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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    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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    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
    Elderly people are unlikely to be diagnosed with schizophrenia. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, schizophrenia symptoms usually begin in the teenage and young adult years for most people. It is very rare for signs of schizophrenia to appear after people turn 40.

    However, two illnesses are common in elderly people that may cause symptoms similar to those found with schizophrenia. About 50% of people with Alzheimer's disease develop psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions, and paranoid thinking. In addition, dementia may cause some elderly people to hallucinate or have other psychotic symptoms. For this reason, treatment for dementia sometimes includes antipsychotic medications, but only when psychotic symptoms are present.
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    A , Internal Medicine, answered

    Schizophrenia symptoms most commonly manifest themselves between the ages of 16 and 30. It is rare for individuals who cannot drive (under age 16) and those 45 or older to show signs of the disease, though. And it’s important to note that symptoms in men tend to appear earlier than in women.

    If your family or friends are concerned that you are acting odd or have strange ideas, definitely make a date with your doctor and dish the details. Your doctor may tell you that you are fine, but if you do have a mental illness like schizophrenia, you can benefit greatly from an early diagnosis.

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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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    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.

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    Dual diagnosis means that a person has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and an alcohol addiction.  
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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 , 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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    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.