Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia and other schizophrenia spectrum related disorders

What is schizophrenia and other schizophrenia spectrum related disorders?

Per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5 (DSM-5) schizophrenia is a mental illness that manifests with symptoms of:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Negative symptoms
  • Difficulties with speech and forming concise thoughts
  • Negative symptoms

Schizophrenia symptoms can impact how one lives their life and, depending on the severity of the illness, affect their level of independence. 

Other schizophrenia spectrum disorders include:

  • Schizoaffective disorder
  • Brief Psychotic disorder
  • Unspecified/other specified schizophrenia

What are signs of schizophrenia or other schizophrenia spectrum related disorders?

Symptoms can vary from person-to-person, i.e. one individual having more profound hallucinations and the other having stronger delusional beliefs. See below for a list of specific symptoms that may occur:

Positive symptoms include: 

  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Olfactory hallucinations
  • Tactile hallucinations
  • Delusional thoughts

Negative symptoms include:

  • Loss of interest in once pleasurable activities
  • Isolation
  • Decrease in affect expression
  • Lack of motivation
  • Lack of interaction with others

Negative effects of schizophrenia and other schizophrenia spectrum related disorders:

    • Relationships – paranoia can result in difficulties with trust; hallucinations can interfere with the quality of connection between people; challenges leaving their home can make maintaining relationships difficult.
    • Work – difficulties with leaving their home can interfere with punctuality and lead to job loss and loss of income.
    • Social – hallucinations can interfere with initiating and maintaining relationships in life
    • Functioning – sometimes people with schizophrenia have challenges taking care of daily hygiene and keeping their home clean

What are the Risk factors for schizophrenia disorders?

There are multiple factors impacting the onset of schizophrenia and other schizophrenia spectrum related disorders in one’s life. These include the following”

  • Genetics/heredity
  • Environmental factors
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Substance use

What treatment is available for schizophrenia and these related disorders?

Treatment for schizophrenia and related disorders will involve some aspect of antipsychotic treatment to target and lessen symptom presentation. Psychotherapy can be beneficial for a person living with schizophrenia as it can target themes of symptoms and work to increase a person’s response to their symptoms versus reactivity. Therapy can incorporate mindfulness skills and help to create structure in one’s life so that the person can thrive in their recovery process. Current therapy modalities that are beneficial for schizophrenia and related disorders include: 

It is important to note that stress can make mental health symptoms worse. Practicing self-care may be beneficial in decreasing symptom intensity and showing yourself self-compassion.

How are schizophrenia and related disorders diagnosed?

Schizophrenia and other schizophrenia spectrum related disorders are diagnosed by a trained mental health provider (therapist or doctor). Once the therapist has collected enough data to make a diagnosis the results are usually shared with the person seeking support.

What to do now?

Treatment is your choice. Living with schizophrenia and related illnesses can be challenging and exhausting. You don’t have to do it alone. Our trained mental health therapists can provide effective psychotherapy via telehealth or in-person to relieve your symptoms and increase your functioning. Call now or submit a form here  to take the next step and begin your healing process.

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