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What Exactly is Schizophrenia?

While many people associate this illness to people talking to themselves or wandering the streets aimlessly, there is actually much more to it than just that. But first let’s ask the question: What is Schizophrenia? In its simplest form, schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves, often making it seem like this person has lost touch with reality.

Not as common as other mood disorders, the exact number of Schizophrenia sufferers are estimated to range from .25 percent to .64 percent of US adults. It typically develops between the ages of 17 to 30 in men and women, and although it can occur at any age, it is uncommon for a child under the age of 12 to be diagnosed.

What are the symptoms?

Now that we know what Schizophrenia is exactly, let’s look at what symptoms can occur. And let’s categorize them to make them easier.

Positive symptoms – These are symptoms that a typically not seen in healthy individuals, hence they are added. These symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations – This can includes, hearing voices, seeing things that are not typically there or smelling things that other cannot. These symptoms are very real to those suffering from Schizophrenia.
  • Delusions – These are false beliefs that includes paranoia, feeling like someone is reading their thoughts, or they are being spied on or controlled.

Negative symptoms – These are associated with disruptions to normal emotions or behaviors, such as:

  • Reduced expressions of emotions, whether it be facial expressions or tone of voice.
  • Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
  • Reduced speaking or activity

Cognitive symptoms – People with these symptoms struggle with memory, organization, thinking or completely general tasks.

How do you get Schizophrenia?

Research suggests that schizophrenia may have several possible causes:

  • Genetics – Heredity indeed can play a strong role in developing Schizophrenia. Your likelihood of developing schizophrenia is multiplied by six times if you are related to someone with the illness.
  • Environment. Exposure to viruses or malnutrition before birth, particularly in the first and second trimesters has been shown to increase the risk of schizophrenia.
  • Brain chemistry – Problems with certain brain chemicals, including neurotransmitters called dopamine and glutamate, may contribute to schizophrenia.
  • Substance abuse – It is suggest that taking mind-altering drugs during teen years and young adulthood can increase the risk of schizophrenia. A growing body of evidence indicates that smoking marijuana increases the risk of psychotic incidents and the risk of ongoing psychotic experiences. The younger and more frequent the use, the greater the risk.

How do I get help?

While there are some theories on the causes of Schizophrenia, it is still widely unknown, so treatments focus on eliminating the symptoms of the disease instead of the disease itself, these include:

Antipsychotics – It is important to work closely with your Dr. to find the right Antipsychotic for your symptoms. Examples of antipsychotics are:

  • Seroquel
  • Risperidone
  • Olanzapine
  • Abilify

Psychosocial Treatments – These are most beneficial in conjunction with medication discovered after you have met with a doctor. These treatments focus on learning and using coping skills to deal with the everyday challenges of having schizophrenia. Patients who regularly participate in these treatments are much less likely to relapse and end up in the hospital.

If you know someone with these symptoms it is important for you to help them get treatment and help them to stay in treatment. It is also important for you to remember that these symptoms are very real to them and to acknowledge them as such and be respectful, supportive and kind to these symptoms.

Sticky
Nov 25, 2019
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I Thought ADHD Was Just For Children

I thought ADHD was just for children.

Ever feel like you have a really hard time staying focused? How about the inability to sit still? If you do, you might have ADHD, and no it’s not just something that kids have. In fact, over 17 million Americans alone suffer from ADHD.

ADHD stands for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. While the cause for ADHD it unknown, it is thought to be an imbalance in the chemicals sent and received in your brain. Luckily for people who suffer from this disorder, it is treatable.

Lets break down ADHD a bit further:

Attention-Deficit: This means that a person has a high likely hood of not completing tasks, has difficulty in staying focused and is, often at times, very disorganized.

Hyperactivity: If you have trouble sitting still, and finding yourself moving constantly you might have issues with hyperactivity. It can also be highlighted by fidgeting, tapping or constant talking.

Impulsiveness: making very hasty decisions or actions without properly thinking them through. This can be caused by needing immediate satisfaction or need for an immediate reward.

Signs and Symptoms

There are two main types of ADHD: Inattention and Hyperactivity-Impulsivity.

Common symptoms of inattention are:

  • Missing details in school or work assignments.
  • Problems focusing on conversations or reading.
  • Seeming disinterested when being spoken to.
  • Failing to finish assignments or tasks.
  • Losing important items, such as: pencils, books, glasses, keys and/or cellphones.
  • Easily distracted.

Common symptoms of Hyperactivity-Impulsivity are:

  • Fidgeting or moving around in seats.
  • Feeling restless.
  • Talking nonstop.
  • Having trouble waiting your turn.
  • Interrupting others during conversations.

Symptoms for ADHD can appear as early as 3 and 6 in children and can continue through adolescence and into adulthood. ADHD should be diagnosed by a licensed clinician or doctor.

However, these symptoms can and do change over time as a person ages. In young children hyperactivity-impulsivity is the most common symptom. As the child reaches elementary school, these symptoms man change to inattention and may cause the child to struggle academically. In adolescence, hyperactivity seems to lessen and may start showing signs of restlessness or fidgeting, but inattention and impulsivity might still remain. These symptoms for adolescents can make it difficult to maintain relationships. Inattention, restlessness, and impulsivity tend to persist into adulthood, and cause similar effects.

Treatment and Therapies

While there is no cure for ADHD. There are treatments available that help reduce symptoms and improve functioning with ADHD. These treatments include medication and therapy.

Medication: As always, speak with a doctor to be prescribed the proper medication.

Stimulants: The most common type of medication used for ADHD. Stimulants work by increasing the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine which play a big role in thinking and more importantly attention.

Non-Stimulants: These medications take longer to start working than stimulants, but help improve focus, attention and impulsivity. These are typically prescribed when stimulants are ineffective.

Therapy:

Behavioral Therapy: This aims to help a person change his or her behavior. This is done with positive and negative feedback to help establish rules, and lists to help a patient monitor their own behavior or thinking before they act impulsively.

Cognitive Therapy: This teaches a person to improve concentration or focus through being aware of one’s own thoughts, sometimes through techniques such as meditation.

It is important for all people with ADHD to see a therapist to help manage their life with the complications from having ADHD. It is important to do the following:

  • Keep a routine
  • Make lists for tasks and different activities.
  • Use a calendar
  • Break down larger tasks into smaller more manageable ones.

 

Sticky
Nov 06, 2019
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What is Fibromyalgia?

What is Fibromyalgia?

While many people associate being in pain with simple arthritis, it could be a much more prevalent problem. However, they could suffer from Fibromyalgia. It is a disorder that is characterized by widespread pain in the muscle and skeletal tissue that is paired with fatigue, sleep and memory and mood issues, also referred to as “Fibro fog”.

(more…)

Sticky
Sep 16, 2019
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Do I Have Sleep Apnea or Is It Just Insomnia?

While the relationship between insomnia and sleep apnea runs deep, they are two very exclusive medication conditions, with both having different symptoms and treatment plans. However, you may have sleep apnea, which can have very serious side effects if left untreated. Sleep Apnea: Sleep Apnea is a very common, but very serious sleep condition affecting […]

Sticky
Jul 18, 2019
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What Exactly is Bipolar Disorder

While many people know they have a Bipolar diagnosis, many are unsure how to distinguish the differences between Bipolar 1 and Bipolar 2. And many aren’t aware that there are two types at all. Let’s look at some of the differences. First let’s take a look at the overall symptoms for Bipolar then we will […]

Sticky
Jun 17, 2019
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Which Antidepressant is Right For You?

Antidepressants are a form of medication used for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD). However, they may also be used to treat other disorders, such as anxiety disorders, chronic pain conditions and also helps manage addictions. Typical side-effects of antidepressants include dry mouth, weight gain, lack of sex drive, anhedonia, emotional blunting, and in […]

Sticky
May 21, 2019
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Tips on Coping with Daylight Saving

Daylight saving was established in the United States in 1918 to save energy and experience more daylight during waking hours. Today, it has become more controversial as it no longer saves energy, potentially detrimentally impacts health and productivity, and some states, including Arizona, already do not observe the tradition (Blakemore, 2018). Adjusting to daylight saving […]

Sticky
Mar 25, 2019
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An Introduction to the Clinical Trials Database

The National Registry of all clinical trials, which is referred to as clinicaltrials.gov, is meant to provide the public with information regarding all clinical research studies that are being regulated by the  Food and Drug administration (FDA). Since the general purpose of all clinical trials is to get a treatment or device approved by the […]

Sticky
Feb 20, 2019
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