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Kevin Q

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I just learned that I may have schizophrenia (I completed my mental eval. today). This simply isn't a possibility. I've read about this "illness" and it seems that the mental health profession is only speculating based on the very limited data that they receive. There's a ridiculous amount of guesswork... All this just to put me on a prescription that isn't fully understood. Meaning, they really don't know how it works, they only know that it does help some people. It seems to dull a person, I know this, because I've tried anti-psychotics in the past and they don't work for me. They mask the problem by cutting my awareness level in half... And this was the byproduct of a low dose!

From what I've read and from talking with various doctors, I still have many unanswered questions - some of these are:

1. What the heck is schizophrenia exact?
2. How does it work?
3. Why do some people get better without drugs while others get worse with drugs and vice versa?
4. How is it diagnosed?

I want to get a brain scan, but they wouldn't agree to it... Can you believe that!

Anybody have this? I desperately need the insight...Please.
 

David Baxter

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Re: It must be a mistake!

I just learned that I may have schizophrenia (I completed my mental eval. today). This simply isn't a possibility. I've read about this "illness" and it seems that the mental health profession is only speculating based on the very limited data that they receive. There's a ridiculous amount of guesswork...

No, it really isn't just guesswork, Kevin, provided the diagnosis is made by someone who sknows what s/he's doing. There are some specific symptoms of schizophrenia (especially certain types of cognitive slippage and thought disorder) that simply aren't found in most other disorders.

Who diagnosed you? What were the practitioner's qualifications?

All this just to put me on a prescription that isn't fully understood. Meaning, they really don't know how it works, they only know that it does help some people.

That is only partially true. We are learning more and more why these medications work everyday, which means less and less mystery about how they function. Current research is at the genetic level, looking at chromosome-symptom-medication interactions.

It seems to dull a person, I know this, because I've tried anti-psychotics in the past and they don't work for me.

What medications did you try previously?

They mask the problem by cutting my awareness level in half... And this was the byproduct of a low dose!

No, that's not an accurate description of what they do or how they work. As with bipolar disorder, though, some people feel the medication "dulls" them and takes away their creativity and drive, although from the standpoint of a third party that psychosis- or mania-driven creativity and drive is usually very disjointed and unrealistic.

From what I've read and from talking with various doctors, I still have many unanswered questions - some of these are:

1. What the heck is schizophrenia exact?
2. How does it work?
3. Why do some people get better without drugs while others get worse with drugs and vice versa?
4. How is it diagnosed?

Most of your answers can be found in various threads at Schizophrenia Related Disorders - Psychlinks Psychology and Self-Help Forum and Prescription Medications OTC Drugs - Psychlinks Psychology and Self-Help Forum

I want to get a brain scan, but they wouldn't agree to it... Can you believe that!

Yes. A brain scan really wouldn't help you or the diagnopstic process or your treatment, since we really do not yet know the meaning of brain abnormalities that are sometimes seen in schizophrenia and other mental disorders or how they relate to symptoms and treatment. For example, some research shows underdeveloped brain areas or more or less white matter to gray matter ratios, but even if we determine how this might be related specifically to manifestations of schizophrenia or other mental illnesses, it doesn't get us any farther ahead at this point. Just to speculate for a moment, suppose they did a CT scan or something similar and found a low ratio of white matter, or too few dopamine cells in a specific brain area, what could your cotors do about it? Aside fcrom nthe fact that it could be an effect rather than a cause of the illness, we aren't yet at a point where a surgeon can go in and correct that problem.

To reiterate a previous point, though, we do know that psychiatric medications work in part because they stimulate the growth of new brain cells associated with specific neurotransmitters such as serotnin and dopamine and/or in specific brain cells. So even if we knew more about the relationship between the neurophysiological signs and specific symptoms, the treatment of choice would still be the same: medication.

As for side effects, the newer so-called "atypical antipsychotics" are a lot better than the older style ones in this regard. With a bit of trial and error, you should be able to find one that works for you without intolerable side-effects.
 

HA

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Hey Kevin,

:welcome2: to psychlinks!

It must be very hard for you to deal with this possible diagnosis. You are not alone though. One in one hundred people develop schizophrenia in all countries of the world.

There is a great deal of hope with this illness now-a-days and with continued research we get closer to a cure.

The way this illness is treated in the early stages can have a big impact on your recovery and how well you continue to be.

See these links to read more:

Early Intervention - Psychlinks Psychology and Self-Help Forum

Early Psychosis Treatment, Schizophrenia Prevention - Video - Psychlinks Psychology and Self-Help Forum

:grouphug:
 

Kevin Q

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Hey guyz, thanks for responding. However, I'm still unsatisfied, because I guess I'm looking for a miracle, something or someone that would tell me to do this and that and tell me that I'd be cured. Or that mental illness is fake (a conspiracy of sorts)... With proof of course. I guess that in itself is part of the delusion, though I still keep it alive by telling myself that no-one knows what schizophrenia really is. I mean, it's not like diabetes or cancer where the symptoms are physical and no one can disprove or make a mistake in the diagnosis -- Does that make sense? (I'm sorta hoping against the reality of it... Hey, I'm certified!lol...)

David,
There are some specific symptoms of schizophrenia (especially certain types of cognitive slippage and thought disorder) that simply aren't found in most other disorders.

Actually yeah, I've noticed that my cognition has been declining over the past 3yrs or so (I'm 21yo) and I also dropout of school for the first time at around that time, And shortly after I stopped socializing and started drinking a lot of alc. and coffee and smoking quite a bit. At first, it really seemed to help me, but then everything went the other way. It's really sad the way everything turned out. It's extraordinary how dumb I can get.

Define: cognitive slippage and thought disorder as thoroughly as you possibly can please. I read about it, but I still don't understand it in a meaningful way.

Who diagnosed you? What were the practitioner's qualifications?

My family doctor put me on 2mg Risperdal, after I dropped out of school for the 6th time. The doctor also made an appointment at the local hosp. for a mental eval. I first saw the psychologist and then both the psychologist and the psychiatrist (yesterday). According to the way I presented myself and my family's history (my dad's got something ...?) they concluded with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. I could have cried. From what I've seem and read I just can't believe it's schizophrenia. I know it makes sense, but it's not sinking in. I just thought that I got dulled down from the lack of mental stimulation (no studying, drinking, zero socializing ...Heh, I told the doctor to make me another appointment and that I would prepare my brain beforehand by: eating healthy, exercising and studying... That a$$hole said it wouldn't help.) Btw - please pardon the negativity, the psychiatrist was "very" unpleasant... Some technique? Or maybe a bad day?

from the standpoint of a third party that psychosis- or mania-driven creativity and drive is usually very disjointed and unrealistic.

What do you mean?

Yes. A brain scan really wouldn't help you or the diagnopstic process or your treatment, since we really do not yet know the meaning of brain abnormalities that are sometimes seen in schizophrenia and other mental disorders or how they relate to symptoms and treatment.

Hold that thought, I've got something that really scares me...

http://www.schizophrenia.com/schizpictures.html

To reiterate a previous point, though, we do know that psychiatric medications work in part because they stimulate the growth of new brain cells associated with specific neurotransmitters such as serotnin and dopamine and/or in specific brain cells.

That's really interesting, which meds? So, is it possible to repare the brain damage caused by this disease?

As for side effects, the newer so-called "atypical antipsychotics" are a lot better than the older style ones in this regard. With a bit of trial and error, you should be able to find one that works for you without intolerable side-effects

I was sleeping for 20hrs on Risperdal, my mouth was constantly dry and my body was retain ing the water... I felt weird, also depressed.

HeartArt, do you have this illness? How are you?
 

David Baxter

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Hey guyz, thanks for responding. However, I'm still unsatisfied, because I guess I'm looking for a miracle, something or someone that would tell me to do this and that and tell me that I'd be cured. Or that mental illness is fake (a conspiracy of sorts)... With proof of course. I guess that in itself is part of the delusion, though I still keep it alive by telling myself that no-one knows what schizophrenia really is. I mean, it's not like diabetes or cancer where the symptoms are physical and no one can disprove or make a mistake in the diagnosis -- Does that make sense? (I'm sorta hoping against the reality of it... Hey, I'm certified!lol...)

It doesn't sound like it's a mistake and regrettably there is no "cure'' but that doesn't mean you can't manage the symptoms successfully and improve your quality of life considerably.

Actually yeah, I've noticed that my cognition has been declining over the past 3yrs or so (I'm 21yo) and I also dropout of school for the first time at around that time, And shortly after I stopped socializing and started drinking a lot of alc. and coffee and smoking quite a bit. At first, it really seemed to help me, but then everything went the other way. It's really sad the way everything turned out. It's extraordinary how dumb I can get.

No, not dumb. All of these are classic symptoms of emerging schizophrenia.

Define: cognitive slippage and thought disorder as thoroughly as you possibly can please. I read about it, but I still don't understand it in a meaningful way.

These vary from one person to another but generally they represent looseness of logic or rational thinking, interjections of unrelated or only lossley related concepts or phrases or ideas, jumping from one thought to another without any apparent rational connection, and/or a certain "magical thinking" quality.

My family doctor put me on 2mg Risperdal, after I dropped out of school for the 6th time. The doctor also made an appointment at the local hosp. for a mental eval. I first saw the psychologist and then both the psychologist and the psychiatrist (yesterday). According to the way I presented myself and my family's history (my dad's got something ...?) they concluded with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. I could have cried. From what I've seem and read I just can't believe it's schizophrenia. I know it makes sense, but it's not sinking in. I just thought that I got dulled down from the lack of mental stimulation (no studying, drinking, zero socializing ...Heh, I told the doctor to make me another appointment and that I would prepare my brain beforehand by: eating healthy, exercising and studying... That a$$hole said it wouldn't help.) Btw - please pardon the negativity, the psychiatrist was "very" unpleasant... Some technique? Or maybe a bad day?

I can't speak to the behavior of your psychiatrist but he's right - it wouldn't have helped.

That's really interesting, which meds? So, is it possible to repare the brain damage caused by this disease?

Good question. The answer is probably no, or not entirely. But it can help.

I was sleeping for 20hrs on Risperdal, my mouth was constantly dry and my body was retain ing the water... I felt weird, also depressed.

How long were you on this medication? That's not uncommon in the beginning but for some people those side effects will go away in time. If not, there are other alternatives. With most psychotropic medications, sometimes a bit of trial and error is required to find the right one for you. And sometimes, individuals with schizophrenia end up on a mixture of 2 or 3 medications, each of which helps with different aspects of the symptoms without getting the dose so high that side-effects become a real problem.

HeartArt, do you have this illness?

No. Her son does.
 

Kevin Q

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David,
It doesn't sound like it's a mistake and regrettably there is no "cure'' but that doesn't mean you can't manage the symptoms successfully and improve your quality of life considerably.

I've read about people that learned to manage it to the point of being considered cured and this was rarely (but still!) accomplished without drugs, or with the disuse of those drugs. I'm sure you heard of John Nash. I've also read about him and what he had to say about this illness. It drove me to almost being certain that this disease isn't what it appears to be, which is somewhat of a cancer of the brain. I like to think that a the mental ill were born with more advanced brains, but weren't equipped with the proper copping mechanisms and that's what lead to all these major problems, including lose of IQ etc. I've always been recognized as bright and I was definitely above average in school... That is, until I started to have major social problems.

classic symptoms of emerging schizophrenia.

Many people have had all those classic symptoms and still turned out to not be a real schizophrenic.

looseness of logic or rational thinking, interjections of unrelated or only lossley related concepts or phrases or ideas, jumping from one thought to another without any apparent rational connection, and/or a certain "magical thinking" quality.

Guilty as charged. But there's so much more to it, such as: over-thinking and the handicap of language when it comes to really delving deep into a problem in a short timespan, nervousness... etc, etc, etc. The mental health professionals didn't even what to hear my explanations. True knowledge seems to be scarce... Whatever that means.

There's too much for me to deal with when it comes to collecting my thoughts and making someone understand as close to what I mean as possible. A persons presentation isn't enough. I'm sure if I was better educated, I'd be able to communicate the same kind of thoughts in a very eloquent fashion.

I can't speak to the behavior of your psychiatrist but he's right - it wouldn't have helped.

Maybe not in diagnosing a mental illness, but what about a tumor or whatever else (I once thought I have MS). It would at least help me.

How long were you on this medication?

Four days.

Btw, I'm sure if I took poison my body would get used to it, also. I've heard of brain damage cause dby these psychotropic drugs.

David, have you been diagnosed with something/misdiagnosed?

I need something concrete to believe in. I know it's very complicated, but everything when truly understand can be explained in simple terms. If this isn't possible, then there's a chance this illness isn't what it appears to be. Furthermore, there's tons of evidence that disproves all this and I'm hanging on to it. I don't want to have my spirit broken even further and I definitely don't want to put more potentially harmful substances into my body. I'm sure you understand how I feel and why and I hope you keep responding. Thank you.
 

David Baxter

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What can I say, David? I'm afraid you ARE in denial and there's not a lot I can do about that. A few comments on your last post:

1. John Nash was a genius, not just an intelligent person or of above average intelligence. And even he himself does not consider himself "cured". He still has hallucinations - he has simply become a lot better at reality checking those hallucinations with the help of other people ("Do you see that too?"). I would also point out that the medications he was taking that he found difficult to tolerate were the older style antipsychotics. New antipsychotics are not entirely without side-effects but they are a whole lot easier to tolerate than the ones Nash was taking.

2. Four days is not nearly long enough to adapt to a medication like Risperidol. It's very possible that had you allowed more time, you would have seen the initial adaptation effects subside. And, as I said earlier, if not, you have other choices.

You actually already have something concrete. You describe symptoms and a history that are pretty much classic signs of schizophrenia. The problem is that's not the answer you want to hear. I can certainly understand why but it does alter the facts.

Do some research into William (Bill) MacPhee, the founder of Schizophrenia Digest. He is an example of a man who has accepted his diagnosis and is compliant with his medications and has gone on to start and operate a successful business as a magazine publisher and a public speaker and advocate for schizophrenia.
 

Kevin Q

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I'm afraid you ARE in denial and there's not a lot I can do about that.

I understand, thanks for your time - it has helped. Nevertheless, I've got a long road ahead of me...
 

Daniel

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Kevin Q said:
... I've got something that really scares me...

http://www.schizophrenia.com/schizpictures.html

BTW, the imaging at the very bottom of that page doesn't seem too helpful since it is of a very rare form of schizophrenia:

Note: This study was of Childhood onset schizophrenia (defined as schizophrenia diagnosed in children under the age of 13 or so) which occurs in approximately 1 of every 40,000 people and is frequently a significantly more aggressive form of schizophrenia (than regular schizophrenia that typically begins when people are aged 15 to 25 (slightly later for women) - and impacts approximatley 1 of every 100 people).

On the other hand, it's a great motivator to take medication. A similar point mentioned in a 10-year-old article is that it would be unethical to give people with schizophrenia placebo pills during a drug trial:

The rescue role is evident in the effects that the long-term administration of antidepressants and antipsychotics are having on disease progression. For example, the ability of antipsychotics to prevent future psychotic breaks appears to arrest the downhill course of schizophrenia. Sufficiently clear evidence in this area has generated debate on whether conducting placebo-controlled trials in schizophrenia is ethical. That is, those on placebo risk a relapse and possibly incremental brain destruction.

Mental Illness May Be Damaging to Your Brain/Brainstorms July 1997
 
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Kevin Q

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Thanks.

I may very well be delusional, hallucinating, hearing voices, smells, tastes etc. I can't help but notice that my brain is dying. The greater the improvement the worse it seems to get. It makes me very depressed. I can't help but think that life isn't worth living and that it would be better for everyone (including myself) if I died. So, what do I have to lose - I think I should start taking those pills.

It's just all my symptoms are explainable in many ways. Life is crap.

I've wasted so many years. I've got nothing. I'm always going to fall behind. Put yourself in my shoes and tell me - what's the point? How can it possibly get better, when I know and will always know that it's one big delusion. I don't care if it does get better, it will never be enough. I'm not normal. End of story.

Thanks for wasting your time. I'm sorry, but that's how I see it.
 
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kevin, your reaction is understandable, and i can't say that i wouldn't react the same way if i were in your shoes.

however - there are people out there who are diagnosed as well and they learn to manage their symptoms and manage to have quality of life. it's not going to be easy but it can be done.

you will probably be going through a grieving process as well that your life isn't going to be what it should be: normal and without schizophrenia to deal with.

i think the big thing is to get a support system in place and surround yourself with people who care.

even if you do suffer from schizophrenia it doesn't mean the people who love you won't love you anymore. you are still a human being and you are still loved.

i am truly sorry for what you must be going through right now. hang in there, and know that we are here to talk to any time.
 

David Baxter

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Kevin, your life is far from hopeless. Many people with schizophrenia are able to live rewarding and productive lives - provided that they can accept the fact that they have the illness and that they accept the fact that this means it will be necessary for them to remain on medication for many years, sometimes for their lifetime. I have personally known some who have done this - and there are also some stories on the internet.

Start by reading about Bill McPhee:

Exploring Hope in Individuals with Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Society of Ontario Sends a Message of Hope - Psychlinks Psychology and Self-Help Forum

BCSS Introduction

http://www.schizophrenia.com/New/Dec2002/szdigestDec02.htm

http://www.schizophrenia.com/New/schizup.dec.12b.htm

Resource Sheet - Coping With Mental Illness

WOUB Interactive - Conversations From Studio B

http://www.chovil.com/recovery.html

Schizophrenia - October Revisited

CPA - Awards_MIAW_specialrecog_historical

http://www.mss.mb.ca/pdf/booklet.pdf :acrobat:

http://www.mhagb.ca/files/resources/Pivot_Sept2004.pdf :acrobat:
 

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Kevin Q

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I'll take a look at those, thank you.

This whole thing is extremely complicated. You see, I don't know whether the "delusions" which I experience are actual delusions or reality. Or is it the questioning which is the problem? (Is it my awareness of reality that makes me seem ill to a psychiatrist?)~(Jesus, would then be labeled a schizophrenic in this day and age).
 

David Baxter

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There is typically no doubt to an objective observer that the delusions are delusional. Your inability to differentiate, or your uncertainty about what is real and what is not, is chracteristic of schizophrenia.

To paraphrase your words, it is your lack of awareness of reality, your uncertainty of which is which, that is part of what the psychiatrist was seeing that led to your diagnosis.
 

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