Schizophrenia: The Debilitating Disease

Schizophrenia, one of the most debilitating of mental illnesses, is a serious mental disorder that affects the way one thinks, feels, and behaves. Typically first diagnosed around ages 20-25, Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the US population. Though it is uncommon, Schizophrenia may be genetic, making it a common issue in families who may suffer from it. If a parent has Schizophrenia, the child has a 10% chance of also developing it. 

Contrary to popular belief, Schizophrenia is NOT defined as multiple or split personalities but instead may include:

  • Positive Symptoms: (Those that are abnormally present)
    • Delusions
    • Hallucinations
    • Disorganized speech
    • Trouble thinking
    • Lack of motivation
  • Negative Symptoms: (Those that are abnormally absent)
    • Lack of pleasure
    • Inability to perform daily tasks
    • Becoming distant from friends and family

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for Schizophrenia. However, antipsychotic medications and injectables are available to help suppress symptoms and allow those suffering to live a normal life. Over the years of research we have found that Dopamine plays a large role and has a connection to Schizophrenia, which will hopefully lead to more information regarding the disorder. 

If you or a loved one is suffering from Schizophrenia, please contact Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy, located in New York and New Jersey to speak to licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners or psychotherapists. To contact the office in Paramus NJ, call (201) 368-3700. To contact the office in Manhattan, call (212) 722-1920. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/ .

Sources:

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/schizophrenia/what-is-schizophrenia

https://psychcentral.com/schizophrenia/schizophrenia-overview

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/conditions/schizophrenia

Photo Source:

https://www.psycom.net/schizophrenia

Anxiety, Depression, Eating Disorders, ADHD, Et al: How to Support a Friend with Mental Illness

By: Sarah Cohen

When helping a friend with a mental illness, the first step should be assessment of their symptoms. Sometimes they just might be going through a difficult time, but if certain common symptoms associated with mental health issues persist it is imperative to respond sensitively. Majority of the time, friends will just want to know they have your support and that you care about them. A good way to show your support is by talking to them. If you provide a non-judgmental space for them to speak about their issues it will help encourage them to be open with their problems. Let them lead the conversation and don’t pressure them to reveal information. It can be incredibly difficult and painful to speak about these issues and they might not be ready to share everything. If you aren’t their therapist do not diagnose them or make assumptions about how they are feeling, just listen and show you understand. If someone doesn’t want to speak with you, don’t take it personally, just continue to show them you care about their wellbeing and want to help as much as possible. Just knowing they have support can give them the strength they need to contact someone who can help them.

If a friend is having a crisis, such as a panic attack or suicidal thoughts, you must stay calm. Try not to overwhelm them by asking a lot of questions and confronting them in a public setting. Ask them gently what would be helpful to them right now or reassure them. If they hurt themselves, get first aid as soon as possible. If someone is suicidal, contact the suicide hotline at 800-237-8255 immediately.

The best way to help someone is by connecting them to professional help. By expressing your concern and support you can show them that they can get help and their mental health problems can be treated.

If you or someone you know needs support with their mental illness, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/supporting-someone-mental-health-problem

https://www.mentalhealth.gov/talk/friends-family-members

Delusions

By: Stephanie Osuba

A delusion is a strongly held thought or conviction that persists despite evidence to the contrary. There are three components that all delusions have: (1) they are held with unusual conviction (2) they are not amenable to logic (3) the absurdity of their content is explicitly evident to others. People who have delusions, no matter how weird and unimaginable, believe it to be fact and when attempting to clarify or argue will result in anger and even sometimes violent reactions. People with delusions usually feel that others think they are inherently unintelligent and that they aren’t being understood.

There seems to be a split in reality because most people who have delusions are able to keep their beliefs to themselves in professional settings where the delusions seem to “disappear” unless the person is in the presence of someone they trust. “Higher functioning” people who have delusions seem to have the input of a situation correct, however they often misinterpret the information leading to a delusional thought. For example, they might see their partner talking to the neighbor and suddenly they are being cheated on. Of course there are other cases in which the person is experiencing other psychotic symptoms (such as in schizophrenia where there might be hallucinations and disorganized speech) and the person is acting out on their delusions.

Some Common delusions:

  • Persecution: they are being intentionally run off the road, the police are searching for them, they are being targeted by news anchors
  • Infidelity: they are being cheated on or lied to by their partners
  • Love: they are in love, or someone, that they don’t know or have never met, is in love with them; usually celebrities.
  • Grandeur: believing they are God is very common; they have special or supernatural gifts
  • Memory: recalling events that have not happened; hard to clarify if it’s a delusion or pathological lying
  • Perception: when abnormal significance is placed on any normal or natural situation

Source: Hill, T., MS, LPC. (2018, October 17). 6 Dangerous Delusions Someone You Know Might Have. Retrieved from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/caregivers/2018/10/6-dangerous-delusions-a-loved-one-might-have/ 

If you or someone you know has delusions, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia: Symptoms

By: Cassie Sieradzky

Schizophrenia is a chronic and often debilitating mental disorder. Schizophrenia affects all aspects of functioning and consequently, sufferers may appear to have lost touch with reality. Symptoms of schizophrenia usually begin between ages 16 and 30. The symptoms fall into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.

The positive symptoms of schizophrenia consist of behaviors that are not usually seen in individuals without schizophrenia. Individuals displaying positive symptoms appear to lose touch with reality. These may include, hallucinations (hearing voices), delusions (being controlled by aliens), thought disorders (incoherent speech), and movement disorders (agitated body movements) are classified as positive symptoms.

The negative symptoms of schizophrenia are classified as deviations to normal emotions and behaviors. Flat affect, reduced expression of emotions, are commonly seen in individuals with schizophrenia. Someone who displays flat affect may speak in a monotone manner and show little facial expression. Some other examples of negative symptoms include loss of pleasure in activities and reduced speaking or communication.

The cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia include disruptions in executive functioning (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions), trouble focusing, and deficits with working memory (the ability to use information immediately after learning it).

Antipsychotic medications can be very beneficial in the treatment of schizophrenia. Additionally, psychotherapy is helpful in order to foster coping skills to address the everyday challenges of their diagnosis. Studies show that individuals who participate in psychotherapy are less likely to have relapses or be hospitalized.

If you or a loved one appears to be suffering from schizophrenia, the licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy can assist you. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

 

Schizophrenia. (2016, February). Retrieved April 30, 2018, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml