Advertisement
Thanks Thanks:  0
Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 4 of 4
  1. Dealing with the possibility of developing schizophrenia.

    Let me begin by giving an overview of my situation.

    When I was very young, my mother was diagnosed as being a paranoid schizophrenic with delusional tendencies. Although I was very young and have no memories of any out-of-the-ordinary behaviors on her part, this may also be attributed to the fact that I was removed from her custody shortly after said diagnosis.

    As a youth I never quite fit in with others in my age group. I had few friends, and preferred to spend most of my time at home, preferably watching television, playing videogames, or using the internet. I always did well in school, but had trouble focusing. At one point I was diagnosed as having ADHD, and I spent several years on Ritalin. I had little to no contact with my biological mother for most of my juvenile life, and therefore was satisfied with a very cursory explanation of what was wrong with her.

    Now, I am nearly 20 years old, and I find myself with many difficult questions that I am unable to find answers for. I can only hope to receive some help here.

    Over the last few years, I have become worried about my mental health. Although there have never been any outward signs of illness, I often worry about developing schizophrenia. I am told that schizophrenia often develops late in life, and there will be no way of knowing whether I posess it until symptoms develop. Being an adult now, I am able to speak to my mother, and see her if I so choose. I have seen her several times over the last few years, but in truth it bothers me deeply. When I am with her, I am often plagued by the thought that she is the embodiment of my deepest fear. Although she is outwardly normal, [albeit quirky] she does occasionally write me letters, and it's in these that her illness shows through.

    Furthermore, another member of my family seems to have developed schizophrenia as well. My uncle unfortunately chose to abuse drugs earlier in his life, and although I am unclear on the exact details, he seemed to develop mental illness very very quickly. It seemed at the time as if one week we were discussing things that an uncle and nephew may discuss, and the next he was practically an invalid that whispers to himself constantly. He seems to posess none of his former intelligence, and his life may be described as simply existing. Although I realize that he instigated his condition by using drugs, the prospect of becoming like this terrifies me. Incidentally, he is like this -after- taking his myriad antipsychotic medications. I can't imagine what he'd be like if he did not take them.

    On to the point. How can I deal with not knowing whether I will become mentally ill later in life? Are schizophrenic people capable of holding down jobs and living "normal" lives with the help of medications? I would really appreciate some input on ways I can handle this, as the worry of [to be blunt] going insane has begun to interfere with my day to day life.

    Regards,
    J

  2. #2

    Dealing with the possibility of developing schizophrenia.

    Several questions here, Jason.

    First, while it is true that one mat develop schizophrenia later in life, in fact it is much more common that the individual will experience the first psychotic episode somewhere between about 18 and 22-25. Moreover, there is always evidence of deterioration in functioning before the individual reaches that point, although it is not always recognized as emerging schizophrenia until after the fact.

    Second, although statistically the chances of developing schizophrenia are increased if you have a near relative who has done so, iot's far from a one-to-one relationship; indeed, the majority of family members willin most cases NOT develop schizophrenia. There is statistically also an increased risk of developing a mood disorder or anxiety disorder.

    Third, if your uncle developed a psychoytic illness after drug abuse, it may have been schizophrenia or it may have been a psychotic disorder secondary to brain damage caused by drug abuse. If so, the fact that he is ill may have no bearing on the likelihood of you developing a mental illness yourself.

    Fourth, you ask if it is possible for someone who suffers from schizophrenia to live a "normal" productive life and to hold down a job, etc., and the answer to that is definitely yes, providing the individual understands that s/he will need to take medication for a good part if not all of his or her life. I have had clients in that situation. Another famous example is Bill McPhee, the founder of Schizophrenia Digest, who himself suffers from schizophrenia and tours North America promoting awareness of the illness.

  3. Dealing with the possibility of developing schizophrenia.

    Quote Originally Posted by David Baxter
    First, while it is true that one mat develop schizophrenia later in life, in fact it is much more common that the individual will experience the first psychotic episode somewhere between about 18 and 22-25. Moreover, there is always evidence of deterioration in functioning before the individual reaches that point, although it is not always recognized as emerging schizophrenia until after the fact.
    Thank your for your prompt and informative reply. I am very pleased to hear about Bill McPhee. Knowing that people who suffer from this illness can still be successful is quite a relief. My mother lives off of money she receives for her disability and I had always interpreted her case as being representative of the majority of people who suffer with schizophrenia.

    As for the portion of your reply that I have quoted above, I have a few questions. What are some of the characteristics of a psychotic episode? Furthermore, what are some of the symptoms of the deterioration which precludes the onset of schizophrenia? I hope these questions are not overly generalized.

    Again, thank you for your input.

    Regards,
    J

  4. #4

    Dealing with the possibility of developing schizophrenia.

    I'm not sure I can do justice to your questions in a few short suggestions and I'll admit I'm pretty much done in tonight (it's late and I'm sleepy).

    I think some of your questions are already answered either in other threads here on this forum or at http://www.psychlinks.ca/pages/schizophrenia.htm (note the recommended books on that page).

    The deterioration is, generally speaking, progressive disorganization of behavior, social withdrawal, personal confusion and neglect including neglect of hygiene, etc. Exact symptoms of a psychotic episode vary but may include confused and disjointed thinking, high anxiety, delusional thinking (especially delusions of persecution or grandiose thinking), auditory or visual hallucinations, etc.

Similar Threads

  1. Insight into Self-Concept
    By David Baxter in forum Resources
    Replies: 7
    Last Post: October 13th, 2010, 11:28 AM
  2. Developing hypothyroidism?
    By badger73 in forum Hormones and Mental Health
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: June 12th, 2005, 07:03 AM
  3. The possibility of relapse, and justification.
    By Gayalondiel in forum Self-Injury
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: January 19th, 2005, 10:54 AM
  4. Your toddler's developing personality
    By David Baxter in forum Pregnancy, Infertility, Newborns, Toddlers
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: July 23rd, 2004, 11:21 AM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •