What is Schizophrenia?

9 Things You Should Know about Schizophrenia

The HealthCentral Editorial Team Apr 10th, 2012 (updated Aug 14th, 2015)
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Knowing when schizophrenia is considered in remission
Knowing when schizophrenia is considered in remission

The American Psychiatry Association (APA) says schizophrenia is considered in remission when there is an absence of certain symptoms or there are only minimal symptoms for six months. With symptoms under control at the six month mark you can consider yourself in remission.

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Repeated episodes increases susceptibility to schizophrenia
Repeated episodes increases susceptibility to schizophrenia

The "kindling effect", as it is sometimes known, is when a person's vulnerability to mood disorders increases over time. With each episode, susceptibility increases so that further episodes are set off by less significant stressors until eventually episodes occur spontaneously.

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Taking a break from schizophrenia medication impacts long-term functionality
Taking a break from schizophrenia medication impacts long-term functionality

People who only partially comply with their schizophrenia medication routine could suffer continuing loss of functionality. If you stop taking your medications then your functionality decreases and even if you go back on them your functionality will not increase to the level it was at before.

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Schizophrenia shows the symptoms of all mental illnesses
Schizophrenia shows the symptoms of all mental illnesses

Schizophrenia is hard to diagnose because the person exhibits symptoms of all mental illnesses at one point or another: depression, mania, anxiety, confusion, and some form of hallucinations or thought insertions. One study showed it typically takes 8.5 years to arrive at a diagnosis, which is a disservice to the person who is often left alone and without community support or effective treatment.

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Schizophrenia must be treated immediately
Schizophrenia must be treated immediately

In order to achieve the best possible recovery outcome after being diagnosed with schizophrenia, the proper medications must be administered right away. Delaying treatment for any disease is a bad thing.

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A person's belief system is an important aspect of schizophrenia
A person's belief system is an important aspect of schizophrenia

A lot of behaviors in schizophrenia are logical responses to a disturbed or distorted belief system. If you understand the belief system a person with schizophrenia has, you will see that they are thinking logically in reference to that system.

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Schizophrenia medications determine the potential level of functionality
Schizophrenia medications determine the potential level of functionality

A good medication for schizophrenia gives you the potential for good functionality and a normal life. Medication is an important precursor to therapy - if you find an effective medication, the therapy can be effective as well.

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Society cares about functionality, not your schizophrenia diagnosis
Society cares about functionality, not your schizophrenia diagnosis

People are only intererested in whether a person with schizophrenia is functional and can go to their job, on time, and do it well, not what their diagnosis is. This is important for people in recovery to understand: you don't have to have a completely clear mind to be functional.

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Keeping stress at a manageable level is vital for people with schizophrenia
Keeping stress at a manageable level is vital for people with schizophrenia

Controlling the amount of stress you experience is possible and necessary to achieve optimal mental health. No stress at all is almost impossible, but you need to be honest about the kinds of stress you can tolerate and use personal histories to measure your own comfort level. Things like yoga, meditation, art, music, writing and baking can help minimize stress.