Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that can make it challenging for a person to think, feel, and behave clearly. It is often accompanied by delusions, hallucinations, and other mental challenges.
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem to have lost touch with reality. Although it is not as common as other mental disorders and varies among individuals, schizophrenia is typically persistent and can be both severe and disabling.
People who suffer from schizophrenia will require lifelong treatment. Early treatment may help to get symptoms under control before serious complications develop and may help improve the long-term outlook. At Valley, we understand schizophrenia and have experienced staff to treat this debilitating disorder.
Facts & Figures
Schizophrenia Averages & Statistics
What Are the Symptoms of Schizophrenia?
Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30. In rare cases, children have schizophrenia too. The symptoms fall into three categories as follows:
“Positive” symptoms are psychotic behaviors not generally seen in healthy people. People with positive symptoms may “lose touch” with some aspects of reality. The symptoms include te following: Hallucinations Delusions Thought disorders (e.g., disorganized thinking as evidenced by disorganized speech) Movement disorders (agitated body movements) Tangential speech (train of thought wanders, never returns to original topic) Flight of ideas (rapid flow of thought, accelerated ideas) Loose associations (ideas appear with loose or inapparent associations)
“Negative” symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. The symptoms include the following: Reduced facial expression or voice tone (also known as “flat affect”) Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities Reduced speaking
For some individuals, the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia are subtle. For others, they are more severe and they may notice changes in their memory or other aspects of thinking. The symptoms include the following: Poor “executive functioning” (the ability to plan and prioritize, manage time, and organize thoughts and materials) Trouble concentrating or paying attention Problems with “working memory” (the ability to use information immediately after learning it)
How is Valley Treating Schizophrenia?
Paying regular attention to your mental well-being is good and should be a very normal part of healthy living. At Valley, we know there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental health, which is why we take the time to care for each client individually and consider their broader story. Every client that walks through our doors is assessed holistically and cared for in a comprehensive way within a solution-focussed approach.
We offer a wide variety of counseling and counseling environments for a wide variety of clients:
Our individual counseling focuses in on each client and their unique story in order to discover the solutions that are right for them. After pairing our clients with the ideal therapist, we take the time to press into the cognitive, behavioral, and motivational aspects of our client’s recovery while also considering dual-diagnosis.
At Valley, we offer FDA approved psychiatric medication as part of our comprehensive treatment plan. Each medication program is prescribed by a trained medical professional (e.g., psychiatrist, nurse practitioner) within a broad scope of long-term care.
While every client needs to be individually motivated to seek treatment, one of the largest factors in successful treatment is a solid support system. Our family and couples counseling partners with immediate family, primary caregivers, adopted families, and support systems to get everyone on the same page in caring for their loved ones.
Complementary & Alternative Treatments
Integrating Alternative Medicine and Activity
Incorporating complementary or alternative medicine is often referred to as an integrated approach and works best when used alongside professional treatment. Don’t replace conventional medical treatment or psychotherapy with alternative medicine.
With that said, here are some things proven to be helpful when dealing with Schizophrenia:
- B Vitamins: Recent studies support what some psychiatrists have believed for years, which is that B vitamins–found in foods including meat, eggs, and nuts–can ease schizophrenia symptoms. When people took supplements of these vitamins (including B6, pyridoxine; B9, folate; and B12) with their antipsychotic medication, they had fewer symptoms than people who only took medication. The shorter the time someone had symptoms, the more likely the vitamins were to help.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: People with schizophrenia may not have enough omega-3s in their bodies. Some say that omega-3 supplements such as fish oil help keep their symptoms at bay. In one study of people at risk of schizophrenia, those who took fish oil were less likely to progress to psychosis. Taking omega-3s, however, could give you mild nausea, diarrhea, and nosebleeds.
- Cannabidiol (CBD): One ingredient in the marijuana plant, cannabidiol, shows promise to in relieving psychotic symptoms. Small-scale trials suggest that CBD helps stop hallucinations and delusions in people with schizophrenia. In lab studies, the learning ability and working memories of animals improved when they were given CBD. Researchers don’t fully understand what CBD does to the brain to control symptoms and sharpen thought, but they suspect it could be the drug’s anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Amino Acids: For people with negative symptoms of schizophrenia, such as social isolation and slowed speech, high doses of the amino acid glycine (which you can buy as a supplement) may make a big difference. In one study, treatment-resistant people had on average about one-third fewer negative symptoms, and their well-being was similarly improved.
- Antioxidants: When you have schizophrenia, the structure of your brain is liable to change over time. Chemicals from the environment can damage cells, in an effect known as oxidative stress. Some doctors recommend antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E and N-acetyl cysteine, because they help protect your body’s cells from this kind of damage.
Exercise is generally classified as aerobic (running or walking), resistance (weight training), or mindfulness-based (yoga or tai chi). Exercise is known to improve cognitive mechanisms due to a diversion from negative thinking, social contact, and feelings of control over one’s health. Consider walking, jogging, swimming, gardening or another activity within your scope of mobility that you enjoy.
Getting a healthy amount of sleep is important for both your physical and mental well-being. If you’re having trouble sleeping, talk to your doctor about what can be done.
One natural resource known to help with sleep is melatonin. Some have reported that the amount of sleep they get affects the severity of their schizophrenia symptoms. Melatonin, a hormone that controls sleep-wake cycles, may encourage quality shut-eye. It seems that people with schizophrenia have higher “sleep efficiency” when they take melatonin. Since melatonin also helps calm your body’s stress response, some researchers think it may relieve stress-related symptoms such as paranoid thoughts, too.
Videos & Podcasts
Knowledgeable Insights from Around the Web
A Biopolar, A Schizophrenic, and A Podcast
A Bipolar and a Schizophrenic Discuss Feelings of Loneliness
Great Resources on Schizophrenia
Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition: A Family Manual
By E. Fuller Torrey
The Day the Voices Stopped
By Ken Steele, Claire Berman
The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness
By Elyn R. Saks
I Am Not Sick, I Don't Need Help! How to Help Someone with Mental Illness Accept Treatment
By Xavier Amador
Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill
By Robert Whitaker
A Beautiful Mind
By Sylvia Nasar
Surviving Schizophrenia: A Memoir
By Louise Gillette
Research and Resources
Great Articles & Resources on Schizophrenia
It’s safe to say that no mental disorder is more shrouded in mystery, misunderstanding and fear than schizophrenia. “The modern-day equivalent of leprosy” is how renowned research psychiatrist E. Fuller Torrey, M.D., refers to schizophrenia in his excellent book, Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Patients, and Providers. While 85 percent of Americans recognize that schizophrenia is …
As a caregiver, you can promote self-care and help prevent symptoms of schizophrenia from getting worse. Being a caregiver of someone who has schizophrenia often requires extra understanding and effort. But your support can help your loved one decrease the effects of the condition and reduce the chances of a relapse. These strategies can help you promote …
Schizophrenia recovery is possible. These treatment and self-help tips can help you to manage symptoms, live and work independently, build satisfying relationships, and enjoy a rewarding life. Schizophrenia: New hope for recovery Getting a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be devastating. You may be struggling to think clearly, manage your emotions, relate to other people, or …