Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that is characterized by hallucinations (auditory, visual, olfactory, or tactile) and delusions. It’s a serious mental illness that affects a person’s thinking, emotions, relationships, and decision making. Because the hallucinations and delusions feel as real as the world around them, a person with untreated schizophrenia can sometimes have trouble distinguishing actual reality from the altered reality that their brain is describing.
Though traditional schizophrenia treatment often involves high doses of anti-psychotic medications — which can be effective but often come with unpleasant side effects such as weight gain, grogginess and emotional numbing — many people are now seeking therapy for schizophrenia. As a result, as many as a quarter or more of people with schizophrenia stop taking medication within the first year. And that’s where therapy can help. In addition to medications, many people with schizophrenia also benefit from some form of psychotherapy or social support treatment. Continue reading 5 Types of Therapy to Treat Schizophrenia
I’m 30 years old, and for many years, the longest relationship I had to date was in middle school — it lasted six months.
I was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder at age 19. Schizoaffective disorder is thought to be a unique combination of schizophrenia and a mood disorder like bipolar, presenting with symptoms like difficulty communicating, episodes of depression, delusions, and even hallucinations. It presents differently from person to person, and there’s still a lot to be learned about it. Though it has negatively impacted my life in many ways, it’s been especially difficult to navigate in my social life.
Continue reading How Schizoaffective Disorder Has Affected My Relationships
I was sleeping on a tile floor during a New England winter with very little heat and no blankets. I starved to the point where I lost too much weight. After all this chaos I was hospitalized at Portsmouth Regional Hospital where the staff diagnosed me with schizophrenia, specifically schizoaffective disorder.
During my first episode of schizoaffective disorder, I experienced psychosis to the point where I had difficulty speaking more than several words at a time. I had referential thinking and lost my ego boundary. Everything external and internal blended together.
I believed there was a telekinetic network and my thoughts were being disseminated to everyone in the world. Continue reading Learning to Cope with My Schizoaffective Disorder
Schizophrenia is perhaps the most misunderstood of all mental illnesses, mostly due to the sheer amount of misinformation out there. Some of this is due to movies and TV, while some can be attributed to stereotypes about mental illness. There are several cultural and demographic myths regarding schizophrenia — these are the four most common.
Myth #1: People with Schizophrenia All Have the Same Symptoms
There are many different types of schizophrenia, and they can all affect a person in different ways. Symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia, such as delusions that someone is out to get the sufferer, are different from catatonic schizophrenia symptoms, which include a lack of emotion and decreased motivation.
Mental illnesses affect people differently. It is possible to encounter two sufferers with the same type of schizophrenia who behave differently. Schizophrenia isn’t all about being paranoid and hearing voices. Continue reading Debunking 4 Myths About Schizophrenia
Although the popular perceptions of schizophrenia have changed, the mental health disorder — it’s not classified as a disease, as it can’t be verified as a physical condition — is still not clearly understood outside of the medical profession. This is largely due to the fact that schizophrenia is a complex condition that can manifest as a wide variety of symptoms in different people. To complicate things further, symptoms can also differ in individuals at different stages of the disorder.
The cause of schizophrenia is unknown. Although there are various theories, it’s generally diagnosed when symptoms meet the standard definition of the disorder, and when other similar conditions — such as bipolar disorder — have been rejected. Continue reading What Is Schizophrenia?