Schizophrenia

Do you have a loved one with a mental disorder ?

What is schizophrenia ?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it hard to:

  • Tell the difference between what is real and not real

  • Think clearly

  • Have normal emotional responses

  • Act normally in social situations

Causes

Schizophrenia is a very complex illness. The main causes for getting the illness are unknown, but the mental disorder is believed to be gene shared and in some cases the use of drugs (like marijuana, cocaine, pot, and etc.) at a young age can enhance your chances.

Symptoms

Schizophrenia symptoms usually develop slowly over months or even years. The amount of symptoms you may have constantly changes; one minute you can only have one and the next minute you may experience three (it all depends).


People with any of the three types of schizophrenia all may have trouble working and being social. People diagnosed with schizophrenia also experience anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.


First you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Irritable or tense feeling

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Trouble sleeping


And as the illness continues to settle, you may have problems with thinking, emotions, and behavior, including:

  • Bizarre behaviors

  • Hearing or seeing things that are not there (hallucinations)

  • Isolation

  • Lack of emotion (flat affect)

  • Problems paying attention

  • Strongly held beliefs that are not real (delusions)

  • Thoughts that "jump" between different topics (“loose associations”)

The Three Different types of Schizophrenia and their Symptoms

* Undifferentiated Schizophrenia may include symptoms of more than one other schizophrenia.

Test and Signs

There are no medical tests to diagnose schizophrenia.

Talking to a psychiatrist is important to make the diagnosis. The diagnosis is made based on an interview of you and your family members.


The health care provider will ask questions about:

  • How long the symptoms have lasted

  • How the ability to function has changed

  • Developmental background

  • Genetic and family history

  • How well medications have worked


Brain scans (such as CT or MRI) and blood tests may help rule out other conditions that have similar symptoms.

Antipsychotic Medications

** When having an "episode" and diagnosed with schizophrenia. You should stay at the hospital over night for safety reasons. **


Antipsychotic medications are the most effective treatment for people with schizophrenia. The medications change the balance of chemicals in the brain and can help ease and control symptoms.


Although, these medication do help with treating schizophrenia; they have side effects and while taking medications you should still seek treatment in other forms.


Common side effects from antipsychotic medication include:

  • Dizziness

  • Feelings of restlessness or "jitters"

  • Sleepiness (sedation)

  • Slowed movements

  • Tremor

  • Weight gain


Support Groups and Therapies

Support groups and therapies can help a someone effected by schizophrenia. Talking about the effect the illness has on you and learning healthy ways to cope can help a lot. People with schizophrenia taking part in a social eviornment and working with other can improve and educate those diagnosed with skills to be successful. Job training and relationship building classes can also be a huge help to people effect with the illness.



It is important that the person with schizophrenia learns how to:

  • Take medications correctly and manage side effects

  • Notice the early signs of a relapse and what to do if symptoms return

  • Cope with symptoms that occur even while taking medication (a therapist can help)

  • Manage money

  • Use public transportation


Prevention

There's no way to prevent schizophrenia.


You can prevent symptoms by taking your medication exactly as your doctor prescribes Although like many serious illnesses, schizophrenia symptoms will return if you stop taking your medication. If you are thinking about stopping or wanting to switch medication you must contact your doctor. It is important also to see your doctor or therapist regularly.

** The relationship between a person effected with schizophrenia and their doctor/therapist is important! **


How should you help your loved one cope? (My Perspective)

If you have a loved one with schizophrenia it's important you educate yourself about the illness. Understanding this mental disorder and your loved one is extremely important, because you must know how the illness takes effect on them and what boundaries your loved one has. The worst thing about schizophrenia to me is it's unpredictable! You can never know what is going through someones head with schizophrenia, so you have to be open with them, talk, and show you care. Having someone close to you with schizophrenia can be tough, I know, but they're struggling just as much as your are, if more, and look for you to support and love them. One thing I have learned from my loved one with this disorder is, he doesn't like being treated different or feeling like there's something wrong with him. He wants to be treat like a human, not a psychopath. I feel that this is important to anyone with a loved one effect by an illness, we are all human and deserve to be treated like one.