What Kind Of Symptoms Might People With Schizophrenia Have
People with schizophrenia may have a number of psychotic symptoms. These symptoms can come and go in phases, or they can happen only once or twice in a lifetime. When the illness begins, psychotic symptoms are usually sudden and severe.
During psychotic phases, the person may still understand parts of reality. He or she may lead a somewhat normal life, doing basic activities such as eating, working and getting around. In other cases, the person may be unable to function. Symptoms during psychotic phases include:
- Seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling things that are not real .
- Having strange beliefs that are not based on facts . For example, the person may believe that people can hear his or her thoughts, that he or she is God or the devil, or that people are putting thoughts into his or her head.
- Thinking in a confused way, being unable to make order out of the world, shifting quickly from one thought to the next.
- Having emotions, thoughts and moods that do not fit with events.
People with schizophrenia also may:
- Have a lot of energy or be overly active, or become “catatonic,” a state in which the body becomes rigid and cannot be moved.
- Talk in sentences that do not make sense.
- Not wash or groom.
- Cut themselves off from family, friends and the outside world.
- Be unable to function in school, work, or other activities.
- Lose interest in life.
- Be very sad or have mood swings.
- Have dulled emotions.
What Is The Best Treatment For Paranoia
TreatmentMedications anti-anxiety drugs or antipsychotic drugs can ease some of the symptoms. … Therapy this can help the person to cope with their symptoms and may improve their ability to function. … Coping skills other treatments aim to improve the person’s ability to function socially.Meer items…2
What Are The Symptoms
Mental health professionals classify most schizophrenia symptoms as either positive or negative. Other symptoms involve cognition and inappropriate motor behaviors.
- Positive symptoms include hallucinations and delusions, both of which can often be managed with medications. They arent considered positive because they are helpful or healthy, but rather because they appear because certain regions of the brain are activated.
- Negative symptoms appear to stem from diminished activation of certain parts of the brain, and dont usually respond as well to medical therapy as positive symptoms. Negative symptoms include those that interfere with normal, healthy functioning. They include problems interacting with other people and little desire to form social connections, as well as the inability to show emotions and feel pleasure and rewards.
- Cognition challenges associated with schizophrenia include confusion and disorganized speech. Thinking and verbal skills can become impaired, so, for example, an answer to a question may not make sense to the person asking the question.
- Abnormal behaviors and motor skills problems can range from agitation and impatience to silliness and other childlike traits. A persons body language may not match their words, while in other situations, someone with schizophrenia may not be able to formulate an answer or may be moving excessively, so communication and focus become even greater challenges.
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When Should I Go To The Emergency Room
If you or a loved one seems in danger of harming themselves or others, get help right away. Go to an emergency room, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800.273.8255. This national network of local crisis centers provides free, confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. Its available 24/7.
Can Psychosis Go Away On Its Own
If the psychosis is a one-time event, such as with brief psychotic disorder, or substance-induced psychosis, it may go away on its own. However, if the psychosis is a result of an underlying mental health disorder, it is unlikely the psychosis will go away naturally. Studies have found that shortening the time between the first psychotic episode and when a person receives treatment can help improve their overall success with treatment. The length of time for psychosis to go away following the start of treatment can also be shortened by seeking treatment early after symptoms start to occur.
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Cumulative Percent Of Schizophrenia Patients Ever In Recovery
presents the cumulative percentage of schizophrenia patients and each of the other diagnostic groups with 1 or more periods of recovery over the 15 years:
The majority of the other 3 groups of psychotic and nonpsychotic patients experienced 1 or more periods of recovery over the 15 years. By the 15-year follow-up 55% of the schizophreniform patients had experienced a period of recovery.
Over the 15 years over two-thirds of the other psychotic patients and three-quarters of the nonpsychotic patients had experienced 1 of more periods of recovery. Significantly fewer of the schizophrenia patients showed 1 or more periods of recovery than the other psychotic patients and the nonpsychotic patients .
Unlike the schizophrenia patients, the majority of these 2 groups of patients without schizophrenia who had experienced at least 1 period of recovery experienced 3 or more periods of recovery.
Outcome And Medication Treatment
Although most patients with schizophrenia were on antipsychotic medications, a sizable minority were not. Some chose to leave the mental health system because their symptom level and functioning improved. Some of those patients continued to function well for a period of time. Data by Fenton and McGlashan, other data of ours from our earlier studies, and more recent data of ours suggest that some of the schizophrenia patients who go off antipsychotics are a different type of patient. They have better premorbid developmental achievements, have more favorable prognostic characteristics, and are more resilient and less vulnerable to psychopathology , leading to their better functioning. Thus schizophrenia patients treated with antipsychotic medications at the 15-year follow-ups had significantly poorer global adjustment and outcome than those not on any medications . A larger percent of the schizophrenia patients not on medications were in recovery, and the data on recovery at the 15-year follow-ups are presented in . Similarly, the other types of psychotic patients not on medications at the 15-year follow-ups showed better outcome than those on medications .
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What Affects The Outcome
If you or a loved one has schizophrenia, here are a couple of things that may show how well youâll do long-term:
- How well you did in society and at work before your schizophrenia began
- The amount of time from the start of symptoms to diagnosis and treatment. The sooner youâre treated for schizophrenia once symptoms begin, the more likely you are to improve and recover. But prodrome — the time between when symptoms begin and full psychosis starts — can be days, weeks, or even years. The average length of time between the start of psychosis and first treatment is 6 to 7 years.
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.
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The Importance Of Residential Treatment For Schizophrenia
Symptoms of schizophrenia can be very troubling and disruptive. They can also be severe and cause significant impairment in a persons life. In some cases an episode of symptoms may even be severe enough to require temporary hospitalization. For anyone diagnosed with this mental health condition, residential treatment is strongly recommended.
Residential care gives patients the opportunity to focus on and engage with treatment without worrying about home, family, work, and other responsibilities. Inpatient care is also more intensive and helps patients jump-start recovery, guiding them through strategies and exercises that will help them manage their illness once back at home. Treatment in a residential facility gives patients all the tools they need to be successful once they leave, while also providing a safe environment in which to go through therapy.
New Study Challenges Our Understanding Of Schizophrenia As A Chronic Disease That Requires Lifelong Treatment
A new study shows that 30 per cent of patients with schizophrenia manage without antipsychotic medicine after ten years of the disease, without falling back into a psychosis.
The results go against conventional treatment of psychosis and schizophrenia.
Patients are usually prescribed medication for an unlimited length of time after it has been established which medicine works best without too many side effects.
But perhaps doctors should think about helping people to transition off their medication, suggests the authors behind the new study.
It shows that theres actually a large group, though still a minority of patients, who can function without medicine and without developing psychosis. So as a doctor, you shouldnt rule out that patients could give up their medicine, says co-author Merete Nordentoft, a professor in psychiatry at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.
The study is .
Women who do not use drugs cope best
In the study, scientists collected observations from 496 patients who were diagnosed with schizophrenia ten years ago and started on a treatment with antipsychotic medicine for ten years.
A decade on, the doctors invited the patients in for a follow up interview to find out how they were doing. The patients were previously interviewed at the first, second, and fifth year after their initial diagnosis.
The most well-functioning schizophrenics cope best
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What Risks And Complications Can Schizophrenia Cause
Research suggests that people with serious mental illness , such as schizophrenia, have a shorter life expectancy. People with mental illness may die 15 to 20 years earlier than the general population. This may because people who live with SMI are at higher risk of having a range of health issues. Such as being overweight, having heart disease, smoking and diabetes.
Because of these issues, NICE recommends that when you start taking antipsychotic medication, your doctor should do a full range of physical health checks. This should include weight, blood pressure and other blood tests. These checks should be repeated regularly.
Mental health professionals are responsible for doing these checks for the first year of treatment. Responsibility may then pass to your GP. Your doctor or mental health team should offer you a programme which combines healthy eating and physical health checks. You should be supported by a healthcare professional to help stop smoking.
The risk of suicide is increased for people with schizophrenia. Research indicates that around 513% of people who live with with schizophrenia die by suicide.
Research has found that the increased risk is not usually because of positive symptoms. The risk of suicide is associated more to affective symptoms, such as low mood.
Key risk factors for suicide include:
- previous suicide attempts,
Investigate How The Delusion Is Affecting The Person’s Life
- Assess if and how the delusions are interfering with a persons life. For example, are they are no longer able to function or participate in regular everyday life?
- Assess if the delusion is affecting a persons relationship with others.
- Determine if the person has taken action based on their delusion.
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What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
If you or a loved one has schizoaffective disorder, ask your provider:
- What medication will help?
- What other therapy can help?
- Will this disorder ever go away?
- How long will treatment continue?
- Is there a higher risk for other conditions or disorders?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Schizoaffective disorder is a serious mental health condition. It has features of both schizophrenia and a mood disorder. Schizoaffective symptoms may include symptoms of mania, depression and psychosis. Its important to get treatment as soon as possible. If you notice symptoms of schizoaffective disorder, talk to a healthcare provider. Treatment for schizoaffective disorder includes medication and therapy. While theres no cure for this disorder, treatment helps improve peoples symptoms and quality of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/24/2021.
Tip : Understand The Role Of Medication
If youve been diagnosed with schizophrenia, you will almost certainly be offered antipsychotic medication. The two main groups of medications used for the treatment of schizophrenia are the older or typical antipsychotic medications and the newer atypical antipsychotic medications. Its important to understand that medication is just one component of schizophrenia treatment.
Medication is not a cure for schizophrenia and only treats some of the symptoms. Antipsychotic medication reduces psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and disordered thinking. But is much less helpful for treating symptoms of schizophrenia such as social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and lack of emotional expressiveness.
You should not have to put up with disabling side effects. Schizophrenia medication can have very unpleasanteven disablingside effects such as drowsiness, lack of energy, uncontrollable movements, weight gain, and sexual dysfunction. Your quality of life is important, so talk to your doctor if youre bothered by side effects.
Never reduce or stop medication on your own.
Sudden or unsupervised dosage changes are dangerous, and can trigger a schizophrenia relapse or other complications. If youre having trouble with your medication or feel like you dont need to take it, talk to your doctor or someone else that you trust.
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Take Care Of Yourself Too
As a family member, its 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 Societys Family Respite Program.
What Causes Schizoaffective Disorder
Due to its rarity and complexity to diagnose the exact cause of the disorder is unknown. There is, however, a combination of factors that may contribute to the development of the disorder. These have been studied extensively by researchers, and they include:
- Brain chemistry & structure: Brain structure and function may be different in those with schizoaffective disorder that science is only starting to understand. Brain scans have helped advance the research in this area.
- Genetics: Those with schizoaffective disorder likely have a relative with it as well. Its not a definitive factor that if someone in your family has the disorder that youll develop it as well, but it does mean the odds of development increase exponentially.
- Stress: Stressful events such as the end of a marriage, death in the family, or loss of a job may trigger symptoms or an onset of schizoaffective disorder.
- Drug use: Someone who is prone to developing schizoaffective disorder may trigger it with drug use. Psychoactive drugs like LSD have been linked to its development in individuals.
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What Is Schizoaffective Disorder
Schizoaffective disorder is a serious mental health condition. It has features of two different disorders:
- Schizo means the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. This brain disorder changes how a person thinks, acts and expresses emotions. It also affects how someone perceives reality and relates to others.
- Affective refers to a mood disorder, or severe changes in a persons mood, energy and behavior.
Theres no cure for schizoaffective disorder. But treatment can help people manage symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Encourage Your Loved One To Keep Up With Their Treatment And Recovery Plan
This is very important! You are not responsible for your loved ones 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 ones 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 isnt 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 teamit can be dangerous to stop or change a treatment without a doctors support.
Treatment can be a difficult area for loved ones. Its 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 doesnt 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 wont find help. What can I do?.
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