental health disorder that alters how someone thinks and feels in a way that can interfere with normal behavior. The onset of the illness can happen at any age, but the U.S. National Library of Medicine says signs most commonly start showing between the ages of 16 and 30, with men generally developing it in their late teens to early 20s and women in their late 20s to early 30s. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that only about 1 percent of the American population suffers from it, but those who have it struggle to live a functional life.
People with the illness may hear or see things that arent real or present and often have trouble controlling their own thoughts. They also might exhibit unusual behaviors and believe things that arent true, such as the idea that someone else is trying to hurt them. These unhealthy and scary thoughts can not only negatively affect people with the disorder, but also their friends and family, particularly if they rely on loved ones for care.
Seeing someone you love suffer the mental and emotional symptoms of the illness can make you feel helpless. Fortunately, it is treatable. If you dont understand schizophrenia but are concerned you know someone who might be dealing with the disorder, it is important to learn about the causes, symptoms, and early warning signs so you can determine if treatment is necessary.