Monday, June 4, 2012

Schizophrenia

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Hello, I hope your doing well today. I am doing good. This is such a serious Mental Illness, but sadly most people are uneducated about this disease. If we were all more educated about this disease, knew the warning signs, earlier treatment and intervention would lead to a better prognosis and life for the person and their family. It is also hard for me to write about this because this is what they first diagnosed my mother with. I now believe she had post partum depression and hallucinations or possibly bipolar disorder because lithium worked well with her. It usually does not work well on people with Schizophrenia. I grew up in fear as a child that I would also become Schizophrenic. I was always told how much I looked liked my mother so therefor I felt I would travel down the same road as her and be in and out of Mental Institutions receiving shock therapy. They kept my mother heavily medicated with Thorazine when she was not in the hospital. How she must of suffered through those horrific treatments back in the 60's. I got so upset once when I watched One who flew over the cuckoo's nest, the reality hit me of what she had to endure. It did take it's toll on her because she did attempt suicide twice. How I hated going into those locked units to visit her, not because I feared it, but it just hurt so much to see her in there. At least today I can say it made me a more compassionate person who appreciates life a little more than others. In 1989 she did go to Pembroke Hospital and got a new Doctor and a new treatment. No more shock therapy, just lithium, she never went into a Mental Hospital again. She stayed on her medicine and we had almost 20 years of good memories as her true self emerged. We had many laughs and in the end she was like my best friend. If you think you know someone who is suffering from this disease and needs help, do not be afraid of them. They are not in their right state of mind, they are not themselves. The only film that showed the true reality of this disease is A Beautiful Mind with Russell Crow and gave me a total understanding of how they see the world, this film would help you to understand their plight too. If you do know someone who has this disease, don't be afraid of them, don't give up on them. Their true self is waiting to be seen, wanting to be loved the way everyone else is, and IMO that is the most important part of their treatment.
Thank you for visiting
Janet :)

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that has affected people throughout history. About 1 percent of Americans have this illness.

People with the disorder may hear voices other people don't hear. They may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. This can terrify people with the illness and make them withdrawn or extremely agitated.

People with schizophrenia may not make sense when they talk. They may sit for hours without moving or talking. Sometimes people with schizophrenia seem perfectly fine until they talk about what they are really thinking.

Families and society are affected by schizophrenia too. Many people with schizophrenia have difficulty holding a job or caring for themselves, so they rely on others for help.

Treatment helps relieve many symptoms of schizophrenia, but most people who have the disorder cope with symptoms throughout their lives. However, many people with schizophrenia can lead rewarding and meaningful lives in their communities. Researchers are developing more effective medications and using new research tools to understand the causes of schizophrenia. In the years to come, this work may help prevent and better treat the illness.

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?

The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three broad categories: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms.

Positive symptoms
Positive symptoms are psychotic behaviors not seen in healthy people. People with positive symptoms often "lose touch" with reality. These symptoms can come and go. Sometimes they are severe and at other times hardly noticeable, depending on whether the individual is receiving treatment. They include the following:
Hallucinations are things a person sees, hears, smells, or feels that no one else can see, hear, smell, or feel. "Voices" are the most common type of hallucination in schizophrenia. Many people with the disorder hear voices. The voices may talk to the person about his or her behavior, order the person to do things, or warn the person of danger. Sometimes the voices talk to each other. People with schizophrenia may hear voices for a long time before family and friends notice the problem.

Other types of hallucinations include seeing people or objects that are not there, smelling odors that no one else detects, and feeling things like invisible fingers touching their bodies when no one is near.

Delusions are false beliefs that are not part of the person's culture and do not change. The person believes delusions even after other people prove that the beliefs are not true or logical. People with schizophrenia can have delusions that seem bizarre, such as believing that neighbors can control their behavior with magnetic waves. They may also believe that people on television are directing special messages to them, or that radio stations are broadcasting their thoughts aloud to others. Sometimes they believe they are someone else, such as a famous historical figure. They may have paranoid delusions and believe that others are trying to harm them, such as by cheating, harassing, poisoning, spying on, or plotting against them or the people they care about. These beliefs are called "delusions of persecution."

Thought disorders are unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking. One form of thought disorder is called "disorganized thinking." This is when a person has trouble organizing his or her thoughts or connecting them logically. They may talk in a garbled way that is hard to understand. Another form is called "thought blocking." This is when a person stops speaking abruptly in the middle of a thought. When asked why he or she stopped talking, the person may say that it felt as if the thought had been taken out of his or her head. Finally, a person with a thought disorder might make up meaningless words, or "neologisms."

Movement disorders may appear as agitated body movements. A person with a movement disorder may repeat certain motions over and over. In the other extreme, a person may become catatonic. Catatonia is a state in which a person does not move and does not respond to others. Catatonia is rare today, but it was more common when treatment for schizophrenia was not available.
"Voices" are the most common type of hallucination in schizophrenia.

Negative symptoms
Negative symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. These symptoms are harder to recognize as part of the disorder and can be mistaken for depression or other conditions. These symptoms include the following:

* "Flat affect" (a person's face does not move or he or she talks in a dull or monotonous voice)
* Lack of pleasure in everyday life
* Lack of ability to begin and sustain planned activities
* Speaking little, even when forced to interact.

People with negative symptoms need help with everyday tasks. They often neglect basic personal hygiene. This may make them seem lazy or unwilling to help themselves, but the problems are symptoms caused by the schizophrenia.
Cognitive symptoms

Cognitive symptoms are subtle. Like negative symptoms, cognitive symptoms may be difficult to recognize as part of the disorder. Often, they are detected only when other tests are performed. Cognitive symptoms include the following:

* Poor "executive functioning" (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
* Trouble focusing or paying attention
* Problems with "working memory" (the ability to use information immediately after learning it).

Cognitive symptoms often make it hard to lead a normal life and earn a living. They can cause great emotional distress.

Learn more about RAISE (Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode), an NIMH research project designed to improve treatment approaches in the earliest stages of the illness at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/raise/index.shtml

Learn more about the Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness
(CATIE), a clinical trial that studied treatment choices for schizophrenia at http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/trials/practical/catie/index.shtml

6 comments:

  1. Oh, dear Janet! What a hell your poor mother had to go through. I can only imagine! I feel so disconnected to the whole world when I have panic attacks and that's not even close to what she must have felt after that horrific treatment. And then being misdiagnosed is even worse. I also believe she had a postpartum depression. I had suffer the same after I gave birth to Ellie and it wasn't very bad but still I could hear and see things that didn't really exist and they all went away when I started my treatment for depression and anxiety.
    You offer a wonderful insight into this disease and I hope people would look differently at the ones suffering from schizophrenia after reading your post.

    Hugs

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    1. Thank you so much Petro for your kind words about my mom and your compassion, your the sweetest!

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  2. Hmmm... Very detailed and a wonderful write on schizophrenia.

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  3. So sorry your mother had to go through all of that. I am glad that in the end she got the right medicine, was able to enjoy life and made new memories.

    A Beautiful Mind is one of my favorite movies...

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    1. Thank you so much IE for your kind words, I appreciate them :)

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