Schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, although its symptoms can be more disabling. It causes people to lose touch with reality and sometimes makes it difficult for them to think and speak in an organized manner. This loss of touch with reality is termed as psychosis. Psychosis is a part of schizophrenia, but may also be seen as an altogether different mental illness. It isn’t known exactly what causes schizophrenia, but it’s likely a combination of factors of - the way your body works, your family history, your environment, and your daily life experiences. Schizophrenia is very different from dissociative disorder, which is commonly known as split or multiple personality disorder.
Hearing voices other people say they can’t hear; seeing things that other people say they can’t see. Thoughts may take a long time to form, or come too fast together, or not form at all. There may be a feeling that “I’m being followed”; also feeling immunity to any kind of danger; as well as a belief that “I can save the world”.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it’s important to talk to your doctor. People who experience schizophrenia often experience symptoms of anxiety and depression, too.
Its negative symptoms include loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, loss of emotion, or loss of concentration. Other symptoms include llucinations, delusions, or strange beliefs and thoughts.
Mental health doctors used to divide schizophrenia into different subtypes. Now, experts talk about schizophrenia as a spectrum disorder.
People with paranoid delusions are unreasonably suspicious of others. This can make it hard for them to hold a job, run errands, have friendships, and even go to the doctor.
Someone with schizoaffective disorder has schizophrenia plus either major depression or bipolar disorder.
Schizophreniform disorder is a type of schizophrenia that lasts for less than 6 months.
Schizophrenia is treatable. While there is no cure, managing life with schizophrenia can be learnt.An important part of recovery is seeking help early. Many people are scared to tell others about their experiences because they worry about what others will think or do. However, early treatment can help you recover faster.
Counseling can be considered a very important part of treatment for schizophrenia. A counselor can help you learn new skills, cope with challenges you experience, and provide support on your path to recovery. A type of talk therapy called cognitive-behavioral therapy can also provide help with symptoms like confused thinking. A type called metacognitive training (MCT) teaches you about thought patterns involved in schizophrenia. Most people with schizophrenia can also be treated with medication, like antipsychotics. It may have fewer side effects than older types, but the important part is that only a counselor can help you plan a strategy that works best for you. Counseling is not only important for person suffering from schizophrenia but also their families and loved ones, because it can help them learn more about schizophrenia, what to expect and contribute by supporting someone.
The last option would be hospitalization. In case someone is extremely ill with schizophrenia, you may need to go the hospital. Once you are out of the hospital, regular check-ups with your doctor are advisable.
Counsellors for Schizophrenia
NEWLY JOINED THERAPTIST
Counselling Psychotherapist -Narrative Therapy
Anupa Mehta is a Narrative Therapist and an international member of the Australian Counselling Association.