What Can I Do To Manage Schizophrenia
People deal with their experience in different ways. You might need to try different things before finding something that works.
You could join a support group. A support group is where people come together to share information, experiences and give each other support. Hearing about the experiences of others can help you feel understood. This may help you feel less alone and boost your self-confidence.
You might be able to find a local group by searching online. Rethink Mental Illness have support groups in some areas. You can find out what is available in your area, or get help to set up your own support group if you follow this link:
Or you can call our advice service on 0808 801 0525 for more information.
Recovery colleges are part of the NHS. They offer free courses about mental health to help you manage your experiences. They can help you to take control of your life and become an expert in your own wellbeing and recovery. You can usually self-refer to a recovery college. But the college may tell your care team.
Unfortunately, recovery colleges are not available in all areas. To see if there is a recovery college in your area you can use a search engine such as Google. Or you can call our advice service on 0808 801 0525 for more information.
Peer support through the NHS
- side effects,
- recognising and coping with symptoms,
- what to do in a crisis,
- meeting other people who can support you, and recovery.
Hope For The Patient And Family
A diagnosis of schizophrenia is life-changing for those affected and everyone who loves them. But, with hard work and dedication, you can help your loved one enjoy a meaningful life.
People with schizophrenia can finish college, work jobs, get married, have families and enjoy a reasonably healthy life, stresses Dr. Bowers.
But it requires a combination of good medication, supportive counseling and being connected to community resources.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness offers support groups for the mentally ill and their families. And organizations like Recovery International and Emotions Anonymous are excellent resources for patients, she says.
Other Considerations In Diagnosing Schizophrenia
The DSM-5 includes other things that can help determine schizophrenia. Theyre not necessary diagnostic criteria, but their presence points to this serious mental illness.
- Inability to understand someones intentions
- Thinking insignificant things are highly, personally meaningful
- Manic behavior
In addition to these, people with schizophrenia often experience what is known as neurological soft sign, subtle abnormalities that arent severe enough to fit into any disorder but are problematic and indicative of a bigger problem, like schizophrenia. They can include:
- Coordination problems
- Left-right confusion
- Difficulty with complex movement
To diagnose schizophrenia, professionals examine all of the symptoms and features that are present . They also must look at what is not present.
Read Also: Does Lily Collins Have An Eating Disorder
How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed Dsm
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that deeply affects people. Because a correct schizophrenia diagnosis can improve someones quality of life, its important that it be made as soon as possible after the symptoms of schizophrenia appear.
Currently, no tests can provide a schizophrenia diagnosis. To determine whether someone has the disorder, doctors follow established criteria for a schizophrenia diagnosis.
How Common Is This Condition
Here are some statistics about how common schizophrenia is worldwide:
- New cases: There are about 2.77 million new schizophrenia diagnoses every year worldwide.
- Average number of worldwide cases: There are about 22.1 million cases globally at any time .
- Odds of developing it at some point in your lifetime: About 0.85% of the global population will experience schizophrenia at some point in their life.
You May Like: Will Schizophrenia Ever Go Away
How Is Schizophrenia Treated
Schizophrenia is more treatable than ever before. Many people recover completely whereas others might have episodes of schizophrenia that come and go. There are a number of different treatments to help people manage their symptoms and help them to flourish in all areas of life.
Treatment should be under the care of a psychiatrist, but may involve a team of different mental health professionals, including a doctor, mental health nurse, social worker, occupational therapist and clinical psychologist. Treatments are tailored according to the needs of the individual.
Research has shown that early treatment can be more effective, before the illness has time to cause damage. There are early intervention programs in most major cities in Australia.
Does My Child Have Schizophrenia
Early signs of schizophrenia can be hard to detect because they often overlap with common adolescent behavior. Moreover, these symptoms in people of any age group do not necessarily mean that a person will develop schizophrenia.
These symptoms can be disruptive though, and they may indicate something worrisome is going on, even if it isn’t schizophrenia. If you or your child are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with a healthcare provider.
You May Like: Can Eating Disorders Stop Your Period
What Parents Should Know About Schizophrenia And Teens
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that people can develop at any age. Some studies show that not only can teenagers start showing signs of the disorder, but males who develop schizophrenia most often do so in the teen years and early 20s. Females tend to develop it in their 20s and 30s, but its possible for them to have signs earlier.
Despite the prevalence in teens, fewer than 20 percent of people who have psychosis say that their parents noticed the symptoms and did something to help. All parents can do their part to reverse this sad trend by learning about the disorder, the symptoms of schizophrenia in teens, and what to do if someone they know shows these signs.
Negative Symptoms Of Schizophrenia: Things That Might Stop Happening
Negative symptoms refer to an absence or lack of normal mental function involving thinking, behavior, and perception. You might notice:
- Lack of pleasure. The person may not seem to enjoy anything anymore. A doctor will call this anhedonia.
- Trouble with speech. They might not talk much or show any feelings. Doctors call this alogia.
- Flattening: The person with schizophrenia might seem like they have a terrible case of the blahs. When they talk, their voice can sound flat, like they have no emotions. They may not smile normally or show usual facial emotions in response to conversations or things happening around them. A doctor might call this affective flattening.
- Withdrawal. This might include no longer making plans with friends or becoming a hermit. Talking to the person can feel like pulling teeth: If you want an answer, you have to really work to pry it out of them. Doctors call this apathy.
- Struggling with the basics of daily life. They may stop bathing or taking care of themselves.
- No follow-through. People with schizophrenia have trouble staying on schedule or finishing what they start. Sometimes they can’t get started at all. A doctor might call this avolition.
Depression has some of the same symptoms, too. They can be hard to spot, especially in teens, because even healthy teens can have big emotional swings between highs and lows.
Read Also: What Does Anxiety Look Like
First Episode Of Psychosis
The first episode of psychosis refers to when you first show signs of being unable to distinguish whats real from what isnt. It typically involves hallucinations and delusions, which can seem very real to the person experiencing them.
Experts say the average age at which people first experience psychosis is 24 years old. The oldest age of onset was 63 years and the youngest age was 3 years.
Acting quickly to connect yourself or your loved one with the right treatment during early psychosis can help dramatically. If you are a family member or friend, consider reaching out to a healthcare professional on behalf of the person you care about.
How Common Is Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia affects roughly 20 million people worldwide.
Schizophrenia is diagnosed about twice as often in men than women. Its also more common in urban than rural areas.
Symptoms of schizophrenia usually emerge between the late teens and mid-30s, most often becoming evident in the early-to-mid 20s for men and late 20s for women. It is much less common for schizophrenia to be diagnosed in childhood. Adults diagnosed with schizophrenia have often experienced other emotional or behavioural disturbances during childhood.
You May Like: Can Caffeine Cause Panic Attacks Anxiety
What Happens After You Get The Results From A Schizophrenia Brain Scan
If brain scans are ordered for a person who is showing schizophrenia symptoms, it is usually to rule out or confirm other conditions that could be causing the symptoms.
Whether the scan shows a different condition or plays a part in confirming a diagnosis of schizophrenia, the healthcare provider will discuss treatment options.
What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose This Condition
There arent any diagnostic tests for schizophrenia-spectrum conditions. But healthcare providers will likely run tests to rule out other conditions before diagnosing schizophrenia. The most likely types of tests include:
- Imaging tests. Healthcare providers will often use computerized tomography , magnetic resonance imaging and other imaging tests to rule out problems like stroke, brain injuries, tumors and other changes to your brain structure.
- Blood, urine and cerebrospinal fluid tests. These tests look for chemical changes in bodily fluids that might explain changes in your behavior. They can rule out heavy metal toxicity or other causes of poisoning, infections and more.
- Brain activity testing. An electroencephalogram detects and records the electrical activity in your brain. This test can help rule out conditions like epilepsy.
You May Like: What Is The Phobia Of Leaving Your House
Can Schizophrenia Appear Even Later In Life
While the majority of cases are diagnosed between a persons late teens to early 30s, schizophrenia can still occur later. This is called late-onset schizophrenia.
While research is still limited, more and more people are being diagnosed with schizophrenia later in life. In fact, its believed that a quarter of people with schizophrenia develop it after age 40.
Many researchers currently believe these later diagnoses happen because the person had untreated cognitive obstacles and a small or poor network of support and camaraderie.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
As schizophrenia usually develops gradually, it can be difficult to pinpoint when changes in behavior start or know whether they are something to worry about. Identifying that you are experiencing a pattern of concerning behaviors can be a sign you should consult with a professional.
Symptoms may intensify in the run-up to an acute episode of psychosis in schizophrenia. The warning signs include:
- A worrying drop in grades or job performance
- New difficulty thinking clearly or concentrating
- Suspiciousness of or uneasiness with others
- Withdrawing socially, spending a lot more time alone than usual
- Unusual, overly intense new ideas, strange feelings, or having no feelings at all
- Difficulty telling reality from fantasy
- Confused speech or trouble communicating
While these changes might not be concerning by themselves, if you or a loved one are experiencing a number of these symptoms, you should contact a mental health professional. It can be difficult for those with schizophrenia to want to get help, especially if they are experiencing symptoms such as paranoia.
If you or your loved one is thinking of or talking about harming themselves, contact someone who can help right away. You can call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-237-8255.
If you require immediate emergency care, call 911 for emergency services or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Also Check: Why Is Gen Z Depressed
How You Get A Diagnosis
If you or someone you love shows any of these signs, see a doctor right away. The symptoms of prodrome are subtle and easy to miss. Many also overlap with other mental health issues, like depression and substance misuse.
To rule out other health problems, your doctor may order lab tests and imaging tests. You’ll also be asked to answer detailed questions about your health, feelings, thoughts, and daily habits. How you respond will help your doctor decide if you are in a schizophrenia prodrome and if so, what kind.
To reach the right diagnosis, your family doctor may refer you to a psychiatrist who treats schizophrenia.
Why Do Men Develop Schizophrenia Before Women
This is not an easy question to answer. Scientific researchers have come up with a few possibilities, though nothing has been proven as the main reason why men develop schizophrenia earlier than women do. Research, though, is showing a connection between DNA modifications and early brain development.
Other research suggestsa link between estrogen, a female sex hormone, and schizophrenia. Some women are first diagnosed with schizophrenia after menopause, the same time their estrogen levels drop. Estrogen also seems to have a protective effect, shielding women from the severity of this illness.
Researchers are conducting randomized clinical trials to study how well estrogen works in conjunction with antipsychotic medication in both men and women with schizophrenia.
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With Schizophrenia In A Relationship
Development Of The Working Memory
Your prefrontal cortex the part of your brain responsible for storing memories and decision-making finishes developing by . When this happens, your brain has completed the process of determining how you should respond to what happens around you.
Some believe that a variety of outside factors can cause the prefrontal cortex to finish developing differently than it would have, causing a person to develop schizophrenia.
United States And International Statistics
The lifetime prevalence of schizophrenia has generally been estimated to be approximately 1% worldwide. However, a systematic review by Saha et al of 188 studies drawn from 46 countries found a lifetime risk of 4.0 per 1000 population prevalence estimates from countries considered least developed were significantly lower than those from countries classed as emerging or developed. Immigrants to developed countries show increased rates of schizophrenia, with the risk extending to the second generation.
Read Also: Can You Be Bipolar And Have Bpd
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.
What Do I Need To Know About Schizophrenia
There is a lot of fear and stigma surrounding schizophrenia, but ultimately, it is simply a mental health condition like depression or anxiety. With that said, schizophrenia does sometimes present with symptoms that can be alarming if youre not sure whats causing them. Some of the most common schizophrenia symptoms include:
- Disorganized thinking, which can lead to trouble communicating
- Stiff, repeated movements or periods of being unable to move, called catatonia
- Negative symptoms: These include dull, monotonous speech, trouble maintaining relationships, and some depression symptoms
Schizophrenia is an uncommon condition, but certainly not rare in fact, estimates put schizophrenia prevalence rates at between 0.25% to 0.64% of the United States population. And while it generally develops in younger adults, there is some variance in when it can present.
There are certainly exceptions to the rule, but men tend to present with schizophrenia symptoms earlier than women. Men usually develop schizophrenia symptoms between their late teens and early twenties, whereas symptoms usually appear in women in their late twenties to early thirties. Across all genders, though, schizophrenia symptoms rarely occur before the age of 13 or after the age of 40.
You May Like: Can Bipolar Disorder Be Genetic
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: