Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that can cause significant behavioral disruptions and abnormal interpretations of reality. For individuals with schizophrenia, the day-to-day struggles can feel overwhelming. However, with the support of a therapist or counselor, you can find balance for your mental well-being.
What Is Schizophrenia?
While schizophrenia can be different for each client, it typically impacts the way clients process information, how they express emotions, and how they behave in social interactions. Signs of schizophrenia often start to appear in late adolescence and early adulthood.
The most common signs of schizophrenia include gradual changes in:
- Thinking patterns
- Social interactions
Despite the low occurrence of schizophrenia worldwide, there are some critical age, gender, life expectancy, and risk factors to consider. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), only 24 million, or 1 in 300, people are affected by schizophrenia worldwide. While the number of people affected by schizophrenia is significantly lower than other mental health disorders, the lack of treatment after the first signs of psychosis can make schizophrenia more difficult to treat and manage than other conditions.
Moreover, age is an essential factor in the onset of schizophrenia as most clients start to exhibit symptoms in their late teens and early adulthood. While gender has not had a strong correlation to the development of schizophrenia, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there is evidence that young men can develop the disorder earlier than young women. Noted by NIMH, statistics show that young men can develop schizophrenia in their late teens and early 20s compared to young women who can develop the disorder in their early 20s and early 30s.
As one of the world’s top 15 leading causes of disability, schizophrenia has a few health and social risk factors to consider.
Health Risk Factors:
- Increased risk of premature death
- Approximately 4.9% rate of suicide early on
- Comorbid mental and behavioral health disorders
- Co-occurring medical conditions:
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Infectious diseases
Social Risk Factors:
- Social exclusion
- Limited access to resources:
- Health care
- Difficulties managing important areas of their life:
Why Is Treatment for Schizophrenia Important?
Treating mental health disorders is important for your overall health and well-being. It is particularly important to treat schizophrenia, especially in the early stages of psychosis. Early intervention for the treatment of schizophrenia has shown more successful outcomes for long-term wellness.
According to an article in Frontiers in Psychiatry, it can be challenging to recognize schizophrenia in its early phase, but looking for the most common signs and providing clients with treatment options can prevent the progression of the disorder and full-blown schizophrenia. As stated in an article in Pharmacy and Therapeutics, through treatment, clinicians can help you avoid a relapse in your symptoms and support you in increasing your adaptive functioning skills to integrate back into your community.
Adaptive Functioning Skills:
- Household chores
- Money management
- Social skills
- Work responsibilities
- Personal responsibilities
What Does Schizophrenia Feel Like?
Symptoms of schizophrenia fall under three major categories:
- Psychotic symptoms
- Negative symptoms
- Cognitive symptoms
The psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia are related to the way you think, behave, and interact. While psychotic symptoms can come and go for some people, when present, they can disrupt your grasp on reality and make it difficult to interact with other people.
Some Examples of Psychotic Symptoms Include:
- Thought disorder
- Movement disorder
As for the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, they impact your emotions, your social interactions, and your daily functions. The negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia can be mistaken for depression and other mental health disorders because of their similar effects on social and life skill functions.
Some Examples of Negative Symptoms Include:
- Decreased motivation
- Little to no interest in daily activities
- Social withdrawal and isolation
- Difficulty showing emotions
- Struggles with typical daily functioning
Lastly, cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia impact difficulties with concentration, attention, and memory. The cognitive symptoms associated with schizophrenia can make day-to-day functioning and social interaction difficult.
Cognitive Symptoms Can Make It Difficult To:
- Process information
- Make decisions
- Learn new things
- Interpret new information
- Pay attention
What Makes Our Program Unique?
With our holistic approach to care, at Mindfuli, we can support you in achieving the long-term wellness you deserve. An important part of schizophrenia treatment is therapy and medication support. We have a mental health care team of licensed and associate-level therapists and care counselors who can support your progress toward wellness from the comfort of your home. Our virtual services offer convenient and flexible scheduling for chat-based and real-time video care.
Your care plan is unique to you and your needs. At Mindfuli, we will support you with a variety of evidence-based services, including:
- Motivational interviewing
- Mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP)
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Assertive community treatment (ACT)
- Virtual groups
To learn more about why Mindfuli works, visit our Home page.
If you feel like you are experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, seeking support is the first step toward maintaining your long-term mental well-being. Schizophrenia can make it difficult to do normal tasks and maintain relationships with your family and friends. Seeking treatment for schizophrenia and any co-occurring conditions is the best way to manage and treat your symptoms.
There are concrete methods of care that can support healing and help you build a life of long-term wellness. The therapies and services we offer can help build a mental health foundation to prevent relapses in psychosis and support you in living a full and rewarding life.
To learn more about how Mindfuli works, visit our FAQ page.