SCHIZOPHRENIA & schizoaffective disorder – Mental Health therapist Kati Morton treatment & psychosis
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Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder are diagnoses that are often misunderstood. Today’s video will hopefully help you better understand their differences and similarities as well as what treatment options are available.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that is characterized by positive and/or negative symptoms that have lasted most days for at least 6 months.
Positive symptoms are things we add to our experience. Think hallucinations because we are seeing things and hearing things that are not there. These are thing our brain has “added” to our experience. These are also delusions because these are firmly held beliefs that we used to not have. Again, we are adding something to our experience.
Negative symptoms are when we are lacking something. For example, many of my schizophrenic clients had blunted affect, meaning they weren’t as expressive as they wanted to be, some may have slowed speech or movement. Is this clear? See we are taking away things they used to have, like affect (facial expressiveness) and movement or speech.
As for schizoaffective disorder, we must have schizophrenia like symptoms but also have a mood disorder. This is almost as if bipolar disorder and schizophrenia had a baby. We will have delusion and hallucinations but also have depression or mania. There are subtypes meaning that some people will only have depression or others will only experience dysthymia and mania without any deep depression. This is something that will have to be determined by your doctor, so that you can get the help that you need. Speaking of treatment, here are some options:
1. Medication. Medication can save your life and keep your hallucinations and delusions at bay. It can help you quiet the voices enough to work on other issues in our life and heal ourselves and our relationships.
2. Group therapy/PHP programs (partial hospitalization programs). This can help you realize you are not alone and help you hear other people’s stories and what has helped them.
3. Do reality testing. Check in with others who don’t struggle with schizophrenia to see if what you heard or saw was real or not. This can help us figure out if we are still hearing or seeing things and if our medication is helping us enough.
I hope you found this helpful! Please share! You never know who in your life may be struggling, and the more helpful information we get out there, the better! xox
Kati Morton, LMFT
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