Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a disorder that shows its symptoms in the late teens to early 20s. You hear voices, see things that aren't there, believe others are after you, which makes you paranoid. Schizophrenia is a very serious disorder, requiring medications and psychotherapy - which, for many people, can greatly improve quality of life.

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  • 5 Answers
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    You can’t prevent schizophrenia at this point in time, but you can try to prevent symptoms from re-occurring by taking your medication regularly and consistently participating in therapy. The medications can mitigate symptoms, and the therapy can help you learn to identify relapse warning signs. Over time, this can reduce the severity of the illness.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered

    To help prevent symptoms of schizophrenia, people must stay on their medications. The Merck Manuals Online Medical Library reports that medication treatment is the most effective way to avoid a relapse of the illness. The Mayo Clinic also makes some recommendations on health and wellness approaches for people recovering from mental illness. Along with psychotherapy and medical treatments, they recommend:

    • learning as much as possible about schizophrenia, its causes, symptoms, triggers, and   treatments
    • staying active with exercise and social activities
    • avoiding substances like drugs and alcohol, which can sometimes induce a relapse of  schizophrenia symptoms
    • maintaining regular visits to a medical doctor, along with one's mental health care provider; this can reduce the risk of serious health problems or medication side effects that can cause complications
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    Sometimes other mental illnesses and conditions can look like schizophrenia. This is especially true of substance abuse. In individuals, especially adolescents, who exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia, illegal drug use may be to blame. In order to diagnose schizophrenia, doctors order a physical and psychiatric evaluation meant to rule out other cause like other mental disorders and drug use.

  • 2 Answers
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    A , Epidemiology, answered
    No, having a diagnosis of schizophrenia does not mean you are "crazy." Having a chronic mental illness is like having a chronic physical illness -- you benefit from medical treament and guidance. Schizophrenia can be challenging at times but you can take pride in making and keeping your appointments, keeping your healthcare provider aware of how you're doing, and always taking your prescribed medicine, even when you are feeling well.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    In order to make an accurate diagnosis of schizophrenia, a doctor must do a thorough evaluation of the person's medical and behavioral history. The doctor will question the person, obtain lab tests or try to get information on the following factors:
    • symptoms of behavior, thoughts, and feelings
    • physical symptoms
    • family history of mental illness
    • recent stresses or changes in one's life
    • blood tests
    • brain scans or brain chemistry evaluation
    • recent drug or alcohol use
    The doctor will talk to the person to see if the symptoms have impaired the person's work, relationships, or other facets of life. After evaluating these aspects of a person's health, the doctor will consult the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to see if the person meets the requirements for schizophrenia. The DSM defines each mental illness in detail, helping doctors to best diagnose and treat their patients.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered

    Anytime something goes wrong or feels off (ranging from a bad cut to feeling down or not yourself), the sooner you deal with it, the better. Imagine a bad cut that you get doing work around the house. You’re so excited to be almost done with your to-do list, so you just wrap it up with a paper towel and decide to deal with it later, but you never end up washing it or bandaging it with something that actually keeps germs out, so it gets infected and is even more painful than what caused the cut in the first place. If you continue to neglect it, the infection could spread, causing a whole host of other issues. While dealing with a bad cut pales in comparison to coping with schizophrenia, the implications of not treating both early are the same. While there is no cure for schizophrenia just yet (free trip to Sweden for whoever figures it out!), medication and therapy can reduce disabling symptoms that prevent you from completing everyday tasks. They also teach you what signs to look out for if an episode is coming and how to cope with your symptoms in a positive way. The sooner you learn these and get symptoms in check, the less debilitating and disabling the condition will be.

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    A , Internal Medicine, answered
    Diagnosis can take a few months and even up to six months as your doc watches your symptoms and rules out other illnesses. To diagnose schizophrenia, a doctor will start by doing a thorough physical and mental evaluation. The physical exam is extremely important when diagnosing schizophrenia. Many health conditions, as well as drug and alcohol abuse, can mimic schizophrenia. So the physical will help rule these out. In addition, the doctor will ask the patient many questions about their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. To diagnosis schizophrenia, once other conditions or health problems are excluded as possibilities, patients must have had at least two of the following symptoms lasting for a significant period of time over the previous month -- hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech, disorganized or catatonic behavior, and negative symptoms -- and problems performing and completing daily tasks at work or in their social circles, and some of the positive or negative symptoms for at least six months.
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  • 1 Answer
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    If you are diagnosed with schizophrenia and do not know how to cope, you should know that many people with schizophrenia are able to continue working and living independently. The best way to take care of your health is to stay in treatment. Schizophrenia is a lifelong illness, and the people who experience the most fulfilling lives with schizophrenia are those who maintain their medication and therapeutic treatments. Visit your psychiatrist regularly to check your medication levels, which may help you avoid a relapse. Participate in individual and group therapy sessions on a regular basis. These sessions can help you learn coping skills and strategies on avoiding relapse. Getting regular exercise, eating nutritious foods, and spending time with family and friends can help you prevent other health problems that may worsen your symptoms.
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    A , Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Images from brain scans cannot conclusively diagnose schizophrenia. However, some doctors do use brain scans as part of the diagnostic process. There are two primary types of brain scans: those using magnetic fields, and those using radiation. Brain scans pose little risk to human health in most cases, although there is a small risk from radiation exposure. Brain scans can be useful when diagnosing mental illness, since they can help rule out other medical conditions that might be causing the symptoms. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, brain scans can identify medical conditions including:

    • Brain diseases and infections
    • Head injuries and brain damage
    • Stroke

    Brain scans are not always used to diagnose illness because they are quite expensive and are not always covered by health insurance plans.
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    When diagnosing schizophrenia, a psychiatrist will take into consideration the culture of the patient. What is considered delusional in one culture may be accepted as normal in another. In some cultural groups, "visions" or "voices" of religious figures are part of the normal religious experience. "Seeing" or "being visited" by a deceased family member is not unusual in some cultures. A person's deferential avoidance of direct eye contact can be seen, on the one hand, as a sign of withdrawal or paranoia, while it is the cultural norm in other groups.