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Why is Schizophrenia a Devastating Disorder?

Owing to the signs of Schizophrenia, a person with the illness is likely to interpret reality in a way that seems abnormal to others. They may believe that others are trying to control or harm them and may feel compelled to act in ways to protect themselves that appear inexplicable to others. For instance, keeping all doors and windows closed protects the family from the neighbours’ attempts to kill or harm them. People with Schizophrenia are not aware of the changes in their behaviour.

Why is Schizophrenia a Devastating Disorder?

Schizophrenia, one of the most devastating and baffling mental illnesses, is a group of disorders that cause distorted thought and perception. Perceptions can be distorted beyond reality, causing people to see or hear things that are not there.

People with Schizophrenia go through periods of getting better and worse, remission and relapse. They can go for long periods without any symptoms, but because Schizophrenia is often a chronic illness, it requires ongoing medical attention like hypertension or diabetes.

Schizophrenia is neither a “split” personality nor multiple personality disorder, a different and infrequent problem. Though often stigmatized for the behaviours caused by the illness, people with Schizophrenia did not bring the disease upon themselves by becoming involved with the “wrong” crowd or interests. Contrary to the beliefs reinforced by movies, television and books, people with the disorder are more likely to withdraw into isolation or become victims of crime than to hurt anyone else.

Can you Develop Schizophrenia with no family History?

Several different genes are directly linked to Schizophrenia, and scientists have gotten a lot better at pinpointing them. Researchers have discovered that specific genes impact the brain, resulting in structural differences in the brains of people with Schizophrenia and increasing the risk of developing the illness. However, we still do not fully understand how those genes interplay and activate in particular individuals who develop Schizophrenia. The genetics of Schizophrenia remains complex, and more research is needed.

On the other hand, a family member or member with Schizophrenia is a definite risk factor for developing the condition. 80% of people with Schizophrenia do not have relatives with the disease. Schizophrenia likely results from a confluence of factors, some of which are only beginning to be understood.

Does Schizophrenia get worse even when medicated?

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Getting a diagnosis of Schizophrenia can be devastating. You may struggle to think clearly, manage your emotions, relate to other people, or even function normally. But having Schizophrenia doesn’t mean you can’t live a whole and meaningful life. Despite the widespread misconception that people with Schizophrenia have no chance of recovery or improvement, the reality is much more hopeful. Although currently there is no cure for Schizophrenia, you can treat and manage it with medication, self-help strategies, and supportive therapies.

Since Schizophrenia is often episodic, periods of remission from the severest symptoms often provide an excellent opportunity to start employing self-help strategies that may help to limit the length and frequency of future episodes. A diagnosis of Schizophrenia is not a life sentence of ever-worsening symptoms and hospitalizations. You have more control over your recovery than you probably realize.

Can a Schizophrenic Succeed in Life?

Some people have one psychotic episode, while others experience many throughout their lives. When treated with medication and therapy, in many cases, people with Schizophrenia can pursue their goals, have healthy relationships, keep jobs, and be productive members of their communities. 

Once medication and therapy begin to work, these strategies can help ease the challenges of Schizophrenia:

  • Stay focused on your treatment goals. Tell family members or friends your goals so they can provide support.
  • Stick to your treatment plan. Even if symptoms lessen, you must go to therapy and take your medication as directed. Use a medication calendar or weekly pillbox to remember to take drugs.
  • Know your warning signs. Have a plan to deal with symptoms as they arise so you can get the right help as soon as possible.
  • Take care of yourself. Your physical health is an essential part of feeling good, too. Eat nutritious foods, exercise, and follow a regular sleep routine. Do not smoke or use alcohol or illegal drugs.
  • Incorporate relaxation and stress management techniques into your life. Regular meditation or tai-chi can help reduce stress and avoid triggering an episode.
  • Join a support group. Share stories and advice with people who understand what you are going through. 

Medication for Schizophrenia that you can use along with therapy:

What is Seasonal Affective Disorder?

Seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, is a depression that happens to a person only at a specific time of year. It causes a person to become depressed in fall or winter when days are shorter, and it gets dark earlier. It is brought on by the brain’s response to seasonal changes in daylight. When the daylight hours grow longer again, the sadness lifts. Take steps to keep your mood and motivation steady throughout the year.

What are the Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

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  1. Mood swings. The condition can cause a mood that is sad, depressed, or irritable. It can make people feel hopeless, discouraged, or worthless. They may cry or get upset more easily.
  2. Negative thinking. A person can become more self-critical or more sensitive to criticism. They may complain, blame, find fault, or see problems more often than usual.
  3. Lack of fun. People with this condition may lose interest in things they normally like to do. They may lose interest in friends and stop participating in social activities.
  4. Fatigue. People may feel tired, low on energy, or need more motivation to do things. To them, everything can seem like it takes too much effort.
  5. Sleeping troubles. A person may sleep much more than usual. They may need help getting up and ready for school or work early in the morning.
  6. Changes in eating. It may bring on cravings for comfort foods such as sugar and carbs and the tendency to overeat. Because of this change in eating, SAD can result in weight gain during winter.
  7. Trouble concentrating. Like any depression, it can make it hard to focus and may affect schoolwork and grades.

Seasonal Affective Disorder and Bipolar Disorder

People who have bipolar disorder are at increased risk of SAD. In some people with bipolar disorder, episodes of mania may be linked to a specific season. For example, spring and summer can bring on symptoms of mania or a less intense form of focus, worry, tension, and irritability. They may also experience sadness during the fall and winter months.

What are the Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder?

  1. Circadian rhythm. The low level of sunlight in fall and winter may cause winter-onset SAD. This decrease in sunlight may disrupt your body’s internal clock and lead to feelings of depression.
  2. Serotonin levels. A drop in serotonin, a brain chemical that affects mood, might play a role in this condition. Reduced sunlight can cause a decline in serotonin which may trigger depression.
  3. Melatonin levels. The change in season can disrupt the balance of the body’s level of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and mood.

Can You Prevent Seasonal Affective Disorder?

There is no real way to prevent the onset of this disorder, but if you take steps to manage the symptoms, you can prevent it from worsening. Managing the symptoms can also reverse or head off serious changes in mood, appetite, and energy levels, as you can predict the time of the year in which these symptoms may start.

Treatment can help prevent complications, especially if the affective disorder is diagnosed and treated before symptoms get bad. Some people find it helpful to begin treatment before symptoms normally start in the fall or winter and then continue treatment past the time symptoms normally go away. 

What is the Treatment of SAD?

therapy - psychotherapy

Treatment for the seasonal affective disorder may include light therapy, psychotherapy, and medications. When prescribed light therapy or an antidepressant, let your doctor or mental health professional know if you have bipolar disorder

  • Light therapy. In light therapy, you sit a few feet from a special light box so that you are exposed to bright light within the first hour of waking up each day. Light therapy mimics natural outdoor light and appears to cause a change in brain chemicals linked to mood. Light therapy is one of the first-line treatments for fall-onset SAD. 
  • Psychotherapy. A type of psychotherapy known as cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn healthy ways to cope with the condition, especially by reducing avoidance behavior and scheduling meaningful activities. It also enables you to identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors that may make you feel worse.
  • Medications. It may be recommended that you start taking an antidepressant before your symptoms typically appear every year. Amitriptyline is an antidepressant used for conditions like SAD. It works by increasing a chemical called serotonin in your brain. It can improve your mood.

How Do You Know If You Have Bipolar Disorder?  

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes changes in a person’s mood, energy, and ability to function. It is previously called manic-depressive illness or manic depression is a mental illness which causes an unusual shift in mood, activity, energy, concentration, levels, and the ability to carry out tasks. 

How Do You Know if You Have Bipolar Disorder?

In this condition, the dramatic episodes of high and low moods do not follow a set pattern. Someone may feel manic and depressed several times before switching to the opposite mood. These episodes can happen over a period of weeks, months, and or years.

Your symptoms during a period of depression may include:

Bipolar Disorder
Image of a depressed man.
  • Lacking energy 
  • Irritable most of the time, feeling sad or hopeless
  • Lost interest in everyday activities
  • Difficulty remembering things and concentrating
  • A feeling of despair and guilt
  • A feeling of worthlessness or emptiness
  • Lack of confidence
  • Feeling pessimistic about everything
  • Don’t have the desire to eat food 
  • Being delusional
  • Waking up early
  • Difficulty falling asleep at night
  • Suicidal thoughts

The manic stage of bipolar disorder may include:

  • Pressured speech
  • Feeling very overjoyed, happy, or elated
  • Feeling self-important
  • Feeling full of energy
  • Being easily distracted
  • Feeling full of having important plans and great new ideas
  • Being delusional
  • Being easily agitated or irritated
  • Doing things that often have tragic consequences such as spending large sums of money 
  • Making decisions or saying things that are out of character 
  • Not feeling like sleeping

Symptoms of a major depressive episode

  • Unexplainable weight loss
  • Either insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Reduced or increased appetite (in children)
  • Fatigue, restlessness, or slowed behavior
  • Loss of energy 
  • Feeling sad, empty, hopeless, or tearful 
  • Loss of interest and pleasure in all things
  • Excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Indecisiveness 
  • Suicide attempts

If you have any symptoms of depression or mania, see your doctor or mental health professional. This condition does not get better on its own. Treatment from a mental health professional with experience can help you get your symptoms under control.

Get emergency help or call 911 if you or someone you know have thoughts of suicide or ending your life. If you have a loved one who is in danger of suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person.

What are the Causes of Bipolar Disorder?

  1. Biological differences. People with this condition appear to have physical changes in their brains. The significance of these changes is still uncertain but may eventually help pinpoint causes.
  2. Heredities. It is more common in people who have a first-degree relative, such as a sibling or parent, with the condition. Researchers are trying to find genes that may be involved in causing this condition.

Can You Prevent Bipolar Disorder?

There is no specific way to prevent this condition but treatments at the earliest sign may prevent the worsening of the disorder. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, some strategies can help prevent minor symptoms from becoming full-blown episodes of mania or depression:

  • Pay attention to warning signs. Addressing symptoms early on can prevent episodes from getting worse. You may have identified a pattern to your bipolar episodes and what triggers them.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol. Using alcohol or recreational drugs can worsen your symptoms and make them more likely to come back.
  • Take your medications. Take your prescriptions as instructed by doctors Stopping your medication or reducing your dose on your own may cause withdrawal effects or your symptoms may worsen or return.

How is it Treated?

The treatment for this condition involves medical specialists who are experts in dealing with mental health conditions. You may have a treatment team that also includes a psychologist, social worker, and psychiatric nurse. Treatment is directed at managing symptoms. This includes medications, day treatment programs, hospitalization, and substance abuse treatment. 

Chlorpromazine. It is used by doctors to their patients to control agitation and mania in people who have bipolar disorder. It works by helping to restore the balance of certain natural substances in the brain and reduce aggressive behavior and the desire to hurt yourself or others. It may also help to decrease hallucinations.

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