Learn More About The Signs And Symptoms Of Schizophrenia
There are a number of signs and symptoms that are characteristic of schizophrenia. They include positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms. Positive Symptoms: These involve excesses or distortions in normal behavior, including:
- Delusions or false beliefs
- Hallucinations perceived sensations without the presence of any stimuli which may account for them
- Disorganized speech e.g. abruptly stopping speech in the middle of a sentence or word salad, or stringing together nonsensical words
- Disorganized behavior e.g. confusion about where one is going, starting to do one thing and becoming derailed by something else
- Catatonic behavior This may be represented by freezing immobility or holding unusual poses for hours or days. Sometimes individuals alternate between freezing and extremely agitated behavior.
Negative Symptoms: These involve deficits in behavior or diminished behavior, including:
- Inability to experience or express emotions, also called blunted affect
- Amotivational syndrome
- Lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Inability to sustain goal-directed behavior
- Loss of ability to experience positive emotions
- Impaired ability to plan or complete activities
- Poor personal hygiene
- Social withdrawal
Cognitive symptoms: These symptoms tend to be subtle, often undetected, and include:
- Impaired executive functioning, or the ability to take in, decipher information, then use this information to make decisions
- Inability to pay attention
Does Schizophrenia Get Better As You Get Older
Schizophrenia does not typically get better as you get older. The symptoms of schizophrenia may become worse over time, or they may remain the same for some people. Schizophrenia is a chronic illness that can be managed with medication and therapy, but it does not typically go away as you get older.
What Is Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a severe mental health disorder that can affect anyone during their adult lifetime.
Most symptoms of Schizophrenia appear during early adulthood when someone is in their mid to late 20s.
This means you could be a nursing student or even already working as a nurse before you begin to notice symptoms of this disorder.
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What Is The Long
Without ongoing care, people with schizophrenia can be hospitalized multiple times, lose jobs and fall out of touch with their families.
Early treatment in whatever setting works best for the patient is important, says Dr. Bowers. If they are in the hospital, we want to be sure they have a good aftercare plan.
Patients need to have a clear idea about how to maintain their health by taking their meds, staying sober and getting community support.
This will help them maintain their independence and function better in society.
The road to diagnosis, treatment and stability is a challenging one. Along the way, she recommends getting education and support from national organizations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness , Recovery International and Emotions Anonymous.
To learn about local services, families can reach out to their county mental health board, local hospital or mental health center.
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.
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What If I Have A Relapse In Symptoms
If your Schizophrenia is under control with medications and therapy, you can successfully work in any job or field you love, including nursing.
However, there is always a risk of relapse in which your symptoms might return, or your medication stops working.
If this is the case, dont worry. Under federal and state law, it is illegal for you to be fired due to a medical or mental health condition such as Schizophrenia.
Even if you often find yourself struggling to keep your symptoms at bay and need extra time off work, you can do so by requesting FMLA leave, so-called for the Family and Medical Leave Act.
This act allows you to take time off work to address your mental or medical issues, spend time with a sick loved one, and protect yourself from being fired due to your condition.
Fortunately, even if you have a relapse that requires hospitalization, the average length of your hospitalization stay is around 10 days. This means that your doctors will be able to adjust your medication and stabilize you so you can get back to doing what you love.
What Is Schizophrenia Or Paranoid Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a challenging brain disorder that often makes it difficult to distinguish between what is real and unreal, to think clearly, manage emotions, relate to others, and function normally. It affects the way a person behaves, thinks, and sees the world.
The most common form is paranoid schizophrenia, or schizophrenia with paranoia as its often called. People with paranoid schizophrenia have an altered perception of reality. They may see or hear things that dont exist, speak in confusing ways, believe that others are trying to harm them, or feel like theyre being constantly watched. This can cause relationship problems, disrupt normal daily activities like bathing, eating, or running errands, and lead to alcohol and drug abuse in an attempt to self-medicate.
Many people with schizophrenia withdraw from the outside world, act out in confusion and fear, and are at an increased risk of attempting suicide, especially during psychotic episodes, periods of depression, and in the first six months after starting treatment.
Take any suicidal thoughts or talk very seriously
If you or someone you care about is suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at 1-800-273-TALK, visit IASP or Suicide.org to find a helpline in your country, or read Suicide Prevention.
Need to talk to someone?
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Caring For Someone With Schizophrenia
Research has shown that involving family members in treatment for people with schizophrenia can help to reduce the likelihood of future episodes.
It helps to learn as much as you can about psychosis and schizophrenia. When youre well informed you have a better handle on what is happening and you can be more confident understanding and making decisions about treatment.
Stories from others caring for people with mental health issues are also a reminder that recovery is possible.
What Cognitive Schizophrenia Symptoms Are Like
Someone with these symptoms may have trouble concentrating, focusing, taking in new information, and using that information. Their brain processes information more slowly, their memory declines, and they often have trouble reading and understanding social cues, Weinstein says. Though these symptoms can be made even worse by the brain âtrafficâ from positive symptoms, cognitive decline is a symptom all on its own, Margolis says.
âEven getting dressed was a very complicated process for me,â Collins says. âItâs like a traffic jam of information going in and out of your brain, so itâs like everything is always new, you donât remember the process.â
Dickson describes feeling like his brain was under constant assault. âMy analogy is if youâre playing a game of tackle football with some friends and the ball is coming to you, can you really do algebra in your head at that moment? I was a fairly smart guy, but when youâre sick with what I had, you really canât do a lot of deep intellectual thinking.â
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What Is Considered High
An individual with high-functioning schizophrenia is someone who can conceal their dysfunctional behaviors in public settings and maintain a positive public and professional profile while exposing their negative traits to the family behind closed doors.
A look into the ordinary life of a schizophrenic shows that there are days when all is well, but then sometimes an individual may have an entire active manifestation for about a week. There are certain triggers, such as stress, that may cause one to relapse again.
The infrequency of symptoms is what cause schizophrenics to be low functioning. The fear that they can hurt themselves, or walk into a busy street or even engage in public disorder is the everyday challenge.
Help For Family & Friends
The family and friends of someone with schizophrenia need care and support too its okay to set boundaries for the care you can give, and to prioritise your own physical and mental health.
There are many other people out there who share your experience, and many services designed to help carers of people with mental health issues. Here are a few places to find support:
SANE factsheets provide brief, introductory information about mental health. For more in-depth information, read SANEs Schizophrenia guide.
This SANE factsheet is currently being reviewed by industry professionals and people with lived experience
Schizophrenia impacts a person’s thoughts, perceptions, emotions, and behaviour. It can cause periods where people lose touch with reality. Other changes such as reduced motivation, flattened emotional expression, and problems processing information can also occur.
With treatment and support people can and do live fulfilling lives.
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Reacting To A Persons Schizophrenic Episode
Every persons episodic symptoms are unique to them. It is very important to not judge a person who is experiencing a psychotic episode or tell them that their reality is false. For them it is real and it is unhelpful for them to be told it is not. This will only further stigmatize or isolate them, decreasing the potential for them to voluntarily check themselves into a hospital or engaging in therapy with a psychologist or psychotherapist.
If you want to help someone experiencing an episode or connect with them focus on the feelings that their hallucinations or delusions bring up for them- not the hallucinations themselves. Dont argue or be patronizing: talk about things that you have in common, or do a non-threatening activity . It is important to keep an open mind and be supportive. Help them to engage as soon as possible in the process of learning about their illness, rehabilitation and reclaiming control.
Changes In Behaviour And Thoughts
A person’s behaviour may become more disorganised and unpredictable.
Some people describe their thoughts as being controlled by someone else, that their thoughts are not their own, or that thoughts have been planted in their mind by someone else.
Another feeling is that thoughts are disappearing, as though someone is removing them from their mind.
Some people feel their body is being taken over and someone else is directing their movements and actions.
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How I Went From Being A College Student To Someone With Schizophrenia
But at the end of 2008, I started experiencing strange symptoms. I began feeling paranoid. I started seeing things, and hearing voices. I didnt want to get dressed or even get out of bed. I didnt understand what was going on.
They started me on some new medication, but when I was discharged four months later, I noticed that I was having side effects, like twitching. I wanted to go back to work as a server, but you cant carry trays in a restaurant when youre twitching! So I stopped taking my meds again.
What Are The Symptoms Of Schizophrenia And How Is It Diagnosed
How is schizophrenia diagnosed?
Only a psychiatrist can diagnose you with schizophrenia after a full psychiatric assessment. You may have to see the psychiatrist a few times before they diagnose you. This is because they need to see how often you are experiencing symptoms.
There are currently no blood tests or scans that can prove if you have schizophrenia. So, psychiatrists use manuals to diagnose schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
The 2 main manuals used by medical professionals are the:
- International Classification of Diseases which is produced by the World Health Organisation , or
- Diagnostic and Statistical Manual which is produced by the American Psychiatric Association .
NHS doctors use the ICD-10.
The manuals explain which symptoms should be present, and for how long for you to receive a diagnosis. For example, according to the NHS you need to be hearing voices for at least 1 month before you can be diagnosed. Mental health professionals may say you have psychosis before they diagnose you with schizophrenia.
What is the future of diagnosis in schizophrenia?There are many research studies being conducted across the world on how to better diagnose schizophrenia. For example, a recent study found through looking at images of the brain, there may be different sub-types of schizophrenia.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
The symptoms of schizophrenia are commonly described as positive symptoms or negative symptoms. This doesnt mean that they are good or bad.
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Early Intervention Programs For Young People
Schizophrenia most often develops for the first time between the late teens and early twenties. Identifying young people in the early stages of a psychotic illness and providing them with specialised support and treatment can make a huge difference to their future health.
Specialist Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are also available across Australia talk to your GP about finding a service near you. You can also contact your local headspace or their online support service, eheadspace to enquire about early intervention for psychosis.
Your public hospital
The treatment available through a public community mental health team ranges from acute inpatient care, where you are admitted and stay in hospital, to outpatient treatment in the community. The type of service provided can differ a lot from state to state and hospital to hospital.
Your state or territory Department of Health can help you identify your local community mental health services, or you can use the National Health Services Directory.
Treatment in a private hospital
With private health insurance, its also possible to get treatment in a private hospital. To ensure your money is well spent, research the different types of cover available and the treatment programs offered by hospitals in your area.
Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Schizophrenia
Is residential teen treatment necessary?
That depends on a teens condition, and the severity of their disorder. We recommend intensive therapy, especially during the onset of the illness, for teens with schizophrenia. This is because residential treatment focuses on maintaining close supervision and encompassing support as therapists and doctors work with teens to treat their symptoms, provide teens with understanding and support, and prepare them to live life by managing their illness.
How will a diagnosis of schizophrenia affect my teens life?
Every case of schizophrenia is a little different. Because the disorder happens on a spectrum, how your teens life will change is entirely dependent on the symptoms they exhibit and how those might change.
Milder forms of schizophrenia can still come with codependent disorders like anxiety or depression and dealing with them can mean that your teen might feel encouraged to become a recluse at times. A social life can be very difficult with schizophrenia, but its never impossible. Some teens are actually relieved to discover that they have schizophrenia, because having a name for it is worse than spending a good portion of their life struggling with thoughts and feelings they cant place or understand.
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Better Treatment For Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia, though severe, is becoming increasingly treatable. Schizophrenia treatment options are expanding and some day nearly everyone with schizophrenia will lead a better quality life. Scientists are forming new types of drugs and treatments that will one day greatly mitigate the effects of this illness on its sufferers. Nearly everyone will receive some form of relief from the devastating voices and delusions which now control their lives. These newfound medical advances will form the groundwork of our eventually resurgence from the depths of psychosis. We will one day be thrust onto the world stage, free from the most debilitating effects of our illness.
What Do Schizophrenia Hallucinations Look Like
Just like in our What Do The Hallucinations Say? video, we also discuss why it can be inappropriate to ask someone what their hallucinations look like. Having a person repeat what their hallucinations look like can be triggering. It is better to focus on how you can help the individual or how they feel rather than to get the inside scoop on what the hallucinations look like. Focus on the person first. If they feel comfortable sharing, let them volunteer that information do not impose or burden it on them. This week Michelle Hammer from Schizophrenic.NYC and Cecilia McGough from Students With Psychosis describe what their visual hallucinations look like
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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.