schizophrenia help

Cognitive Therapy Effective in Treating Schizophrenia

New research suggests that cognitive therapy could be an effective treatment option for patients with schizophrenia who cannot or will not take antipsychotic medication. Led by Professor Anthony Morrison of the University of Manchester and Prof. Douglas Turkington of Newcastle University, the research team say that cognitive therapy could improve personal and social functioning for […]

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Feb 14, 2014
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Under-Reporting Drug Use in Schizophrenia Patients

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Recent studies have found that individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia are less likely to report drug use, which could hinder the patient’s treatment. In one study, doctors suspected that patients with severe mental disorders were not reporting drug use accurately and this was leading to barriers in treatment. When patients underwent drug testing for cannabis, cocaine and methamphetamine, 38% tested positive for drug use. However, 58% did not report using these drugs. It was found that those most likely to conceal their drug use were older and had greater neurological deficiency.

Since this poses a problem to doctors trying to treat patients, there is one thing that can be done to alleviate this and increase the amount of reporting. It is thought that the fear of disclosure and judgment is causing individuals to hide this information. The study authors state that establishing a positive alliance between physicians and patients could improve the individual’s willingness to disclose drug use information.

 

Resources: http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/818434

http://www.medscape.com/medline/abstract/23551851

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Jan 06, 2014
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Self-Care for Schizophrenia

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Self-care can be as basic as eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of exercise, and generally managing your health. Healthy lifestyle changes can also improve your self-esteem and overall wellbeing, which is especially important for people managing a mental health condition like schizophrenia.

However, people with schizophrenia can often neglect healthy behaviors. A lack of motivation, one of the many symptoms can be the cause. Check out the following strategies for schizophrenics to improve their quality of life:

  • Be an advocate for your own healthcare. You need to make sure you tell your doctor how serious you feel about your symptoms. Talk to your doctor and find out what you should be doing to keep healthy. Ask questions and write down instructions when taking medication and set reminders for prescription refills.
  • Quit smoking. People with mental illnesses are twice as likely to smoke compared with others. Smoking increases your risk for many illnesses, and it can interfere with the absorption of your medications. Studies show that quitting smoking does not make your mental illness worse. In fact, if you stop smoking, you may be able to lower your dose and have fewer side effects such as weight gain or trouble sleeping.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Weight gain is a common side effect of drugs used to treat schizophrenia. “The medications that schizophrenics often are prescribed are notorious for stimulating appetite,” says Thomas Smith, MD, associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center and medical director of the New York City Mental Health Care Monitoring Initiative.
  • Be active. An active lifestyle can help prevent diabetes, heart conditions, and weight gain. If illness-related factors such as depression or negative symptoms limit your motivation, try to address the symptoms with psychological treatment.
  • Get enough sleep. People with mental illness often have sleep problems. To improve sleep quality, don’t drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages or smoke before bed, these are all stimulants. Have a bedtime snack like milk or turkey, which are natural sleep inducers. Go to bed at the same time each night. However, don’t try to fall asleep if you’re wide awake. Relax before bed with a book or soothing music.

People with schizophrenia must take care of body and mind. The healthier your body, the better you will feel physically and mentally.

 

Resource: http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-report/understanding-schizophrenia/self-care-for-schizophrenia.aspx

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Dec 04, 2013
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Make Life Easier for People with Schizophrenia

It’s Rethink Schizophrenia Awareness Week and in these days, everyone hears about “schizophrenic murderers” and the media continues to perpetuating the stereotypes about schizophrenia. With the disease affecting an estimated one in every 100 people, there could be a schizophrenic person in your vicinity. What does this actually mean?

As with most awareness projects, Schizophrenia Awareness Week has several key goals: raising funds, promoting support networks and making others aware of symptoms and treatments. Another goal is to promote that the average sufferer has no interest in harming them. For schizophrenic caregivers, this misconception is usually brought up.

Author VJD Smith of the Guardian believes that this never happens with people who have anorexia or heart disease. She writes, “The trouble is, there’s rarely a straightforward or positive image to counter the drip-drip effect of effect of negative headlines.”

For VJD, schizophrenia has had an enormous impact on her family. It’s still difficult for her to explain, because the mix of symptoms and side effects she’s witnessed refuse to lend any clear narrative. Perhaps for some of us there’s even a lingering worry that this isn’t schizophrenia. What if it was just a phase? What if the drugs made it worse? If there is no single test for schizophrenia, how can you know your response is the right one?

She writes, “If I could suggest ways to support people with schizophrenia, they would be simple ones. Set aside your preconceptions of madness and health. Don’t use the adjective ‘schizophrenic’ as a metaphor to mean ‘in two minds’ (if only it were that simple!). Know that with each individual embarks on his or her own journey of symptom management and that what constitutes a ‘well’ phase can vary enormously. Accept that you won’t always be able to distinguish the ill person from what you consider to be ‘the person beneath’ and that one day, you might even stop trying. Remember that, however woefully inadequate state support may be, you can’t let it become an excuse for wishing schizophrenia away from your community. Approaching this illness on its own terms doesn’t mean pretending it’s not ugly and often terrifying for sufferers and careers alike. It does, however, offer some way of finding peace.”

Individual experiences of schizophrenia are harder to articulate because of the newspapers and media. That does not mean we shouldn’t try. A schizophrenia diagnosis is not a full stop; life goes on. It has to be possible to show understanding even when dealing with suffering that we cannot understand.

 

Resource: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/nov/15/make-life-easier-people-schizophrenia

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Nov 21, 2013
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Can Schizophrenia Be Prevented?

While you may know how to thwart some illnesses, schizophrenia, a mental disorder that makes separating fantasy from reality difficult, it is a tougher condition to prevent.

Schizophrenia affects roughly 1% of the global population. The early stages of schizophrenia are called prodrome and usually begin in a person’s late teens and twenties. This phase involves a person hearing imaginary things or having strange thoughts.

Even though scientists are not certain why some people develop schizophrenia, research suggests that at least three areas are involved: genetics, the environment, and early drug use.

Schizophrenia: Reducing Genetic Risk

For those who do not have family members with schizophrenia, the risk of developing it is relatively slim. The odds are higher among people with a sibling (5%) or parent (10%) with the disease, and highest for a person with an identical twin (about 50%).

Some diseases have clear genetic markers, but schizophrenia has several genes that may be involved in determining its risk.

Schizophrenia: Reducing the Environmental Risk

Environmental factors are hard to control, especially since they seem to affect people differently. Facing a stressful event is typically when the onset of schizophrenia occurs. People who have experienced traumatic childhood experiences are more likely to develop schizophrenia than people who have not.

“Mental illness is higher in families with abuse and neglect,” says Ken Duckworth, MD, an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and medical director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Schizophrenia: Early Drug Use

There is strong evidence to suggest that illicit drug use, particularly marijuana, may worsen the course of schizophrenia, but the role drugs play in the onset of schizophrenia is harder to determine. Duckworth says it is possible that marijuana may trigger schizophrenia in people who have a genetic risk for the disorder. But not all people with schizophrenia have used drugs, and not all drug users develop mental illness.

A genetic counselor might be able to help assess your risk more accurately by taking a complete family medical history. Even so, more research is necessary to find how genetics and environment work together to cause schizophrenia.

 

Resource: http://www.everydayhealth.com/emotional-health/schizophrenia/schizophrenia-diagnosis.aspx

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Nov 07, 2013
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How I Recovered My Social Skills after Schizophrenia

For many people living with schizophrenia, the most frustrating aspect is the inability to tell whether or not the things you are thinking are actually taking place in reality. Simply put, when someone has schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder, interacting with the world in a meaningful and socially cognitive way is more than difficult.

Michael Hendrick has lived with schizophrenia for about eight years and has been symptomatically stable for years; however, during this time he has experienced a few periods of uncertainty. Shortly after being diagnosed, he felt socially “dead”. He didn’t even complete everyday tasks such as entering a grocery store.

For Michael, part of his experience socializing with others has been the analysis that happens both during and after any interaction. After every interaction, even those as minor as greeting the pizza delivery guy or the gas station attendant, could go on for hours or even days.

After struggling with his schizophrenia, Michael learned about a formal technique of therapy called Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET) to help his behaviors. CET is a recovery phase intervention for symptomatically stable persons with severe mental illness who remain socially and vocationally disabled. The Center for Cognition and Recovery says CET works by helping individuals develop and enhance the mental capacities for social interactions by using a combination of training in attention, memory and problem solving.

 

Resource: http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/2013/10/24/how-i-recovered-my-social-skills-after-schizophrenia/

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Oct 31, 2013
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Four Facts about Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a chronic and sometimes disabling condition of the brain that affects about one percent of the American population. Many people who are not close with an individual with this condition do not know factual information on this illness. To further educate yourself, here are four facts about Schizophrenia that you should know.

  • Schizophrenia is manageable. With the right antipsychotic medication and therapy, symptoms of this illness will begin to dissipate. Psychiatrists state that it takes about six weeks of treatment to start seeing an improvement.
  • Schizophrenics are usually not violent towards others in public. Most violent crimes are not committed by people who have schizophrenia. If violence occurs, it is usually brought upon by a family member or friend triggering the schizophrenic, and it will normally occur at home.
  • Suicide risk is high.  People suffering from schizophrenia unfortunately attempt suicide more than others. About ten percent of people with the illness either attempt or successfully execute suicide. The rate of suicide is also higher in men with schizophrenia then women.
  • Medication can cure symptoms of the illness but also has side-effects. Although the medication can help cure symptoms of schizophrenia such as hallucinations, the side-effects can be quite disabling. Side-effects include: drowsiness, dizziness muscle spasms, blurred vision, rapid heartbeat and so on. The upside is that a lot of these side-effects can be managed after a couple of weeks on being on the antipsychotics.

 

Resources:

http://health-tools.health.msn.com/schizophrenia/10-things-to-know-about-schizophrenia/

http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=41430

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Oct 17, 2013
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10 Misconceptions about Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects over 24 million people worldwide. Schizophrenia has also proved to be a complex illness, and there are a lot of myths that are out there. These 24 million people can live a healthy life if they properly treat their illness. To further educate yourself about the illness, here are ten common misconceptions that you may be surprised about.

  • People with Schizophrenia are out of control and very dangerous
  • Every person living with the illness is extremely paranoid
  • Schizophrenia is synonymous to Multiple Personality Disorder
  • People with Schizophrenia cannot be productive or successful in their lives
  • Schizophrenia is only genetic
  • People suffering from the illness can never live a normal life
  • Every person with Schizophrenia should be hospitalized
  • Schizophrenia develops very quickly
  • Medications for people with the illness make them stoic and unemotional
  • Schizophrenia is a major character flaw

It is imperative to educate yourself on these common fallacies because you should not assume these things about people with the illness, as it could hurt their feelings.

For more information on Schizophrenia awareness, please visit: http://schizophrenia.org.in/

 

Resources: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2010/01/18/13-myths-of-schizophrenia/

http://www.schizophrenia.com/szfacts.htm#

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Oct 09, 2013
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5 Ways to Increase Your Confidence and Achieve Success

Schizophrenia negative symptoms are defined as a decline or absence in the traits needed for normal functioning. These include loss of interest in everyday activities, lack of emotion, social withdrawal, reduced ability to plan or carry out activities, neglect of personal hygiene, and loss of motivation.

If you or someone you know suffers from these negative symptoms, you should know ways to increase your motivation, and in turn, your successes.

Every successful person has encountered failure, but failure is just a temporary roadblock to success. You can get past any roadblock on your journey to success, but to do that you will need confidence.

Here are some surefire ways to increase your confidence until you know you will succeed—and you will!

  • Look the part

If you walk around unclean, you look like you don’t care about yourself, and you will feel the same way too. Stay clean and buy a few pieces of clothing that will keep you looking good.

  • Fake it!

Do you try to hide in the background? Do you hunch your shoulder over, hoping no one will notice you? This demonstrates a lack of confidence.  Walk tall, shoulder back, posture erect, head held high. Believe yourself to be a confident person and carry yourself as if you are!

  • Edit your internal dialog

We all have words running through our brains every day. Stop allowing yourself to subconsciously undermine your confidence. Pay attention to what you are saying to yourself. When your find yourself being negative, edit them out. Practice saying positive things to yourself, either internally or out loud like “I can do this.”

  • Set small goals and achieve them

Sometimes a big goal can be overwhelming. Each small goal you achieve brings you closer to your large, exciting goal. But also, for every small goal you achieve, you will become more confident in your ability to achieve greater success.

  • Be happy… and grateful

None of us has a perfect life because there is no such thing, and if we did have a perfect life, we’d still find something we wanted to improve upon. Happiness is only 10 percent our circumstances. It is 90 percent the way we choose to view things. Choose every day to be thankful for everything you have in life. This doesn’t mean you have to be content with the way everything is, but there’s no reason to mope around about it. Work toward changing it if possible, and if not accept it and go on with life.

 

Resources: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/charles-d/confidence-boosters_b_3954248.html?ref=topbar

http://psychcentral.com/disorders/sx31.htm

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Oct 01, 2013
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Schizophrenia and Hoarding

Most people used to think of hoarding as a harmless eccentricity; however, this compulsion has been linked to mental illnesses like OCD and schizophrenia. Recently, compulsive hoarding has begun to receive attention in schizophrenia research.

Schizophrenics often collect things at random, filling their homes with items that might mean something or fulfill some hidden or unknown longing. It could also be random garbage collected with no thought to its use or purpose. The hoarding schizophrenic collects these items, has trouble parting with them, and allows the home to be overrun with clutter.

Schizophrenia Symptoms and Hoarding

Although there is little research on the links between schizophrenia and hoarding, there are several symptoms of schizophrenia that could cause hoarding:

  • Delusion. Some people with schizophrenia because of particular delusions. Some schizophrenics can have paranoid delusions about people stealing their belongings.
  • Disorganized thought. People with extremely disorganized thinking may not be able to take proper care of their possessions. They may not have the mental capacity to be able to organize their belongings and throw things away, so their belongings accumulate.
  • Impulsive or compulsive behavior. Schizophrenia has been linked to both impulsive behaviors and compulsive behaviors. A hoarding schizophrenic might buy items on impulse, and then be compelled to keep the items even if they have no value or purpose.

How Families Can Help

Hoarding can put family members of a schizophrenic in a hard position, knowing that their loved one is acting in a destructive manner, but not sure what they should do about it. They can see that hoarding is a terrible problem, but their loved one cannot.

Do not become confrontational over the clutter and filth. That will just cause your loved one to become defensive. Also, don’t just hire someone to come in and clean up while they are out of the home. If you just come in and clean the house, you don’t do anything to treat the underlying hoarding disorder.

One family member should be designated to approach the patient and talk about what motivates the hoarding. Be empathetic and listen to the other person’s perspective.

Talking and listening can help you figure out ways to show your loved one how hoarding keeps her from enjoying life. For example, she might want her grandchildren to come visit, but you can show that children will be unable to get into the house or find a place to sit or safely play due to the hoarded clutter.

Helping link the hoarding to some emotional goal can help motivate treatment. The key is: Nothing is going to happen until the person is ready to change.

 

Resource: http://www.everydayhealth.com/schizophrenia/schizophrenia-and-hoarding.aspx

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Sep 24, 2013
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