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Help With Schizophrenia

Curated and updated for the community by APA

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects about one percent of the population. When schizophrenia is active, symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, trouble with thinking and concentration, and lack of motivation. However, when these symptoms are treated, most people with schizophrenia will greatly improve over time.

See definition, symptoms, & treatment

  • Jul 13, 2018
Dialectical Behavior Therapy Can Help Teens at Risk of Suicide

Despite increased awareness and understanding of mental health issues, the tragedy of teen suicide and self-harm are growing problems in the U.S. Among teens and young adults age 10 to 24, suicide is the second-leading cause of death (after accidents), according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of teen suicide has been on the rise for more than a decade. New research finds that specific type of psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), may help save lives and prevent self-harm among high-risk teens.

  • Jul 10, 2018
Six Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health and Well-Being

Your overall well-being involves not only physical but also mental health. The World Health Organization says that “mental health is an integral part of health; indeed, there is no health without mental health.” Just as there are things you can do to maintain your physical health, you can take steps to maintain your mental health. Here are a few tips, resources and ideas for maintaining good mental health.

  • Jun 21, 2018
Prolonged Exposure Therapy for PTSD

New research has found that one common treatment for PTSD, prolonged exposure therapy, can be effective in a shorter, more intense format, making it potentially more acceptable and accessible to more people needing treatment.

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2018
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Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA)

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My friend with schizophrenia smokes marijuana and drinks a lot, it that related to the schizophrenia?

Substance abuse is a common problem in persons with schizophrenia, including tobacco, marijuana, alcohol and other drugs. Abuse has all the usual health-related problems, but the presence of schizophrenia complicates this issue. Patients may stop their antipsychotic medications if they believe it interferes with the marijuana or alcohol effect. Disorganized thinking and behavior may be made worse. Marijuana appears to increase the risk of schizophrenia in vulnerable young people and may complicate the course of schizophrenia. Impaired cognition is common in schizophrenia and misused drugs adversely affect cognition, such as attention, memory, task orientation and the like. There are many good reasons to avoid substance misuse. More

Does everyone with schizophrenia need to take medication? Can therapy help someone with schizophrenia?

All persons with schizophrenia need drugs some of the time and most will do better with continued use of medication to help control symptoms and prevent relapse. But the drugs are not effective for all aspects of the illness. Cognitive behavioral therapy may help with certain symptoms and supportive psychotherapy can support personal strengths and improve quality of life. Vocational programs increase the chances of successful employment. Family psychoeducation can give patients and family members a better understanding of the disorder and what will be helpful. A relationship with a case worker may help with the problems of daily living.

So, yes, drug treatment is important, but many patients will not take medication continuously for long periods and many experience side effects that have to be addressed. An integrated, comprehensive approach works best. More

What are the first symptoms someone would notice if they had schizophrenia?

The earliest signs and symptoms come before a diagnosis can be certain. There is now a growing emphasis on identifying young people at high risk for a psychotic disorder and offering treatment and services in advance of a full psychotic experience. At this stage symptoms and signs include problems with personal relationships and school or work performance, experiencing odd phenomena such as hearing a voice or noise but being uncertain if it was really heard, or becoming excessively suspicious. Also, some people may develop a “loner” lifestyle, a sense that something is wrong and that one’s mind is playing tricks, and other things that mark a change in life course. These may not be early schizophrenia symptoms, but it is a good time for clinical assessment and care in hopes of preventing a progression to a full first episode of psychosis.

At first episode of schizophrenia, common symptoms include paranoia, hearing voices or seeing visions, disorganization of thoughts and behavior, anxiety, fear, depression, sleep disturbance, social withdrawal and sometimes poor emotional control seen as anger and hostility.

All the signs and symptoms can occur at a mild level in people who are not ill. A diagnosis must look at the severity of the symptoms, their impact on function and resulting distress. More

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About the Expert:

William Carpenter Jr., M.D.
Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology
University of Maryland School of Medicine
Editor-in-Chief, Schizophrenia Bulletin
May 2015

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Myles’ Story

Myles was a 20-year old man who was brought to the emergency room by the campus police of the college from which he had been suspended several months ago. A professor had called and reported that Myles had walked into his classroom, accused him of taking his tuition money and refused to leave.

Read More

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MAY 17, 2018

Expressing the turmoil of schizophrenia through ballet

San Antonio Express-News

When Rowan Casillas, 17, was casting about for ideas for the dance piece she would create for the San Antonio Metropolitan Ballet, she settled on a topic that affects many families in San Antonio and across the nation — including her own. Since she was a child, Casillas had watched an aunt struggle with schizophrenia, a severe disease marked by hallucinations, delusions and often bizarre behavior. Now that she’s older, Casillas wants to “bring light” and dispel stigmas about mental illness with her five-minute dance titled “Split-Minded,” part of the company’s 30th Annual Dance Kaleidoscope on Saturday and Sunday at the Palo Alto College Performing Arts Center.

MAY 16, 2018

Schizphrenia as a whol-body disorder -- the 100-year-old idea only now being proven

New Atlas

A study from researchers at King's College London is suggesting that schizophrenia is not just a disorder of the mind but is also associated with defined physiological changes across the whole body. The study hypothesizes that these physical symptoms are not secondary effects of the illness but, in fact, indications that schizophrenia is a whole-body disorder.

MAY 16, 2018

Schizophrenics may do better with earlier, team-based care

Reuters Health

People with schizophrenia who are treated early in their disease course, with extra support in addition to drugs and psychotherapy, may do better than they would with usual treatment, which often lacks coordination and starts after psychosis has taken hold, a recent study suggests. With early intervention, patients had greater improvement in the severity of psychotic symptoms than with treatment as usual, the study found.

 

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Physician Reviewed

Ranna Parekh, M.D., M.P.H.
July 2017