Do you sometimes feel out of place mentally? Are you having disorganized thoughts and feelings, or present odd behavior that you do not understand and feel you could not possibly explain what is going on to others? Do you sometimes feel like others are out to get you? Are your symptoms causing you to have impaired relationships? Your everyday life may even be challenging to tackle with the symptoms that are present.
Speaking with a professional can help you find the diagnosis you are searching for to gain relief. With treatment, professionals will educate you on your condition and help you overcome the obstacles schizophrenia brings to your life. Exploring the facts about your mental illness, finding your diagnosis, journaling symptoms, and moving forward with professional help can make a difference.
What Is Schizophrenia?
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, last updated in 2022, schizophrenia is a serious chronic brain illness that confuses reality for those living with it. It can be difficult for a person to decipher whether certain sights, experiences, or sounds are real. Is this part of my imagination, or is this reality?
Psychotic episodes can be isolating, frightening, and very confusing for someone who is struggling with schizophrenia. The onset of schizophrenia can occur in the early teen years into late adulthood. Ages 16-30 are common ages for diagnosis. Millions of Americans have this mental illness. The earlier you seek treatment, the better the outcome.
Historical Subtypes of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is an incurable yet comprehensive mental health condition that can display several different symptoms. According to the National Library of Medicine, last updated in 2022, prior to 2013, schizophrenia was classified under five subtypes:
- Paranoid schizophrenia
- Catatonic schizophrenia
- Disorganized schizophrenia
- Residual schizophrenia
- Undifferentiated schizophrenia
Professionals understand that people with schizophrenia at times deal with consecutive symptoms in their lifetime. Therefore, the former subtypes are not always appropriate. The DSM-5 updated the criteria needed to develop a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and a person must exhibit 2 symptoms for at least six months. The subtypes still help people understand the different ways schizophrenia can affect people, but today the requirements for diagnosis are not determined by the type but by a person’s symptoms. Schizophrenia is mainly diagnosed alone.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, last reviewed in 2022, schizophrenic symptoms can be different for everyone. The symptoms primarily represent three main categories; psychotic, negative, and cognitive.
Psychotic symptoms include differences in the way a person thinks, acts, and experiences the world. A person may feel:
- Hallucinations: The five senses are felt when not there. Hearing voices is also a sign.
- Delusions: A person may believe in somewhat irrational thoughts. For example, a person may strongly think they are in danger, or a sign from the media may be sending direct messages.
- Thought disorder: A person might have difficulties organizing thoughts and speech. For example, a person may stop talking in mid-thought and abruptly change the topic or make up words.
- Movement disorder: A person may present strange or repetitious body movements.
Negative symptoms include loss of interest or enjoyment in certain activities and loss of motivation. A person may withdraw from social interaction and present difficulty showing emotions, and struggles to function normally. This is often confused with depression. Symptoms include:
- Having trouble finishing daily tasks such as running errands
- Difficulty feeling satisfaction with everyday life
- Trouble showing facial expressions
- Avoiding social events and behaving awkwardly
- Expressing catatonia
Cognitive symptoms consist of challenges with concentration, attention, and memory, such as:
- Having trouble comprehending new information to make the best judgment
- Struggling to retain information immediately after hearing the instructions
- Experiencing trouble paying attention in general
When we are diagnosed with any condition, the first thought that comes to mind is, how did I end up with this condition? What caused this? Who is to blame?
There is no exact cause of schizophrenia, although there are a few risk factors that come into play. Genetics, the environment, and our brain structure could be related to your diagnosis. While the cause could be unknown, the importance of seeking help is critical, especially early on.
Moving Forward in Good Health
If you are experiencing difficulties in your everyday life, it is essential to reach out for professional help. The right treatment plan moving forward can help you find clarity in all that you do. You can trust you will grasp onto reality when in treatment. Reaching out to a psychiatrist for a proper diagnosis, sitting down with a therapist, and joining a support group with others on the same journey can potentially change you or a loved one’s life for the better.
Seeking help may be difficult for a person with schizophrenia as the symptoms may make it hard to find guidance. Here at Alter Behavioral Health, we give our patients easy and careful direction. Our facility works hard to place you with the appropriate mental health professionals to assist you in overcoming your challenges. Our services consist of diagnosis, therapy, and support groups to help you get your life back on track. Our staff is dedicated to providing world-class support. We know your story is not an easy one to share, but we are here to listen to you every step of the way. If you feel you need professional help, reach out and contact us today by calling (866) 691-4386.