Women Tend To Develop Symptoms Of Schizophrenia Later Than Men And Often Exhibit Different Symptoms
There is no disparity in the occurrence and prevalence of schizophrenia between men and women, though schizophrenia is more closely associated with younger men. This may be due to the fact that women are more likely to experience the onset of schizophrenia later than men. Women tend to develop symptoms in their late 20s whereas the onset in men is typically in their early 20s.1 Also, because women with schizophrenia tend to be more socially active, their schizophrenia may be less detectable.
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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.
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.
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.
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
You can find out more about:
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.
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Symptoms Of Women With Schizophrenia
The criteria for a diagnosis of schizophrenia is the same for women as it is for men, but the features of schizophrenia differ between the genders. For example, women may exhibit depression or anxiety which may put them at a higher risk for suicide.2
Women with schizophrenia are lesslikely to have symptoms such as:
- Flat affect
- Speech reduction
- Social withdrawal
Women with schizophrenia may be more physically active and more hostile than men with the illness. They may also experience more auditory hallucinations as well as paranoid and persecutory delusions. Paranoid delusions consist of thoughts like, my spouse is cheating on me, when he isnt. Persecutory delusions consist of thoughts like, Im being mistreated, when there is no actual mistreatment. Not every woman with schizophrenia will exhibit these features, but these trends have been noted in some large-scale studies.3
The 10 Most Common Signs Of Schizophrenia
Hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking and behaviors knowing these signs and what they look like can be a good step toward the right treatment plan.
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health condition that affects a persons behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.
The condition is one of the top 15 leading causes of disability in the world. Its usually diagnosed between the ages of 16 and 30, after a person has experienced their first psychotic episode. Its rare for a young child to have schizophrenia.
But symptoms of schizophrenia develop slowly over time. You may begin to see signs in early teen years, such as:
- experiencing a significant drop in grades or job performance
- suddenly having trouble thinking clearly or concentrating
- becoming suspicious of others or having paranoid thoughts
- spending more and more time alone
- having new passionate ideas that seem strange to others
- having strange feelings or seeming like they experience no feelings at all
- having less or no interest in how they look
- finding it difficult to tell the difference between whats real and whats not real
- being unable to speak clearly or struggling to communicate with others
Symptoms usually fall into one of three categories:
People with schizophrenia have a variety of symptoms that can range in severity. The 10 most common ones are:
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Schizophrenia In Women And Family Problems
The cell of the society, in which there is a patient with schizophrenia of any gender and age, is not to be envied. Especially sad is the situation if the mother of the family is sick. In schizophrenics, serious changes occur in the sensual-emotional sphere, and first of all, the higher feelings and emotions associated with compassion, altruism, and love, which require intense emotional impact, are deformed. Therefore, first of all, the patient is strained by relationships with close people. The decline of mental activity leads to the fact that it is not formal communication that bore the most, but communication with spiritually close, loving and beloved people, whose support and love are still needed by the patient, but there is no longer enough strength for the response. Therefore, at an unconscious level, patients quite aggressively reject the most energetically costly relationships with close people. At the same time, they feel the need for participation, support and are very sensitive to indifference to themselves.
Of course, children suffer the most in this situation. They are completely dependent on adults and can in no way influence the situation. Well, if the father or grandparents, loving and adequate, will notice something wrong in time and ask for medical help.
In consolation, I would like to say that in women, in general, schizophrenia occurs in a milder form than in men and practically does not lead to gross personal destruction.
Box 2 Common Subtypes Of Schizophrenia
Delusions or hallucinations are prominent
Sustained flattened or incongruous affect
Lack of goal directed behaviour
Prominent thought disorder
Sustained evidence over at least two weeks of catatonic behaviour including stupor, excitement, posturing, and rigidity
Considerable loss of personal drive
Progressive deepening of negative symptoms
Pronounced decline in social, academic, or employment performance
While we often think of schizophrenia as a major departure from normal health, mild symptoms can occur in healthy people and are not associated with illness. This has led to the conclusion that schizophrenia reflects a quantitative rather than qualitative deviation from normality, rather like hypertension or diabetes.
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Molecular PsychiatryDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth EditionDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text RevisionIndian Journal of PsychiatryPsychiatric ServicesClinical Child Psychology and PsychiatryPsychiatric TimesFrontiers in PsychiatryPsychiatry ResearchJournal of the American Medical AssociationBritish Journal of PsychiatryAmerican Academy of Social Work and Social WelfareScience DailyClinical NeuropsychiatryCurrent Antipsychotics, Handbook of Experimental Pharmacology, Vol. 212Molecular PsychiatryPsychiatria DanubinaSchizophrenia BulletinBritish Journal of PsychiatryScienceSocial Studies of ScienceThe British Journal of PsychiatryAmerican Journal of PsychiatryPatient CareAm J PsychiatryMen and MasculinitiesHistory of PsychiatrySchizophrenia Research TreatmentGerman Journal of PsychiatryLancetPsychiatric ServicesCurrent Opinion in PsychiatryEpidemiologic ReviewsPsychiatric ServicesNeuropsychopharmacology: The Fifth Generation of Progress, Fifth EdClinical Schizophrenia and Related PsychosesPsychological BulletinSchizophrenia ResearchClinical TherapeuticsHarvard Mental Health LettAmerican Journal of PsychiatryAmerican Journal of PsychiatrySchizophrenia BulletinJournal of PsychopharmacologySchizophrenia BulletinAmerican Journal of PsychiatryPsychiatric TimesSchizophrenia BulletinAutismAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
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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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Clinical Presentation Diagnosis And Identification Of Negative Symptoms
It is generally accepted that negative symptoms include 5 key constructs, which can be further categorized into 2 independent factors .,,
Key negative symptom constructs. Blunted affect=decreased expression of emotion alogia=reduction in quantity of words spoken avolition=reduced initiation and persistence of goal-directed activity due to decreased motivation asociality=reduced social interactions and initiative due to decreased interest in relationships with others anhedonia=reduced experience of pleasure during an activity or in anticipation of an activity.
Although the presence of negative symptoms is not mandatory for a diagnosis of schizophrenia, negative symptoms , are 1 of the 5 symptom criteria taken into consideration in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . Diminished expression, which includes reduction in the expression of facial emotions, eye contact, and speech intonation, and reduction in head, hands, and face movement that gives emotional emphasis to speech, is generally observable during a clinical interview. Avolition, indicating decrease in self-motivated and self-initiated purposeful activities, requires inquiry into patients behaviors outside the interview setting. A level of functioning in work, school, relationships, or self-care that is markedly below the level that has previously been achieved is also diagnostic and suggests the presence of avolition and the reduced drive to pursue goal-directed behavior.
What To Do About Schizophrenia
Although it sounds scary, schizophrenia is the most common serious mental health condition and can be successfully treated.
If you think you are affected by schizophrenia, talk to someone straight away. Choose someone you like and trust, like a teacher, relative, counsellor or friend.
You should also see your GP. They may offer to refer you to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services , an expert or a psychiatrist who can help you.
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The Signs Of Schizophrenia In Your Early 20s
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The good news is that with comprehensive treatment and support, most patients can manage their condition effectively.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by fragmented thoughts and a distorted perception of reality. There is currently no cure. While the origins of the disease are still unclear, researchers believe that its likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
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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Best Practices For Managing Negative Symptoms In The Clinic
Negative symptoms are common in schizophrenia and over half of patients will experience clinically relevant negative symptoms that need treatment at some point., In addition to the limited efficacy of most available pharmacological treatments, negative symptom characteristics are a challenge in the clinic since some patients may lack insight into the extent and impact of their symptoms. Patients rarely present with negative symptom complaints and more immediately pressing positive symptoms may distract clinicians from the negative symptom burden. Given the difficulty in differentiating negative symptoms that are intrinsic to schizophrenia from negative symptoms resulting from another underlying cause, clinicians should carefully monitor and actively manage all clinically relevant negative symptoms .
Its Easy To Live In Denial
Even though your loved one isnt functioning well, isnt meeting their own expectations in life, and is using alcohol or drugs to cope, they may not see theres a problem.
Because of the natural urge to protect those you love, families can stay in denial, as well.
Its 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 dont seek help on their own, says Dr. Bowers.
They may continue to struggle try to understand their loved ones symptoms. Or ignore those symptoms until they escalate, sometimes into violent behavior.
But early, continuous treatment is critical, she stresses. Without help, a young adults 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.
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Box 6 Suggested Screening Questions For Patient Presenting With Possible Psychosis
Do you hear voices when no one is around? What do they say?
Do you ever think that people are talking or gossiping about you, maybe even thinking about trying to get you?
Do you ever think that somehow people can pick up on what you are thinking or can manipulate what you are thinking?
If the onset of psychosis is suspected, the patient should be rapidly referred to secondary care . This will be the local early intervention or home treatment team in many parts of the UK, or the generic catchment area community mental health team. The risk that patients pose to themselves and others must be assessed ) at this first assessment and this information included in the referral. If the presence of psychotic symptoms is confirmed by a psychiatrist, then after discussion it may be appropriate for the general practitioner to prescribe an antipsychotic. Current NICE guidelines recommend considering and offering an oral atypical antipsychotic such as amisulpiride, risperidone, quetiapine, or olanzapine in low doses. The need for hospital admission and even the use of the Mental Health Act will depend mainly on the patient’s presentation, the risk assessment, and the availability of good community support. General practitioners can contribute greatly to this decision because of their long term relationship with the patient and family.
Brief risk assessment screen
Get The Word Of Drug Information
Getting help as soon as possible increases your chances of a successful recovery. If you are concerned about any changes in behavior, you should speak to your doctor or your loved ones healthcare provider. The first warning signs mentioned above do not necessarily indicate schizophrenia and may be related to something else, but may still require medical attention.
This is especially true for children. Since schizophrenia is very rare in this age group, it is likely that even if you experience the first warning signs above, your child does not have the disorder.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, know that there are effective treatments that can help you manage your symptoms.
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Treating Women With Schizophrenia
Though treatment for mental illness is not typically separated by gender, clinicians serve women best by considering their unique experience of schizophrenia as well as the unique challenges they face. Because women have later onset of the illness and are less likely to experience affective symptoms, clinicians must be careful to rule out other mental illnesses, such as schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder, when giving a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
Treatment for women with schizophrenia should include psychoeducation and support for the needs of mothers with children. Antipsychotic medication can affect the ability to breast feed and the amount of energy a mother has to parent her children.7 Treatment plans tailored for women should include education about physical health as well. Women with schizophrenia are less likely to care for their physical health. This leaves them at risk for untreated breast cancer, osteoporosis, and thyroid conditions. Mental health professionals should also consider creating safety plans for women with schizophrenia who are at increased risk for committing suicide.
What Should I Know About Participating In Clinical Research
Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.
Talk to your health care provider about clinical trials, their benefits and risks, and whether one is right for you. For more information, visit NIMHs clinical trials webpage.
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Symptoms Of Schizophrenia And Times Of Onset
The symptoms of schizophrenia vary in different cases, as do the ages that symptoms appear in different patients. The manner in which schizophrenia develops and manifests depends on the onset, severity, and duration of the symptoms, according to the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation.
People do not often develop schizophrenia during childhood, but symptoms can start to appear at young ages, and awareness of these symptoms in young patients has continued to increase as more research has been done.
Symptoms typically begin to surface between the ages of 16 and 30. Symptoms of schizophrenia can include excessive irritability, problems in school and with grades, trouble sleeping, sleeping too much, and changes in their friend groups. These symptoms can at first seem like typical behavior in teens and young adults but need to be monitored in case a larger issue is the cause of them.
How Do Doctors Diagnose The Type Of Schizophrenia
If the patient is admitted, the psychiatrist talks to them and evaluates their behavior, considers whether any symptoms were triggered by alcohol or drugs, reviews any records from prior admissions, and talks to the family.
Initially, we may only see that the patient is losing track of reality, says Dr. Bowers. We may need more time to see all the symptoms of schizophrenia. These symptoms include:
- Fixed, false beliefs.
- Seeing visions or shadows.
- Suspicion and distrust.
Government regulations require psychiatrists to diagnose a specific type of schizophrenia so that insurance companies get the green light to pay for care.
We hope to see enough symptoms during a three-, five- or 10-day hospital stay to clarify the type of schizophrenia, she says. But we may not see all of them, so the initial diagnosis may not be exactly right.
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