Movies and TV shows often portray schizophrenia as unpredictable, violent, or even scary. Far from the truth, schizophrenia is a mental disorder that distorts someone’s reality. It makes them hallucinate or hear voices that do not exist. These portrayals stigmatize people with this condition. In reality, the degree of intensity of schizophrenic episodes varies from case to case.
Schizophrenia is a truly debilitating illness that alters a person’s thoughts, actions, and perceptions. Psychotic episodes can occur only once in their whole life or reoccur whenever triggered. Harsh voices and delusions can lead to confusion or to actions that may endanger themselves. It is common for people with schizophrenia to have difficulties expressing themselves and communicating their thoughts.
Sadly, there is no cure for schizophrenia. However, do not lose hope as the right combination of psychotherapy and medication can help control the condition. While support from loved ones is helpful, guided treatment on its own is useful. It is possible and proven that people with schizophrenia can build meaningful relationships and live normal lives.
It is best to seek professional help and advice to find the best treatment for schizophrenia. Therapy has notable effects to help people with this condition. It allows patients to process their thoughts, distinguish what is real from what is not, and is effective in most cases. It can also help patients understand their condition better and overcome symptoms when they occur.
Planning to seek therapy for schizophrenia for you or your loved one? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to help you start.
What type of therapy is best for schizophrenia?
Treatment for schizophrenia usually includes both medication and psychotherapy. Antipsychotics are useful for the initial treatment of an acute schizophrenic episode. These drugs reduce anxiety and aggression in the short term and decrease the risk of hallucinations and delusions with more prolonged usage.
Meanwhile, psychological treatments, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, allow people to better deal with schizophrenic symptoms. Therapy helps identify and change patterns that lead to unwanted consequences.
Can schizophrenia be treated with therapy?
Proper treatment will help control symptoms, reduce episodes, and contribute to disorder management. However, schizophrenia demands lifelong treatments, even after the disappearance of initial symptoms. Doctors may try various combinations of antipsychotic drugs to provide the desired improvements with minimal side effects.
Psychological and psychosocial therapies are also crucial for helping the patient, and their loved ones cope with this mental illness. However, most patients can control their condition through rigorous treatment.
What psychologist deals with schizophrenia?
Psychiatrists are mental health professionals who specialize in managing schizophrenia and other similar conditions. As medical doctors, psychiatrists can give a diagnosis, prescribe medications, and deliver psychological therapy. They work with other psychologists who can assist in measuring treatment progress and conducting cognitive rehabilitation.
Psychiatrists can also benefit from licensed professional counselors and licensed clinical social workers for providing professional counseling.
What are the goals of therapy for schizophrenia?
The main therapeutic goals include preventing harmful behavior, reducing the severity of psychotic symptoms, and addressing causes that lead to acute episodes. Notably, schizophrenia is incurable, so therapy focuses on management and the restoration of normal function. Over time, therapy aims to decrease the risk of relapse by minimizing stress and training loved ones to provide adequate support.
What triggers schizophrenia?
Stress is the primary trigger for schizophrenia. In particular, major life events such as losing a loved one, loss of livelihood, termination of a relationship, or abuse can promote schizophrenic symptoms. People with a predisposition to schizophrenia, such as those with genetic factors and imbalanced neurotransmitters, are more vulnerable to these triggers.
How Can schizophrenia be cured permanently?
Unfortunately, schizophrenia has no permanent cure. However, effective treatment can help patients manage symptoms indefinitely. With therapy, many people with schizophrenia can engage in everyday activities in work and social relationships. Most patients get to restore normal function, with many even achieving a symptom-free life.
Does schizophrenia worsen with age?
Schizophrenia symptoms vary over the years, with some patients experiencing more intense impacts from the disease while others remain mentally stable. Remission rates can be significant for the general population, although varying remission criteria makes accurate analysis difficult.
However, schizophrenia does not accelerate mental deterioration with age. Many people receiving adequate treatment may even see improvements in psychosocial functioning due to better control over the condition.
Is schizophrenia the worst mental illness?
Schizophrenia can be one of the most debilitating mental conditions, although common media portrayals can exaggerate its effects. Given that this condition affects how people think, act, behave with others and perceive reality, schizophrenia can drastically affect life quality.
However, the severity of the illness itself varies among patients. Some people only have one psychotic episode for their entire lives, while others might struggle even between recurrent episodes.
What is the lifespan of a person with schizophrenia?
People with schizophrenia may have reduced life expectancies, with patients living from 12 to 15 years shorter than people without the condition. Factors contributing to reduced lifespan involve lifestyle factors, as it may be more difficult for people with schizophrenia to commit to healthy habits.
Furthermore, people with schizophrenia may receive less optimal healthcare, especially for dangerous but preventable conditions like cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Do people with schizophrenia have to take medication for life?
Given that schizophrenia is a lifelong condition, patients will have to take medications and attend psychological therapy sessions for life. However, they might receive various dosages and combinations of antipsychotic medications depending on their current symptoms and mental status. Changes in medication allow for optimized benefits and reduced side effects.
How do people with schizophrenia behave?
Distorted views of reality are hallmark symptoms of schizophrenia, causing patients to exhibit erratic behavior at times. People with schizophrenia can have hallucinations and illusions that cause them to behave inappropriately. Difficulties in expressing emotions can drive patients to withdraw socially.
Do people with schizophrenia feel the love?
People with schizophrenia can feel and express including emotions. Patients can form romantic relationships with other people. However, they might have difficulties in anticipating future emotions. It can also be challenging to engage in dating and other bonding activities with people.
Can a person with schizophrenia act normal?
Some schizophrenic patients undergoing therapy can experience a symptom-free and relatively normal life. However, experiences can vary. Some people might only have a single psychotic episode, while others might suffer from recurring symptoms. A combination of medication and psychological treatments can increase the chances of living a normal life.
What kind of voices do people with schizophrenia hear?
Schizophrenic patients who have auditory hallucinations might hear imaginary voices that give them comments, insults, or even encouragement. Experiences vary widely, but people most often hear repetitive, commanding, and hostile voices. These voices can be interactive, with the patient able to form a conversation with their imaginary companion.
Can overthinking cause schizophrenia?
Overthinking alone is not a trigger for schizophrenia. Overthinking about traumatic events is associated with the symptoms of schizophrenia. However, overthinking is likely an effect of the traumatic experience, not a cause for schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a disabling condition that can progressively worsen without the proper guidance and treatment. Hallucinating and having a distorted reality can strain relationships, which can lead to isolation and social withdrawal. At times, this erratic behavior can be overwhelming and further deteriorate overall well-being.
Treatment for schizophrenia cannot fully cure it, but it helps control and minimize symptoms. With regular treatment, one can expect things to get better over time. Constant treatment may be necessary even when there is no manifestation of symptoms. Support from a therapist and trusted people are key to overcoming the challenges presented by this mental illness.
Seeking help from a mental health professional or therapist is a brave step to take. Acknowledging one’s condition does not come easy for everyone. For some, it takes time.
The treatment process will help improve the overall quality of life. It can help reduce stressors and identify triggers. The success of the treatment lies in the willingness of the patient to communicate with a healthcare provider.
Of course, treatment will be tailored on a case by case basis. There is no one-size-fits-all plan to control and overcome schizophrenia symptoms. Striking a balance between medication and guidance is something your doctor or therapist will help you with.
Experiencing symptoms and being diagnosed with schizophrenia can be scary due to the stigma surrounding it. However, this illness does not define you. Have hope and strengthen the resolve to push towards recovery.
My best friend was one of the most dedicated workers I ever met. He was always the earliest person to reach the office and the last to leave. Even when he had the flu or migraine, he would still go to work, worried that his projects might get delayed because of him. So, when the company started laying off employees, and he became one of them, my best friend took it badly. Nothing and no one could cheer him up or make him leave the house to have fun.
When my best friend’s parents called me for help, I instantly knew that things were not getting better. I went to their house and kept knocking on his door, but he refused to open it. His mother had to open the door using the master key so that I could see his son.
Once I entered the bedroom, it took seconds for my eyes to adjust to the darkness that surrounded it. There was almost no light in his room! When I saw my best friend, he was sitting on the bed, hugging his knees. He was also rocking back and forth, and his eyes were staring into nothingness. I realized then that his parents had a reason to worry about my best friend’s mental health.
Instead of showing pity, I decided to act angry. I said, “Hey, man! What kind of a mess is this?”
My best friend uttered monotonously, “I don’t have a job anymore.”
“It’s the company’s loss, not yours,” I insisted. “Come on, let’s go out.”
“What will we do?” he asked.
Below are the non-mental-health-ruining things that we did.
Go On An Impromptu Trip
As soon as I got my best friend to dress up and leave his room, I dragged him to my car and sped away. I honestly did not have a destination in mind; I just went with my gut and hit the main road. We did not even bring a change of clothes and only had our wallets with us.
At first, my best friend complained about my lack of definite plans for our trip. But when we left the city and kept on driving past Nevada, he was already smiling. It was a better turn of events than we all expected.
Since my best friend had pretty much given up on life when he lost his job, he visibly lost a significant amount of muscles after a month of hibernation. The man had always been lean, but now he’s merely thin. While walking out of their house, I prayed that a strong gust of wind wouldn’t knock him over.
So, once we returned to the city, I brought my best friend to the gym that we used to go to. In truth, he made me sign up for it when I was dealing with weight-loss issues. I was merely returning the favor and doing something that I knew he would thank me for later.
Three times a week, we would go to the gym together. My best friend acted sluggishly in the beginning, but he eventually picked up the slack.
We had a little heart-to-heart talk one day, and I asked my best friend why he never asked for my help after the job loss. He said, “I was too ashamed to call you or any of our other friends.” I thought that wasn’t very smart, and I made sure he realized that. Then, I encouraged him to see everyone over dinner.
Again, the man tried to protest, claiming he wasn’t ready to meet our friends because he was still jobless. But my best friend listened (thankfully) when I told him that there’s no reason to try to impress anyone, much less the people he had known for three decades. As the night got deeper, we all saw our old, jolly friend return.
Look For A New Job
My best friend called me a few days later. I assumed he wanted to confirm the time and location for our next get-together. Instead, his mind was slipping back into the darkness, which he didn’t like. When I asked what he’s been doing when he’s not exercising or meeting us, he answered, “Nothing.”
My suggestion was to start looking for a new job. After all, unemployment was the root of my best friend’s problems, so there’s no better way to resolve everything than by breaking the spell. And since my best friend had an incredible track record, he got hired soon enough.
I must say my best friend was still lucky because he only dealt with mental instability for a month. Many people could have experienced it longer than that, and no one probably noticed or looked long enough to see it.
If you know someone who couldn’t get over the loss of something or someone in their life, teach them the non-mental-health-ruining things you just read above.
When confronted with a lot of trials in parenting, there are essential factors that you can bear in mind. Along with your own experience with parenthood, these practices will keep you and your family empowered, healthy, and happy.
Establish fostering and loving moments with your kids.
The key to an empowered family is built upon the times that you spend with one another. Make useful time with your children and other family members and prioritize them. Find ways to connect with them emotionally and mentally every single day. It can be as simple as watching television together, giving good morning hugs and kisses, fun conversations in the living room after meals. You can talk about how your day went or if there was anything in particular that you wanted to share – an interesting encounter or a worrying thought.
This regular involvement in your kids’ daily lives will establish a foundation of closeness and trust that will lessen the heavier burdens and trials, as they are already relaxed and confident of the attention that you provide them.
Be open to learning new things about parenting.
There is no universal manual guide for parenting, so you must be active, critical, and cautious in finding quality information. In today’s modern age, there are hundreds of resources online that parents can learn from. Some have better quality than the rest. Another great way to safeguard your family against bad parenting information is to double-check what you are reading with credible resources that are directly associated with your life, like your family physician, your kid’s teachers, or your relatives and significant others.
Additionally, don’t hesitate to widen your parenting comprehension by enrolling in parenting classes or participating in online support groups where you get to know other parents with similar experiences.
Practice positive habits to help you deal with stress.
When you are a parent, you tackle various levels of children-related anxiety and stress nearly every day. Make sure that you find the time of day for some quality alone time. Rejuvenate yourself by taking some rest and relaxation at least 30 minutes daily. This could be as simple as a refreshing soak in the tub while reading your favorite book or getting a therapeutic massage. Another technique for effectively dealing with the challenges of parenthood is through physical exercise, which has proven to help remove toxins and other negativities from the body. Mental exercises, such as meditation and yoga, are equally helpful activities as well.
Create a group for emotional support.
Over the decades, kids were so used to being raised by other members of the family, such as grandparents and other family members or close friends. Nowadays, parents need to take responsibility for creating their own social and emotional groups of support. Ask help from neighbors that you trust and respect and be involved in community activities. Connect with parents who have kids and are in a playgroup so your kids can join in. This is a good way for your kids and you as well to socialize with various families and learn from each other.
If you are a religious family, you might want to join a faith community that suits your beliefs. The more social ties you make with other parents who have the same values as you, the less alone you feel when dealing with unpredictable parenting problems.
Know important community resources that aid in supporting primary family requirements.
One of the greatest ways to maintain an empowered relationship with your kids is to be sure that your family’s primary needs are provided for. These needs include a comfortable home, sufficient food supply, and availability of education and healthcare. If one of these primary needs are in danger of lack or neglect, you must educate yourself on where you can seek help and support. Reach out to the family for resources at your physician’s clinic or speak to a counselor at your kid’s school. In certain countries, there is a specific number to call about support groups that help families in their areas. Asking for help and accepting it is not something to be ashamed about.
Make a list of routines that can help your kids improve their social capabilities.
When children are born, they have no idea whatsoever about how to behave socially. A lot of the daunting challenges come when they are exposed to a whole new situation, and they do not know how to respond. To avoid this, be sure that your children learn social skills so they feel that they belong and they know how to make friends. Try making a list of typical routines for improving their social skills. Create it in a way that they can follow a regular schedule around mealtime, naps, and sleeping time so that they will learn the principle of time and habit. Have an open conversation about how they must behavior their age and push them to learn good deeds by themselves and to ask questions about what is right and wrong.
By following these ways, you and your kids will continue to possess a healthy, strong, and empowered family relationship.
“Anxiety is a reaction to a situation we perceive as stressful or dangerous,” Monique Reynolds, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist.
In today’s world, anxiety is a very common mental disorder. It’s due to the things that pressure us, things that surround us which make us weak for no particular reason. The nervousness or uneasiness about something with an uncertain outcome can force us to become pressured. But don’t worry; there’s an abundance of tools available to overcome this condition. We have to understand the effects of positivity in our life, so let’s get into it.
We worry about things because we fear that we can’t handle worse situations. However, most of the things we worry about don’t particularly happen in real life. It is only the idea of fear that we incorporate in our minds. In fact, when we solely believe that negativity will impact our lives, then it will. But if we try to think about the opposite and picture ourselves on the right side of the moment, we’ll eventually end up laughing and smiling all through the course of the struggle.
How Do You Learn To Believe In Yourself?
You’ve already been through a lot of difficulties in life, and perhaps you already pull yourself out of it at some point. Self-belief and self-love are the two of the most powerful things that stop anxiety. Every time we face a new challenge in life, there’s a small part of us that assumes its difference from the previous ones we already encountered. From there, we imagine that we won’t be able to handle it. But guess what, we already made it through before, and we can probably deal with it the second time around. It’s a matter of positioning our thoughts into the realm of getting best results instead of focusing on the hardships instead.
Positive And Negative Vibes
Spending so much time thinking about the future is not going to help and will only make your anxiety worst. Fretting over hypothetical scenarios will only lock us away from reality. As a result, we limit capabilities in doing the things we have to do because we’ll get too afraid of trying. However, pushing too hard for something we want can give us anxiety as well. It will eventually cause us pain, suffering, frustration, and devastation. And because of that, we tend to stick to negative motivation and gather contrary ideas.
If we adopt the belief that life doesn’t give us anything we couldn’t handle, we will start to have faith in ourselves. We have to remember that we are in control of our destiny. Letting go and having faith in living our wishes are the most challenging parts. But once we get through the process of accepting what life has to offer, we will eventually receive the benefits afterward.
“The physical reaction to anxiety, by nature, is supposed to be short-term. The body is supposed to come back down to baseline,” clinical psychologist Robert Duff, Ph.D. says. “But a prolonged period of anxiety depletes your resources and exhausts you. If your anxiety is bothering you and you are suffering, you deserve to get help,” she adds.
Life might take you on a roller coaster ride, but that’s all going to be worth it. The final destination will always be up to you. Once you decide to get the things you want and pursue it with conviction, it’s already yours. You got to believe in yourself enough to get through the road of success. Even if you take bad turns, you can always find a chance to start over.
Psychologist Leslie Becker-Phelps, Ph.D., says that people in therapy “often come around to supporting treatment once they see that it makes a person happier.”
“Paranoia is a persecutory delusion. It’s the belief that someone or a group of people are attempting to harm you in some manner, physically, emotionally or mentally,” according to Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW.
Paranoia is not always a negative thing. For what it’s worth, it sometimes makes sense!
It has been a couple of months since the outbreak of Coronavirus, and surely, there are a lot of things that already changed in your routines. Somehow, you probably managed to adjust on schedules and learn new things to do. That is great if that is the case. But if you haven’t found the right routines and are still trying to figure out the best habits during your home quarantine experience, here are some of the tips you might want to consider.
Putting Your Phone Away When You Sleep
If you are the type of person who likes to begin his day by waking up to an alarm, you might want to consider putting it away when you sleep at night. That way, you will have to wake up and leave the bed to reach for it. And by forcing yourself to leave the comfort of your bed, you will be less likely to go back to it. Also, quit the habit of taking your phone with you in the bed so that you won’t have to spend hours using it before you sleep. Do not fall into the trap of using your smartphone as a sleep-inducer because that is useless.
Change To Your Workout Clothes Immediately
Once you get out of bed, change to your workout clothes immediately. That way, you can never skip exercise every day. It is a great time to exercise because your energy and motivation after waking up are higher compared to any other time of the day. It helps you get your day in a productive foot. You can try to work out at least 15 to 30 minutes a day. And on days you feel particularly tired, unmotivated and lazy, wearing your workout clothes can somehow give you an impression of moving your body and do some simple stretching.
Take A Morning Bath
Once you are done exercising, you can rest for a little while. After that, consider taking a bath. Not only it helps in revitalizing your whole body, but bathing in the morning can give you an energy boost. It can set your body into the right temperature as it promotes better blood flow. A morning bath can make you feel refreshed. It can set you up for a good mood and improve your overall well-being. Also note that even if you are at home, you need to change and use your regular clothes. Remember, not because you are home quarantined does not mean you have to stick with your pajamas all day.
Prepare And Eat Your Breakfast
Your morning routines will not complete if you miss out on your breakfast. But note that it is ideal that you prepare your own food. Not only can you choose what to eat, but you can also spend time getting busy preparing your meal. Plus, you can incorporate healthy diets and learn new cooking skills as well. And at mealtime, always remember to eat your food without distractions. Meaning, you should avoid using your phone while you are eating. That way, you can enjoy and savor the moment while having your breakfast.
After taking your morning slowly, you can consider cleaning everything before you fall into your leisure time. That way, you won’t have to worry about any pending tasks that might irritate you in the evening. Choose to step away from turning on the television or sucking yourself on social media updates. That way, you can work things around the house efficiently and productively. You can start by washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, wiping the windows, and so on. Just make sure you set your to-do list so that you won’t exhaust yourself by putting too much on the table.
We don’t often experience situations like this. In fact, for most of us, this COVID-19 pandemic is one of a kind. Its effects are not something we can easily forget about because it attaches trauma to our mental and emotional health. But despite the adversities of the situation, we understand the value of taking measures in keeping our overall health safe. Therefore, we need to establish strategies to stay emotionally healthy and resilient during this time as much as possible.
As we are all working through this COVID-19 crisis, we are aware of the mental illnesses it can create. There are anxiety and depression that we often cannot control. With that, we need to become more compassionate with ourselves regarding how to react to the things that are happening around us. Yes, we will have various responses in situations and that we might face the emotional pain differently. But we need to recognize our stressors to be able to find ways to deal with them. We need to understand that it is okay sometimes to feel weak because all of us are going to endure our moments of struggle one way or another.
As much as we want to practice and promote physical distancing to minimize the spread of the virus, we need to be socially connected. We must find time to reach out to our family and friends. We need to secure a technology-based interaction with others through phone calls, chat, and other forms of video conferencing. There are lots of options to choose from. We need to understand that in times of isolation, staying connected with people will help us fight the emotionally draining situation of this pandemic.
Look For Unique Opportunities
In this unique situation that we are experiencing, it is essential to look for sources of opportunities. Yes, the struggle will be difficult because of the rising levels of uncertainties, but we should not be scared. We need to search for positive opportunities that exist. It could be something we didn’t have time doing before, or it does not interest us back then but is now available. The opportunity could be something we thought we couldn’t do but is now waiting for our attention. We need to think about other things that require our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual presence.
Try And Engage In Different Activities
Due to our regular life, even before this pandemic situation, there are limited things we can do. But now that the situation allows us to focus on ourselves more, we need to try and engage in different activities that will make us feel different. It can be as simple as learning new things such as sewing, cooking, playing instruments, and so on. There are lots of activities that can allow us to become productive. Not only these simple activities cater to our sense of need in times like this, but it will also help us manage our stress and emotional burden.
Avoid Excessive Media Exposure
Yes, we all want to be up-to-date with the figures and facts of what is going on with Coronavirus and how it continually creates damage to the world. However, we need to recognize that for us to be able to maintain balanced emotional health, we must stay away from negative information from the media. We must tone down in pushing ourselves to the toxicity of the situation to avoid unhealthy consequences. We must pay attention to how much exposure we need so that we can set boundaries as to what is necessary for us and what is not.
Infidelity is one of the main reasons why relationships and marriages fail. According to Theresa E DiDonato Ph.D., “Infidelity can wreak havoc on a relationship.” Because of it, the confidence, bond, and trust that was once shared merely shatter into pieces in just one snap. And though how much a couple tries or how many years have passed after the discovery of infidelity, still, the pain brought by that wrongdoing lingers. Even after decades, the lousy moment keeps on recurring and can destroy the harmony at any time.
“Most people would agree that being authentic and transparent interactions with one’s intimate partner is essential to a successful long-term relationship,” according to Randi Gunther Ph.D. While browsing through Facebook, I saw a short note with an image of a young man and a woman almost kissing each other.