Genetics Are Passed Down From Your Mother And Father
Humans are the result of combining the DNA of a mother and father to create a unique person. Chromosomes are passed down from the parents to children via sperm and eggs, with each chromosome determining which genes the child will inherit from each side. There are some genes that appear to be passed down more frequently from one side of the family. For example, one popular theory is that male pattern baldness comes from the mothers side of the family. With diseases and disorders as serious as schizophrenia, it is important to understand whether the mother or father passes down the genes responsible for schizophrenia.
Types Of Psychotic Illness
There are a number of mental illnesses where psychotic symptoms can be present. Examples include:
- brief reactive psychosis psychotic symptoms that arise due to a very stressful event and last less than a month
- drug induced psychosis caused by drugs such as alcohol, speed, LSD, marijuana, ecstasy or magic mushrooms. The symptoms last until the effects of the drugs wear off
- schizophrenia most people affected by schizophrenia experience a range of psychotic symptoms and commonly have difficulty organising their thoughts
- bipolar disorder involves very extreme moods that can lead to psychotic symptoms
- psychotic depression depression can be so intense that it causes psychotic symptoms.
Positive And Negative Symptoms
The symptoms of schizophrenia are usually classified into:
- positive symptoms any change in behaviour or thoughts, such as hallucinations or delusions
- negative symptoms where people appear to withdraw from the world around then, take no interest in everyday social interactions, and often appear emotionless and flat
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The Internal & External View Of The World
People with schizophrenia have been shown to have problems with their vision, including retina issues, unusual eye movements, and abnormal blinking rates. These visual abnormalities have even been noted to occur before psychotic symptoms manifest, which can sometimes be predictive of a schizophrenia diagnosis.
Scientists believe that when someones vision is abnormal, the brain receives all kinds of confusing signals about the world, so they have to make more predictions in order to make sense of it all. Since vision is affected, they cant pick up on inconsistencies between what they know to be true from past experiences and whats happening in real-time sensory informationso they end up making false predictions.
This is what scientists think causes hallucinations and delusions. Even healthy people, however, can experience hallucinations when their vision is temporarily blocked for just a few days, researchers say.
On the other hand, scientists hypothesize that when someone is blind from birth, the brain is conditioned to make sense of all of that sensory information coming in by relying on other cues to build a mental picture. So, in theory, they wouldnt make false predictions about the world around them and would be less susceptible to psychotic symptoms. In effect, they are protected from the false visual cues associated with schizophrenia.
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The Phases And Recovery Of Schizophrenia
Recovery from psychotic episodes is not something that can be predicted. Some people may only experience one psychotic episode that is full-blown. Others have several different episodes. Some people may recover completely, however it is recommended that patients continue with lifelong treatment and support so as to avoid relapsing.
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Risk Factors For Developing Psychosis
Its not currently possible to precisely identify who is likely to develop psychosis. However, research has shown that genetics may play a role.
People are more likely to develop a psychotic disorder if they have a close family member, such as a parent or sibling, who has a psychotic disorder.
Children born with the genetic mutation known as 22q11.2 deletion syndrome are at risk of developing a psychotic disorder, especially schizophrenia.
Some kinds of psychosis are brought on by specific conditions or circumstances.
What Are The Symptoms Of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia usually happens in stages, with different symptoms and behaviors depending on the stage.
- Onset . This is an early phase that happens before a person develops more severe symptoms. It can include social withdrawal, anxiety, lack of motivation and neglect of personal hygiene.
- Active. This is when psychotic symptoms take full effect. Another term for this is psychotic break, where a person shows a disconnection from reality. That includes showing at least two of the five main symptoms listed immediately below.
- Residual. People in this stage still have some schizophrenia signs and symptoms, but theyre not as severe. Odd beliefs, lack of motivation, decreased feelings of enjoyment or pleasure, limited speaking and reduced emotional expression tend to be the most noticeable effects. Many people often improve to the point where they seem mostly or fully recovered. However, this is usually temporary, and symptoms of schizophrenia will return as a person goes back into the active stage of the condition.
What are the early signs of schizophrenia?
The early symptoms of schizophrenia, which happen in the onset stage, usually arent severe enough for a schizophrenia diagnosis but are still a cause for concern. This stage sometimes happens quickly, only taking weeks before moving to the next stage.
The most common symptoms or changes in this stage include:
What are the active stage symptoms?
Are there other possible symptoms?
Lack of insight
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If A Friend Or Family Member Has Did How Can I Help
Having a loved one with DID can be confusing and overwhelming. You may not know how to respond to their different alters or behaviors. You can help by:
- Learning about DID and its symptoms.
- Offering to attend family counseling or support groups with your loved one.
- Staying calm and supportive when sudden behavior changes occur.
Environment: A World Of Influences
So why do some people with genetically raised chances of psychosis have an episode, while others dont?
Everything that happens to you from the moment youre conceived affects the person you will become, including your health.
There are a number of environmental factors that could increase the likelihood of psychosis: your mothers health during pregnancy, complications with your birth, child abuse, some kinds of head injury and infection, drug abuse, living in urban areas and experiencing high stress and social disadvantage.
Research is continuing on the factors that influence a persons susceptibility to psychosis. Were understanding more all the time, but theres some way to go.
For now, its important to know that a complex mix of influences can raise your chances of experiencing psychosis, but no one thing alone causes it.
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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 persons 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.
A Look Inside The Mind Of Schizophrenia
To better understand schizophrenia, its best to learn more about both the science behind the symptoms and the stories of those whove experienced them.
Our understanding of schizophrenia has improved dramatically over the last century.
Advances in medicine have led to a better understanding of how the disorder works, leading to the development of more effective treatments.
But having scientific knowledge of schizophrenia is quite different from knowing how it feels on a personal level.
Approximately20 million people around the world live with schizophrenia. Theyre the ones who truly understand what the condition feels like from the inside.
Learning more about the scientific evidence behind the major symptoms as well as the deeply personal experiences of some of those whove lived with the disorder may allow you to better understand this challenging and chronic condition.
Schizophrenia is a complex psychological disorder affecting approximately 1.5 million people in the United States. It impairs thoughts, judgment, behavior, and the ability to interpret reality.
Schizophrenia symptoms may be divided into positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms.
Positive symptoms add something extra to how the person felt before onset. These are the symptoms of psychosis we most often associate with schizophrenia, including:
Negative symptoms take away from the individuals personality and may seem less like symptoms of a mental disorder. These may include:
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What Is Schizophrenia Called Now
Relapse prevention plan
A relapse is when, after you recover from an episode of psychosis, your symptoms return and you experience another episode.
A relapse prevention plan is a powerful tool for staying well and avoiding a worsening of your mental health issue. Making a plan involves:
- identifying your triggers: what events or situations could set your symptoms off?
- identifying your warning signs: what changes in your thinking, emotions and behaviour signal the early signs of psychosis?
- planning responses: what will you do to cope or seek help when you experience triggers & warning signs?
- listing support people: who will you call when you experience triggers & warning signs?
Having a relapse prevention can make you and the people who care for you feel more secure, even if you never have to use it.
Advance care directives
Because of the way schizophrenia affects thinking, feeling and behaviour, if your symptoms worsen at some time in the future, you may not be able to make good decisions about your care. It can also be hard for the people around you to know whats best for you when the situation is intense and confusing.
An advance care directive is your instructions for what you want to happen if you cant make your own choices, and who you authorise to make decisions for you.
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.
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Can You Have Schizophrenia Without Hallucinations
Although many people living with schizophrenia will experience some type of hallucination at some point in life, you can have schizophrenia without ever hallucinating.
To receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia, you need to experience at least two of the five main symptoms on most days for at least 1 month.
These symptoms include:
- catatonia, or disorganized or unusual movements and gestures
- difficulty expressing emotion and experiencing enjoyment and interest in life
But at least one of the two symptoms you need for diagnosis must be hallucinations, delusions, or confused and disorganized speech.
In other words, if you dont experience hallucinations but you do experience delusions with other schizophrenia symptoms, you could have schizophrenia.
Changes In Behaviour And Thoughts
A personâs 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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Schizophrenia Through The Ages
What does schizophrenia mean?
In 1910, the Swiss psychiatrist Paul Eugen Bleuler coined the term schizophrenia from the Greek words schizo and phren . Bleuler had intended the term to denote a loosening of thoughts and feelings, but, unfortunately, many people read it to mean a split personality.
What does schizophrenia not mean?
Robert Louis Stevensons novel The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde did much to popularize the concept of a split personality, which is sometimes also referred to as multiple personality disorder . However, MPD is a vanishingly rare condition that is entirely unrelated to schizophrenia. The vast majority of psychiatrists, myself included, have never seen a case of MPD, and many if not most suspect that such a condition does not exist. Yes, schizophrenia sufferers may hear various voices, or harbour strange beliefs, but this is not the same as having a split personality. Unlike Dr Jekyll, schizophrenia sufferers do not suddenly mutate into a different, unrecognizable person.
Who discovered schizophrenia?
How was schizophrenia thought of in antiquity?
But the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.
When did people first start thinking of schizophrenia as an illness?
How did beliefs change?
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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Lack Of Emotional Expressions
A characteristic symptom of schizophrenia is a lack of emotional expression. People with this condition may show little or no reactions to good or bad news.
They also begin to show fewer facial expressions and gestures when they talk. Their voice may become flat when they speak.
Interestingly, suggests that while they appear to have a wooden expression, what they express outward may not be the same as what they feel inside.
Sometimes, they can have unexplained and seemingly inappropriate reactions to things, like overwhelming anger or inappropriate laughter.
Rehabilitation And Living With Schizophrenia
Treatment can help many people with schizophrenia lead highly productive and rewarding lives. As with other chronic illnesses, some patients do extremely well while others continue to be symptomatic and need support and assistance.
After the symptoms of schizophrenia are controlled, various types of therapy can continue to help people manage the illness and improve their lives. Therapy and psychosocial supports can help people learn social skills, cope with stress, identify early warning signs of relapse and prolong periods of remission. Because schizophrenia typically strikes in early adulthood, individuals with the disorder often benefit from rehabilitation to help develop life-management skills, complete vocational or educational training, and hold a job. For example, supported-employment programs have been found to help people with schizophrenia obtain self-sufficiency. These programs provide people with severe mental illness competitive jobs in the community.
For many people living with schizophrenia family support is particularly important to their health and well-being. It is also essential for families to be informed and supported themselves. Organizations such as the Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America , Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness offer resources and support to individuals with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses and their families .
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Dont Use: Substance Abuse Addict Or User
Instead, use: Substance use disorder
Those who struggle with the misuse of drugs or alcohol arent simply choosing to abuse a substance. . There are often neurobiological factors and emotional health issues which lead to this behavior. Calling this a substance use disorder accepts these other factors. It removes some of the blame that comes with the term substance abuse and is a small, but significant, way to offer your support for those recovering from addiction.
How Is Childhood Schizophrenia Treated
Treatment for early schizophrenia depends on the child and the type and severity of symptoms. Treatment usually includes therapy and education for both patient and family. Depending on the childs age, the doctor may prescribe antipsychotic medications to help control symptoms.
In addition to medications, doctors often recommend social skills training and counseling for the child and family. Ongoing individual therapy helps children with schizophrenia learn coping skills. This support can help them maintain relationships and do well in school.
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