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Day 7 Schizophrenia

Each day I will detail an illness. Some of them you’ve heard of some you haven’t but the most important thing is we recognize some of them. One illness is greater than the other just some for more information.

Schizophrenia Overview

Schizophrenia symptoms include distorted thoughts, hallucinations, and feelings of fright and paranoia. Psychiatrists evaluate symptoms, tests, and medical history, and prescribe medications and psychotherapy for treatment.

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Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder that distorts the way a person thinks, acts, expresses emotions, perceives reality, and relates to others. People with schizophrenia — the most chronic and disabling of the major mental illnesses — often have problems functioning in society, at work, at school, and in relationships. Schizophrenia can leave its sufferer frightened and withdrawn. It is a life-long disease that cannot be cured but can be controlled with proper treatment.

Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia is not a split or multiple personality. Schizophrenia is a psychosis, a type of mental illness in which a person cannot tell what is real from what is imagined. At times, people with psychotic disorders lose touch with reality. The world may seem like a jumble of confusing thoughts, images, and sounds. The behavior of people with schizophrenia may be very strange and even shocking. A sudden change in personality and behavior, which occurs when schizophrenia sufferers lose touch with reality, is called a psychotic episode.

Schizophrenia varies in severity from person to person. Some people have only one psychotic episode while others have many episodes during a lifetime but lead relatively normal lives between episodes. Still other individuals with this disorder may experience a decline in their functioning over time with little improvement between full blown psychotic episodes. Schizophrenia symptoms seem to worsen and improve in cycles known as relapses and remissions.

What Are the Symptoms of Schizophrenia?

People with schizophrenia may have a number of symptoms involving changes in functioning, thinking, perception, behavior, and personality, and they may display different kinds of behavior at different times.

It is a long term mental illness which usually shows its first signs in men in their late teens or early 20s, while in women, it tends to be in their early 20s and 30s. The period when symptoms first start to arise and before the onset of full psychosis is called the prodromal period. It can last days, weeks or even years. Sometime it can be difficult to recognize because there is usually no specific trigger. A prodrome is accompanied by what can be perceived as subtle behavioral changes, especially in teens. This includes a change in grades, social withdrawal, trouble concentrating, temper flares, or difficulty sleeping. The most common symptoms of schizophrenia can be grouped into several categories including positive symptoms, cognitive symptoms, and negative symptoms.

Positive Symptoms of Schizophrenia

In this case, the word positive does not mean “good.” Rather, it refers to symptoms added in to one’s experience that are exaggerated and irrational forms of thinking or behavior. These symptoms are not based in reality and are sometimes referred to as psychotic symptoms, such as:

• Delusions: Delusions are strange beliefs that are not based in reality and that the person refuses to give up, even when presented with factual information. For example, the person suffering from delusions may believe that people can hear his or her thoughts, that he or she is God or the devil, or that people are putting thoughts into his or her head or plotting against them.

• Hallucinations: These involve perceiving sensations that aren’t real. Hearing voices is the most common hallucination in people with schizophrenia. The voices may comment on the person’s behavior, insult the person, or give commands. Other types of hallucinations are rare such as seeing things that aren’t there, smelling strange odors, having a “funny” taste in your mouth, and feeling sensations on your skin even though nothing is touching your body.

• Catatonia (a condition in which the person becomes physically fixed in a single position for a very long time).

Disorganized symptoms of schizophrenia are a type of positive symptom that reflects that person’s inability to think clearly and respond appropriately. Examples of disorganized symptoms include:

• Talking in sentences that do not make sense or using nonsense words, making it difficult for the person to communicate or engage in conversation

• Shifting quickly from one thought to the next without obvious or logical connections between them

• Moving slowly

• Being unable to make decisions

• Writing excessively but without meaning

• Forgetting or losing things

• Repeating movements or gestures, such as pacing or walking in circles

• Having problems making sense of everyday sights, sounds, and feelings

Cognitive Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Cognitive symptoms include:

• Poor executive functioning (the ability to understand information and to use it to make decisions)

• Trouble focusing or paying attention

• Difficulty with working memory (the ability to use information immediately after learning it)

• Lack of awareness of the cognitive symptoms

Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia

In this case, the word negative does not mean “bad” but reflects the absence of certain normal behaviors in people with schizophrenia. Negative symptoms of schizophrenia include:

• Lack of emotion or a very limited range of emotions

• Withdrawal from family, friends, and social activities

• Reduced energy

• Reduced speech

• Lack of motivation

• Loss of pleasure or interest in life

• Poor hygiene and grooming habits

What Causes Schizophrenia?

The exact cause of schizophrenia is not yet known. It is known, however, that schizophrenia — like cancer and diabetes — is a real illness with a biological basis. It is not the result of bad parenting or personal weakness. Researchers have uncovered a number of factors that appear to play a role in the development of schizophrenia, including:

• Genetics (heredity): Schizophrenia can run in families, which means a greater likelihood to develop schizophrenia may be passed on from parents to their children.

• Brain chemistry and circuits: People with schizophrenia may have abnormal regulation of certain chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the brain, related to specific pathways or “circuits” of nerve cells that affect thinking and behavior. Different brain circuits form networks for communication throughout the brain. Scientists think that problems with how these circuits operate may result from trouble with certain receptors on nerve cells for key neurotransmitters (like glutamate, GABA, or dopamine), or with other cells in the nervous system (called “glia”) that provide support to nerve cells within brain circuits. The illness is not believed to be simply a deficiency or “imbalance” of brain chemicals, as was once thought.

• Brain abnormality: Research has found abnormal brain structure and function in people with schizophrenia. However, this type of abnormality doesn’t happen in all schizophrenics and can occur in people without the disease.

• Environmental factors: Evidence suggests that certain environmental factors, such as a viral infection, extensive exposure to toxins like marijuana, or highly stressful situations, may trigger schizophrenia in people who have inherited a tendency to develop the disorder. Schizophrenia more often surfaces when the body is undergoing hormonal and physical changes, such as those that occur during the teen and young adult years.

Who Gets Schizophrenia?

Anyone can get schizophrenia. It is diagnosed all over the world and in all races and cultures. While it can occur at any age, schizophrenia typically first appears in the teenage years or early 20s. The disorder affects men and women equally, although symptoms generally appear earlier in men (in their teens or 20s) than in women (in their 20s or early 30s). Earlier onset of symptoms has been linked to a more severe course of illness. Children over the age of 5 can develop schizophrenia, but it is very rare before adolescence.

How Common Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia occurs in about 1% of the population. About 2.2 million Americans, ages 18 and older, will develop schizophrenia.

How Is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?

If symptoms of schizophrenia are present, the doctor will perform a complete medical history and sometimes a physical exam. While there are no laboratory tests to specifically diagnose schizophrenia, the doctor may use various tests, and possibly blood tests or brain imaging studies, to rule out another physical illness or intoxication (substance-induced psychosis) as the cause of the symptoms.

If the doctor finds no other physical reason for the schizophrenia symptoms, he or she may refer the person to a psychiatrist or psychologist, mental health professionals who are specially trained to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Psychiatrists and psychologists use specially designed interviews and assessment tools to evaluate a person for a psychotic disorder. The therapist bases his or her diagnosis on the person’s and family’s report of symptoms and his or her observation of the person’s attitude and behavior. A person is considered to have schizophrenia if he or she has characteristic symptoms that last for at least six months.

How Is Schizophrenia Treated?

The goal of schizophrenia treatment is to reduce the symptoms and to decrease the chances of a relapse, or return of symptoms. Treatment for schizophrenia may include:

• Medications: The primary medications used to treat schizophrenia are called antipsychotics. These drugs do not cure schizophrenia but help relieve the most troubling symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, and thinking problems. Older (commonly referred to as “first generation”) antipsychotic medications used include:

◦ chlorpromazine (Thorazine)

◦ fluphenazine (Prolixin)

◦ haloperidol (Haldol)

◦ loxapine (Loxapine)

◦ perphenazine (Trilafon)

◦ thioridazine (Mellaril)

◦ thiothixene (Navane)

◦ trifluoperazine (Stelazine).

Newer (“atypical” or second generation) drugs used to treat schizophrenia include:

• aripiprazole (Abilify)

• aripiprazole lauroxil (Aristada)

• asenapine (Saphris)

• clozapine (Clozaril)

• iloperidone (Fanapt)

• lurasidone (Latuda)

• olanzapine (Zyprexa)

• paliperidone (Invega, Sustenna)

• paliperidone palmitate (Invega, Trinza)

• quetiapine (Seroquel),

• risperidone (Risperdal)

• ziprasidone (Geodon)

Note: Clozapine is the only FDA-approved medication for treating schizophrenia that is resistant to other treatments. It’s also indicated for decreasing suicidal behaviors in those with schizophrenia who are at risk.

Other, even newer atypical antipsychotics include:

• brexpiprazole (Rexulti)

• ariprazine (Vraylar)

• Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC):  This is a team approach towards treating schizophrenia when the first symptoms appear. It combines medicine and therapy along with social services and employment and educational interventions. The family is involved as much as possible. Early treatment of schizophrenia can be key in helping patients lead a normal life.

• Psychosocial therapy: While medication may help relieve symptoms of schizophrenia, various psychosocial treatments can help with the behavioral, psychological, social, and occupational problems associated with the illness. Through therapy, patients also can learn to manage their symptoms, identify early warning signs of relapse, and develop a relapse prevention plan. Psychosocial therapies include:

◦ Rehabilitation, which focuses on social skills and job training to help people with schizophrenia function in the community and live as independently as possible

◦ Cognitive remediation involves learning techniques to compensate for problems with information processing, often through drills, coaching and computer-based exercises, to strengthen specific mental skills involving attention, memory and planning/organization.

◦ Individual psychotherapy, which can help the person better understand his or her illness, and learn coping and problem-solving skills

◦ Family therapy, which can help families deal more effectively with a loved one who has schizophrenia, enabling them to better help their loved one

◦ Group therapy/support groups, which can provide continuing mutual support

• Hospitalization: Many people with schizophrenia may be treated as outpatients. However, people with particularly severe symptoms, or those in danger of hurting themselves or others or who cannot take care of themselves at home may require hospitalization to stabilize their condition.

• Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): This is a procedure in which electrodes are attached to the person’s scalp and, while asleep under general anesthesia, a small electric shock is delivered to the brain. A course of ECT treatment usually involves 2-3 treatments per week for several weeks. Each shock treatment causes a controlled seizure, and a series of treatments over time leads to improvement in mood and thinking. Scientists do not fully understand exactly how ECT and the controlled seizures it causes have a therapeutic effect, although some researcher think that ECT-induced seizures may affect the release of neurotransmitters in the brain. ECT is less well established for treating schizophrenia than depression or bipolar disorder, and it is therefore not used very often when mood symptoms are absent. ECT is sometimes helpful when medications fail or if severe depression or catatonia makes treating the illness difficult.

• Research: deep brain stimulation (DBS) is a  neurosurgical procedure being studied to treat schizophrenia. — Electrodes are surgically implanted to stimulate certain brain areas believed to control thinking and perception. DBS is an established treatment for severe Parkinson’s Disease and essential tremor, and remains experimental for the treatment of psychiatric disorders.

Are People With Schizophrenia Dangerous?

Popular books and movies often depict people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses as dangerous and violent. This is usually not true. Most people with schizophrenia are not violent. More typically, they prefer to withdraw and be left alone. In some cases, however, people with mental illness may engage in dangerous or violent behaviors that are generally a result of their psychosis and the resulting fear from feelings of being threatened in some way by their surroundings. This may be exacerbated by use of drugs or alcohol.

On the other hand, people with schizophrenia can be a danger to themselves. Suicide is the number one cause of premature death among people with schizophrenia.

What Is the Outlook for People With Schizophrenia?

With proper treatment, most people with schizophrenia can lead productive and fulfilling lives. Depending on the level of severity and the consistency of treatment received they are able to live with their families or in community settings rather than in long-term psychiatric institutions.

Ongoing research on the brain and how brain disorders develop will likely lead to more effective medicines with fewer side effects.

Can Schizophrenia Be Prevented?

There is no known way to prevent schizophrenia. However, early diagnosis and treatment can help avoid or reduce frequent relapses and hospitalizations and help decrease the disruption to the person’s life, family, and relationships.

Sources:

Webmd

🖤Mental Health Week🖤 DAY 1 Eating Disorders

Each day I will detail an illness. Some of them you’ve heard of some you haven’t but the most important thing is we recognize some of them. One illness is greater than the other just some for more information.

-EATING DISORDERS-

1. Anorexia Nervosa

People who have anorexia will deliberately restrict their food and caloric intake in order to achieve an abnormally low body weight. If left untreated, this disorder can prove fatal.

This eating disorder affects 0.4-percent of adolescents and young women. However it is estimated that more than 4-percent of all women will struggle with anorexia nervosa over the course of their lifetime.

People with anorexia nervosa may see themselves as overweight, even when they are dangerously underweight. People with anorexia nervosa typically weigh themselves repeatedly, severely restrict the amount of food they eat, and eat very small quantities of only certain foods. Anorexia nervosa has the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. While many young women and men with this disorder die from complications associated with starvation, others die of suicide. In women, suicide is much more common in those with anorexia than with most other mental disorders.

Symptoms include:

Extremely restricted eating

Extreme thinness (emaciation)

A relentless pursuit of thinness and unwillingness to maintain a normal or healthy weight

Intense fear of gaining weight

Distorted body image, a self-esteem that is heavily influenced by perceptions of body weight and shape, or a denial of the seriousness of low body weight

Other symptoms may develop over time, including:

Thinning of the bones (osteopenia or osteoporosis)

Mild anemia and muscle wasting and weakness

Brittle hair and nails

Dry and yellowish skin

Growth of fine hair all over the body (lanugo)

Severe constipation

Low blood pressure, slowed breathing and pulse

Damage to the structure and function of the heart

Brain damage

Multiorgan failure

Drop in internal body temperature, causing a person to feel cold all the time

Lethargy, sluggishness, or feeling tired all the time

Infertility

2. Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimics tend to binge on large amounts of rich, calorie laden foods and then engage in behaviors to purge this food from their body. These behaviors can include self-induced vomiting or misuse of over the counter laxatives.

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder affects 1.3-percent of adolescents and young women. An additional 0.7-percent of older women will develop this disorder over the course of their life.

People with bulimia nervosa have recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes. This binge-eating is followed by behavior that compensates for the overeating such as forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination of these behaviors. Unlike anorexia nervosa, people with bulimia nervosa usually maintain what is considered a healthy or relatively normal weight.

Symptoms include:

Chronically inflamed and sore throat

Swollen salivary glands in the neck and jaw area

Worn tooth enamel and increasingly sensitive and decaying teeth as a result of exposure to stomach acid

Acid reflux disorder and other gastrointestinal problems

Intestinal distress and irritation from laxative abuse

Severe dehydration from purging of fluids

Electrolyte imbalance (too low or too high levels of sodium, calcium, potassium and other minerals) which can lead to stroke or heart attack

3. Binge Eating Disorder

This disorder is characterized by eating excessively large amounts of high calorie food in a very short period of time. The Mayo Clinic defines binge-eating disorder as “a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food and feel unable to stop eating.”

It is estimated that 1.6-percent of women and 0.8-percent of men worldwide are afflicted by binge eating disorder. A further 0.4-percent of women middle aged and older women will develop this disorder.

One of the primary signs of binge eating disorder is that the individual will consume an abnormally large amount of food within a short time, typically a two-hour period. In some cases, MedicalNewsToday.com says, “10,000 to 20,000 calories of food may be consumed in one bout of bingeing,”

According to EatingDisorderHope.com, the reason for this bingeing is they never experience satiation “the state of being satisfied, no matter the amount of food consumed.”

People with binge-eating disorder lose control over his or her eating. Unlike bulimia nervosa, periods of binge-eating are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting. As a result, people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese. Binge-eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the U.S.

Symptoms include:

Eating unusually large amounts of food in a specific amount of time

Eating even when you’re full or not hungry

Eating fast during binge episodes

Eating until you’re uncomfortably full

Eating alone or in secret to avoid embarrassment

Feeling distressed, ashamed, or guilty about your eating

Frequently dieting, possibly without weight loss

4. Cognitive Distortions Associated with Anorexia

Distorted thoughts about food, weight, and body image are central to those affected by this disorder. Patients may feel they should be perfect, which gives rise to all or nothing thinking. This in turn gives rise to obsessive perfectionism in regards to attaining the “ideal” body.

Sufferers may also reject the positive in that they see all fats and calories as negative. Anorexics also tend to unfavorably compare themselves to others, label foods as fattening, and catastrophize about weight gain. If they gain a pound, it’s the end of the world and nobody will like them.

5. Physiology and Anorexia

Food is the body’s first choice of fuel. If inadequate nutrients are eaten, then the body breaks down fat stores. Once these are depleted the body begins to break down muscle tissue. This results in the production of ketones, which enter the bloodstream and cross the blood-brain barrier.

When this happens, a person’s ability to think rationally is severely compromised. This is why patients suffering from extreme case of anorexia nervosa are hospitalized and force fed intravenously and with a gastric tube. Their lives are in danger, and psychotherapy will be ineffective until their weight is stabilized and ketones are no longer flooding the brain.

6. Pica

According to Wikipedia, pica “is characterized by an appetite for substances that are largely non-nutritive, such as paper, clay, drywall or paint.” Pica is frequently seen in developmentally challenged individuals who exhibit persistent and compulsive symptoms for more than 4 weeks.

Pica is a common disorder in children with mental disability, brain injuries, or autism.  Approximately 10 to 30-percent of children between 1 and 6-years of age are affected by this disorder.

7. Rumination Disorder

This disorder is characterized by a normal intake of food followed by immediate regurgitation into the mouth and re-chewing of the food. The food is often swallowed again and occasionally spit out. Rumination disorder is most common in infants between the ages of 3 to 12 months and cognitively impaired children.

Rumination disorder may be caused by illness, abuse, stress, or as a means to gain attention.  Rumination disorder can result in weight loss, dehydration, malnutrition, halitosis, tooth decay, indigestion, and chapped lips.

Eating Disorder Hotline Listings

National Eating Disorders Association Helpline: 1-800-931-2237

This helpline offers support Monday–Thursday from 9 a.m.–9 p.m. EST, and Friday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. EST. You can expect to receive support, information, referrals, and guidance about treatment options for either you or your loved one. You can also contact this helpline through its online chat function, available on its website. Additionally, there is an option to send a text message if you are in crisis by texting NEDA to 741741; a trained volunteer from the Crisis Text Line will get in touch with you.

Something Fishy: 1-866-418-1207

This eating disorders helpline offers treatment referrals nationwide. Its website also provides a wealth of information and resources about eating disorders and eating disorder treatment. Through its website, you can join an online chat group where you can speak to others in your shoes to gain support, advice, and hope.

Hopeline Network: 1-800-442-4673

This is a hotline dedicated to serving anyone in crisis. Sometimes, people with eating disorders might feel so full of shame or self-hatred that they contemplate hurting themselves. If this is true for you, this hotline offers nationwide assistance and support from volunteers specifically trained in crisis intervention. You can talk to someone day or night about anything that’s troubling you, even if it’s not related to an eating disorder. You can also call if you need referrals to eating disorder treatment centers.

National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders: 1-630-577-1330

Currently serving people in the United States, the hotline operates Monday–Friday from 9 a.m.–5 p.m. CST, with plans for a 24/7 hotline coming soon. Trained hotline volunteers offer encouragement to those having problems around eating or binging, support for those who “need help getting through a meal,” and assistance to family members who have concerns that their loved one might have an eating disorder.

Overeaters Anonymous: 1-505-891-2664

This hotline is available to people worldwide who need a referral to an Overeaters Anonymous support meeting in their area. Contrary to popular belief, Overeaters Anonymous is not just for people who are concerned about eating too much; it is also intended for those who have anorexia, bulimia, food addiction, or any other type of eating disorder. If you are reluctant to attend an in-person meeting or are not geographically near one, its website offers you the option to participate in an online- or telephone-based support group.

Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association (formerly the Massachusetts Eating Disorder Association): 1-617-558-1881

This organization offers education, information, referrals to clinicians who specialize in eating disorders, support groups, and additional services for people with eating disorders in the New England area. It also offers information about nationwide treatment centers and is available between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. EST, Monday–Friday.

The United Way’s 211.org: Call 2-1-1

The hotline is intended for anyone living in North America who has any type of crisis or who needs help locating specific resources, including information and referrals for eating disorder treatment. Available 24/7, it can offer information and referrals to treatment organizations in your area.

Crisis Textline: Text CONNECT to 741741

Available 24/7, 365 days a year, this organization helps people with eating disorders and other mental health issues by connecting callers with trained crisis volunteers who will provide confidential advice, support, and referrals if needed.

Thursday’s Child Eating Disorders Helpline: 1-866-628-7494

This organization offers 24/7 assistance and nationwide referrals to teens with eating disorders and other mental health or crisis situations. Thursday’s Child describes its hotlines as unique in that a live person always answers the phone, as opposed to some other hotlines that might first put a person on hold. It also offers a specific helpline for anorexia and for bulimia and binge eating disorder.

Sources:

Activehealth.com

Nigh.org

Bulimia.com