For Those With Did Medication Rarely Helps At All
Muller said drugs “can help a little bit,” with DID, but certainly do not help a lot.
“Many drugs have been tried, but nothing really seems to help that much drug-wise,” he said. “Some of the drugs can numb the pain a little bit, so you get some people with DID on anti depressants, like Prozac. It can take some of the edge off, but it certainly doesn’t cure the altered states of consciousness, or dissociating.”
Whatever level of DID a patient has, drugs don’t make it go away, or even change it in any way. Muller says it’s the psychotherapy which can really help people.
He said need therapists who understand trauma to help them deal with the memories of the past without getting badly triggered by them. He mentions and explains some of the concepts of trauma in his book “.”
DID is on the same spectrum as post traumatic stress disorder , and so a big part of the therapy is digging into the past to find out where the trauma was, to face it, and to learn what it is in day to day life that might bring it back and make the patient fearful.
Nothing necessarily bad has to be happening to someone with DID to trigger dissociation either. It might be the way a room is lit, a topic brought up in a book or a film, or the sight of a particular item of clothing. It’s just that something about the situation is similar to the one where they were incredibly scared, and their brain starts protecting them again.
Its Easy To Live In Denial
Even though your loved one isn’t functioning well, isn’t meeting their own expectations in life, and is using alcohol or drugs to cope, they may not see there’s a problem.
Because of the natural urge to protect those you love, families can stay in denial, as well.
It’s often the college that sends a young adult to the hospital for the first time because of erratic behavior or an overdose. The parents get involved only because the college requests their child be evaluated by a psychiatrist.
“Families often don’t seek help on their own,” says Dr. Bowers.
They may continue to struggle try to understand their loved one’s symptoms. Or ignore those symptoms until they escalate, sometimes into violent behavior.
But early, continuous treatment is critical, she stresses. Without help, a young adult’s problems will continue — especially if they use drugs or alcohol.
“If you find them up all hours of the night, or painting their room black, or too irritable without their meds, or scaring their little sister, call the doctor,” she says. “And encourage them to keep their appointments.”
Prevention Through Intensive Intervention Programs
NPR’s “Shots” blog has the story by Amy Standen about a newer way of looking at strategies to help treat schizophrenia before it turns into a full-blown condition. One such program is called Venture Early Intervention Prevention Services :
VIPS is one of a handful of programs that have sprung up in California in recent years, based on a model developed in Maine by psychiatrist Dr. Bill McFarlane.
McFarlane believes that psychosis can be prevented with a range of surprisingly low-tech interventions, almost all of which are designed to reduce stress in the family of the young person who is starting to show symptoms.
Those interventions include examining and helping fix negative family dynamics that may exacerbate schizophrenia symptoms in the identified patient. The focus of the program is problem-solving, and reducing stress in the family household. Why target stress? Because stress has been implicated in trigger potential schizophrenic symptoms.
Drugs are also sometimes prescribed. “In some cases, participants are also prescribed antipsychotic drugs, especially one called Abilify, which McFarlane and others believe can stem hallucinations. The drugs, he says, should be used cautiously, at lower doses than would be prescribed for full psychosis, and even then only in young people who aren’t responding to other treatments.”
Schizophrenia Patients Have A Greater Risk Of Earlier Death
The disease itself may not be deadly, but schizophrenia can have life-threatening consequences. Patients with schizophrenia are two to three times more likely to die early than people without it, and they generally live 20 years less. The causes of death that contribute to this high mortality rate are suicide, , and heart disease. Drug and alcohol abuse and cigarette smoking is more common among people with schizophrenia, all of which can lead to a decline in health. The antipsychotic drugs many people with schizophrenia take for most of their lives can also cause adverse side effects like metabolic issues.
How Can Family And Friends Help
Having schizophrenia can be a scary experience, and knowing that someone you love has this illness changes your life. Show love, and learn as much as you can about the illness. Understand that the behaviour you may see is caused by the illness and is not the person you love.
If you think that someone you love has schizophrenia, help that person get to a doctor. The sooner the illness is diagnosed and the person begins treatment, the more successful treatment and recovery may be.
You can help by talking to your loved one and helping him or her continue treatment. You also can help your loved one deal with fear and other feelings about the illness and with the negative attitudes that some people have toward schizophrenia.
Articles On Schizophrenia Overview
is a chronic, severe mental disorder that affects the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality, and relates to others. Though schizophrenia isn’t as common as other major mental illnesses, it can be the most chronic and disabling.
People with schizophrenia often have problems doing well in society, at work, at school, and in . They might feel frightened and withdrawn, and could appear to have lost touch with reality. This lifelong disease can’t be cured but can be controlled with proper treatment.
Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia is not a split or multiple personality. Schizophrenia involves a psychosis, a type of mental illness in which a person can’t tell what’s real from what’s imagined. At times, people with psychotic disorders lose touch with reality. The world may seem like a jumble of confusing thoughts, images, and sounds. Their behavior may be very strange and even shocking. A sudden change in personality and behavior, which happens when people who have it lose touch with reality, is called a psychotic episode.
Take Steps To Help Them Avoid Alcohol And Illicit Drugs
When some people with schizophrenia experience symptoms, such as hearing voices, they may seek relief by using alcohol and drugs, which work quickly to help them feel different. Caregivers can help prevent substance abuse by clearing the house of drugs and alcohol and by talking to their loved one about how abstaining from drugs and alcohol can help them maintain their overall health and achieve their goals.
Maintain Your Social Network
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 one’s recovery. People are sometimes afraid to ask questions about schizophrenia and this will put them at ease.
How Can I Find Help
If you’re not sure where to get help, your health care provider is a good place to start. Your health care provider can refer you to a qualified mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist who has experience treating schizophrenia. You can learn more about getting help on NIMH’s Help for Mental Illness webpage.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator, an online tool to help you find mental health services in your area. You can find information about treatment facilities that offer coordinated specialty care by using SAMHSA’s Early Serious Mental Illness Treatment Locator.
For tips on talking with your health care provider about your mental health and getting the most out of your visit, read NIMH’s fact sheet, Taking Control of Your Mental Health: Tips for Talking With Your Health Care Provider.
Schizophrenia: Early Warning Signs
Early detection and treatment of conditions such as heart disease and cancer have improved survival rates and quality of life for people who suffer from these conditions. A new approach involves identifying people who show minor symptoms of psychosis, such as unusual thought content, paranoia, odd communication, delusions, problems at school or work, and a decline in social functioning—which are coined prodromal symptoms—and following these individuals over time to determine which of them develop a psychotic disorder and which factors best predict such a disorder. A number of factors have been identified that predict a greater likelihood that prodromal individuals will develop a psychotic disorder: genetic risk , recent deterioration in functioning, high levels of unusual thought content, high levels of suspicion or paranoia, poor social functioning, and a history of substance abuse . Further research will enable a more accurate prediction of those at greatest risk for developing schizophrenia, and thus to whom early intervention efforts should be directed.
Take Care Of Yourself Too
As a family member, it’s important to take care of yourself. Try to maintain your regular schedule and activities, such as your exercise routine and hobbies. Ask another family member or good friend to provide help with caregiving, especially in the early days of your loved one’s illness. If you need help balancing time for self-care with caregiving duties, check out the BC Schizophrenia Society’s Family Respite Program.
Tip 4: Watch For Signs Of Relapse
Stopping medication is the most frequent cause of relapse in schizophrenia, so it’s extremely important that your family member continues to take all medication as directed. While relapse can occur even if a person is taking medication as prescribed, you may be able to prevent a full-blown crisis by recognizing the warning signs and taking immediate steps.
Early Warning Signs Of Schizophrenia
In some people, schizophrenia appears suddenly and without warning. But for most, it comes on slowly, with subtle warning signs and a gradual decline in functioning, long before the first severe episode. Often, friends or family members will know early on that something is wrong, without knowing exactly what.
In this early phase of schizophrenia, you may seem eccentric, unmotivated, emotionless, and reclusive to others. You may start to isolate yourself, begin neglecting your appearance, say peculiar things, and show a general indifference to life. You may abandon hobbies and activities, and your performance at work or school can deteriorate.
What Is Dissociative Identity Disorder
Dissociative identity disorder is a mental health condition. People with DID have two or more separate identities. These personalities control their behavior at different times. Each identity has its own personal history, traits, likes and dislikes. DID can lead to gaps in memory and hallucinations .
Dissociative identity disorder used to be called multiple personality disorder or split personality disorder.
DID is one of several dissociative disorders. These disorders affect a person’s ability to connect with reality. Other dissociative disorders include:
- Depersonalized or derealization disorder, which causes a feeling of detachment from your actions.
- Dissociative amnesia, or problems remembering information about yourself.
Help Them Maintain Their Social Skills
People with schizophrenia tend to reverse the sleep cycle, staying awake late into the night and then waking up in the afternoon, Baker says. Sleeping in late can disrupt routines and encourage isolation. Other symptoms of schizophrenia, such as social withdrawal and poor interpersonal skills, can also contribute to this isolation.
can help their loved one maintain social skills by adhering to routines, including planned social activities and outings. Take an active role by getting the person into a community program, taking him or her to the park every week, or initiating contact with friends, Baker suggests.
Disorganized Symptoms Of Schizophrenia
These are positive symptoms that show that the person can’t think clearly or respond as expected. Examples include:
- Talking in sentences that don’t make sense or using nonsense words, making it difficult for the person to communicate or hold a conversation
- Shifting quickly from one thought to the next without obvious or logical connections between them
- Moving slowly
- Being unable to make decisions
- Writing excessively but without meaning
- Forgetting or losing things
- Repeating movements or gestures, like pacing or walking in circles
- Having problems making sense of everyday sights, sounds, and feelings
Encourage Them To Schedule Regular Doctor Appointments
People with schizophrenia may not believe that they have an illness or need medical help. Despite these beliefs, keeping doctor appointments is critical. The sooner the person is treated, she says, the better the outcome. Arguing with people with schizophrenia or attempting to convince them that the voices they hear don’t exist isn’t an effective way to get them to seek treatment. Instead, Baker recommends reminding people with schizophrenia how treatment can help them reach whatever goals they may have for their lives. “There needs to be a sense of motivation on the person’s part,” she says.
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 don’t 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.
Cognitive Symptoms & Thinking Problems
These symptoms reflect how well the person’s brain learns, stores, and uses information.
Someone with schizophrenia might have a hard time with their working memory. For example, they may not be able to keep track of different kinds of facts at the same time, like a phone number plus instructions.
Along with having trouble paying attention, it can be hard for them to organize their thoughts and make decisions.
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.
Tip 5: Prepare For Crisis Situations
Despite your best efforts to prevent relapse, there may be times when your loved one’s condition deteriorates rapidly and hospitalization is required to keep them safe. Having an emergency plan ready for an acute psychotic episode will help you handle the crisis safely and quickly. A good emergency plan for someone with schizophrenia includes:
- Emergency contact information for your loved one’s doctor and therapists.
- The address and phone number of the hospital you will go to for psychiatric admission.
- Friends or relatives who will take care of other children or dependents while you deal with the crisis.
It’s also wise to go over the emergency plan with your family member. The crisis situation may be less frightening to your loved one if they know what to expect during an emergency.
10 tips for handling a schizophrenia crisis
Other Mental Illnesses Are Related To Schizophrenia
Schizophrenic patients are at a greater risk for a slew of different mental illnesses. Rates of depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are all among people with schizophrenia. Symptoms of schizophrenia can overlap with these disorders: Suicidal thoughts and a lack of motivation and interest in life are schizophrenic symptoms that are also hallmarks of .
Doing Everything For Them
When your loved one is unable to do chores, errands, or daily tasks, you might try to help by taking over those responsibilities.
But it’s often more helpful to encourage them to take steps toward doing these things themselves and offering support when needed.
You can also ask if there’s anything specific getting in the way of tasks:
- If they haven’t done laundry because they ran out of laundry soap and feel afraid of leaving the house, you could offer to do a grocery run.
- If they can’t prepare meals because a voice threatens them whenever they pick up a knife, you might help them chop a few days’ worth of vegetables in advance.
You can also offer to help them plan and schedule out weekly responsibilities when you spend time together.
Negative Symptoms Of Schizophrenia
The word “negative” here doesn’t mean “bad.” It notes the absence of normal behaviors in people with schizophrenia. Negative symptoms of schizophrenia include:
- Lack of emotion or a limited range of emotions
- Withdrawal from family, friends, and social activities
- Less energy
- Loss of pleasure or interest in life
- Poor hygiene and grooming habits
How Does Schizophrenia Affect Your Life
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 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 someone’s 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 to look out for and how you can help others who are experiencing schizophrenia.
The First Signs Of Schizophrenia Usually Appear In Adolescence
Most people with schizophrenia develop it fairly early in life. The most common time for symptoms to appear is in late adolescence and early adulthood. While male patients typically start dealing with schizophrenia in their late teens or early 20s, women tend to develop it a bit later in their late 20s and early 30s.The goes through crucial changes in late adolescence, which could make it especially vulnerable to psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.
What Happens At The Hospital
About one-third of people with schizophrenia don’t believe anything is wrong with them. Many more don’t seek help on their own, for cultural reasons or because they lack resources.
So problems often come to light only when their erratic behavior or other troubles trigger a crisis. “Patients are often brought to the hospital by family, teachers or the police,” says Dr. Bowers.
To decide whether to admit someone, psychiatrists consider whether patients pose a risk to themselves or others; whether they can take care of themselves; and whether they could benefit from hospital treatment.
Encourage Your Loved One To Keep Up With Their Treatment And Recovery Plan
This is very important! You are not responsible for your loved one’s treatment , but you can support them. Schizophrenia can make it difficult for people to make and go to appointments and follow their treatment plan. With your loved one’s permission, you may choose to help by reminding them of appointments, taking them to appointments, or whatever helps in your situation. If your loved one isn’t happy with their treatment or would like to try a new approach, you can encourage them to talk with their care team, like their doctor or mental health team—it can be dangerous to stop or change a treatment without a doctor’s support.
Treatment can be a difficult area for loved ones. It’s hard to see someone you love in pain. You might be scared of the things your loved one is experiencing. You want to help. But in order for any treatment to work, your loved one needs to be active in their care. Forcing or threatening treatment generally doesn’t work and can often hurt everyone involved. In most cases, anyone 19 years of age and older and not at risk of harm is free to make their own choices. And their choices may include refusing treatment or choosing a treatment that you disagree with. It helps everyone if you can be respectful and keep honest communication open between you. You can learn more about dealing with this situation in Q&A: An adult in my life seems ill and won’t find help. What can I do?.
What Are Complications Of Dissociative Identity Disorder
As with other mental health conditions, the prognosis for people with DID becomes much less optimistic if not appropriately treated. Individuals with a history of being sexually abused, including those who go on to develop dissociative identity disorder, are vulnerable to abusing alcohol or other substances as a negative way of coping with their victimization. People with DID are also at risk for attempting more than once. Violent behavior has a high level of association with dissociation as well. Other debilitating outcomes of DID, like that of other severe chronic mental illnesses, include inability to obtain and maintain employment, poor relationships with others, and therefore overall lower productivity and quality of life.
#1 Myth: Schizophrenia Means You Have A Split Personality
Reality: “This is a classic myth,” Dr. Rego says. A split personality, also called a Dissociative Identity Disorder or a Multiple Personality Disorder, is extraordinarily rare, he explains. It is quite distinct from schizophrenia, he says. “Schizophrenia is a thought disorder,” he explains, “The myth likely stems from the fact that in schizophrenia there is a breakdown, or split, between thoughts, emotions, and behavior.”
This split results in the person confusing reality and fantasy, Dr. Rego explains. “The person may experience delusions and hallucinations, and emotions may become blunted or inappropriate,” he explains. When most people think of schizophrenia, they think of someone who is seeing things and hearing voices, Dr. Rego points out. “These are what are called positive symptoms, but people with schizophrenia have negative symptoms, too,” he says. Among the common negative symptoms are low motivation, difficulty forming social connections, and a flat, blunted affect, Dr. Rego says. A lack of pleasure in everyday activities, rarely speaking, and difficulty paying attention are also symptoms, according to the American Psychological Association.