Schizophrenia is a very misunderstood condition. It is not a split personality condition. It is a psychotic disorder, rather than a mood disorder, which means that there is a loss of contact with reality. It is caused by a different type of chemical imbalance than a mood disorder. Schizophrenia is a thought disorder where one loses the ability to tell what is real and what is imaginary. This disorder is a chemical imbalance in the orientation part of the brain but it can also affect the mood control center to cause mood symptoms as well.
Schizophrenia (or any psychotic breakdown) can be identified by the following behaviors:
- You feel either emotionally flat and withdrawn, or very excited and grandiose, and possibly hostile.
- You have poor verbal communication and your thoughts are disorganized and unconnected.
- You are suffering from delusional thinking. You believe things that are outside the realm of reality to be real (or true) despite a lack of evidence (often religiously related).
- You see or hear things that others can not.
- You feel like you are being watched or followed by individuals or organizations.
During the psychotic episode you loose touch with reality and are unable to perform your normal life functions. People with psychotic disorders are in need of immediate medical attention.
Psychotic illnesses have many complex symptoms that require professional evaluation in addition to these listed.
Schizophrenia usually begins in young adults like the other mood disorders. It affects two percent of the population, which makes it more common and far more disabling than diabetes. Like the mood disorders, it tends to be a recurring condition.
Schizophrenics often feel that they are being watched, followed or persecuted. They may hear voices and see things that no one else can. They often have peculiar beliefs that have no basis in reality. Schizophrenia is a more difficult condition to treat than the mood disorders, and the medications, called antipsychotics, tend to have more side effects. Antidepressants and mood stabilizers can also be used in schizophrenia if there are many depressive thoughts or wide mood swings along with the psychosis.
There are very helpful support groups for patients and families to encourage and inform those who suffer with this condition.
What do I do next?
If you see yourself in the symptoms above then you need to print this list out, underline all your symptoms and take it to your doctor and then your counsellor. It will give them both a summary of what you are experiencing so they can create a treatment plan.
We have lots of resources right here to help you understand depression, anxiety and mood swings. These resources will also help you understand the conditions so you can help a loved one.
Personal coaching appointments are available to get you started in the right direction.
Emotionally Free - The first third of the book explains the nature and treatment of mood disorders from a Christian perspective and includes the symptom checklists for self assessment. The rest of the book explains problems with our personality and spirit.
Have a look at these DVDs/CDs/direct downloads – watch 5 minute previews online
Depression, The Path to Recovery As 2 disc of 10 TV interviews with Dr. Mullen where he explains a Christian understanding of depression, anxiety and mood swings. Our most popular DVD.
Moods, what Christians should know about depression, anxiety and mood swings Christians are often very confused and misinformed about the nature and treatment of mental illnesses. They are also very suspicious of psychiatric treatments, so many are suffering needlessly from correctable conditions. This presentation will remove the mystery and confusion about the diagnosis and treatment of depression, anxiety and mood swings.
Fear, When Trust is Lost You will get the tools to overcome and take control of the worries and fears that disrupt your life.
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- Is it Normal for the Elderly to be Depressed?
- What is Anxiety Disorder and OCD?
- What is the ultimate cure for worry?
- What is bipolar disorder?
- You Mean I can’t Drink Coffee?
- What are the Christmas blues?
Mood disorder self tests
Mood Swings, Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
These tests are for informational purposes only.
For a complete diagnosis, explanation, and treatment make an appointment to see your family doctor. Please read our disclaimer.
These checklists are adapted from:
The American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.
Washington, D.C. American Psychiatric Association, 1994