Schizophrenia and Depression

  • National Depression Screening Day Alert:


    Thursday, October 6, 2011 is National Depression Screening Day.


    At the end of this SharePost I will link to a site where you can find a local agency offering a depression screening tomorrow or take a free, anonymous screening online.


    Some statistics:


    Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15-24.

     

    Divorced, separated or widowed individuals have a suicide rate of 4 to 5 times higher than married individuals.


    About bipolar:


    Up to 90 percent of bipolar disorders start before age 20, although the illness can start in early childhood or as late as the 40's and 50's. An equal number of men and women develop bipolar illness and it is found in all ages, races, ethnic groups and social classes.

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    Bipolar disorder is more likely to affect the children of parents who have the disorder. When one parent has bipolar disorder, the risk to each child is 15 to 30 percent. when both parents have bipolar disorder, the risk increases to 50 to 75 percent. (National Institute of Mental Health.)


    About depression:


    Women 18 to 45 years of age account for the largest proportion of people suffering from depression. In one major study, 100 percent of women who had experienced severe childhood sexual abuse developed depression later in life.


    There is a three-fold increase in risk of depression during or following a pregnancy among women with a history of mood disorders. Once a woman has experienced a postpartum depression, her risk of having another reaches 70 percent.


    Critics of depression screening suggest these tests are too quick to confirm depression based on a few simple questions. You can read about the symptoms of depression and get detailed information via the link to our sister Web site below: MyDepressionConnection.com.


    It is not known whether depression is less common among men, or if men are just less likely to recognize and acknowledge the symptoms than women.


    Among individuals with schizophrenia: they often have a co-occurring mood state of depression that requires they take an anti-depressant along with their SZ meds. Depression has lately become a secondary diagnosis in a large number of people diagnosed with schizophrenia.


    In the summer of 2003, when I first began to see my new psychiatrist, he raised the Stelazine from 5 mg to 10 mg. Miraculously, my SAD-or Seasonal Affective Disorder-was stopped cold. For the 10 years prior to this dose increase, I would start to be in tears every night starting in the late fall for hours at a time. Like clockwork, on the first day of spring, I would no longer be in tears.

     

    I link below to an article on Omega-3 fish oil and its use to combat depression and the symptoms of bipolar. I do remember that at one point in my history of seeing my primary care doctor she told me to take Omega-3 fish oil. I took it for my heart and don't remember if I started taking it at the same time my psychiatrist raised the Stelazine.


    This is all intriguing to me and I wish I could find out the root cause of why I stopped having SAD in 2003.


  • Nearly everyone I know who has schizophrenia also takes an anti-depressant to elevate their mood so I have no doubt the two are somehow linked. I'm actually the exception to this rule because I take one lonely little atypical and that's it.

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    What's troubling about this double-whammy is that people with schizophrenia could also have negative symptoms like a lack of motivation or desire to do things or a flat affect or they lack the ability to follow-through on goals or plans.


    Coupled with the depression, you can see how this can be a challenging illness to cope with everyday-and especially in winter when there's a lack of sunlight in high latitudes like Alaska or the Northeast.


    I've taken 1000 mg tablets, two at night, of Omega-3 fish oil for so long that I truly don't remember when I started taking it. You can get this supplement in a form that is purified to eliminate mercury.


    Eating salmon and walnuts and scallops and other foods high in Omega-3 fish oil will also help though it might not be enough on its own. I eat salmon once a week and scallops once a week too. I might bump the salmon up to twice a week because I read recently it doesn't contain as dangerous an amount of mercury as other fish and actually contains lower levels.


    I'm a big fan of healthful eating-and of exercising or engaging in physical activity as often as possible. With so much that is out of my control, I'm a big fan of focusing on what is under my control. I realize I'm lucky I can afford a mostly fish and seafood meal plan.


    I do not take lightly the idea that individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia often have co-occurring depression. Though I don't know the statistics, I know that for one person with this diagnosis to experience depression at the same time it must be doubly hard.


    So I urge you to be honest with your psychiatrist about how you're feeling because schizophrenia does have a mood component. Like I said, the atypical I'm on does the trick and balances out my mood on its own.


    Seek help if you feel you might need it because there's nothing to be ashamed of.


    Links:

     

    Depression Screenings

     

    Depression Symptoms

     

    Omega-3 Fish Oil for Depression and Bipolar

     

    MyDepressionConnection: Mental Illness Awareness Week

     

    BipolarConnect: Mental Illness Awareness Week

     

    AnxietyConnection: Mindfulness and Anxiety

Published On: October 05, 2011