The Ultimate Guide to Schizophrenia - Understanding it, Knowing it, and Realizing that You Don't Have It.
More times than not, I'm greeted with this familiar phrase trickling it's way into the site: "I fear that I have Schizophrenia," followed with a discussion of scared individuals trying to work their brains around the idea of Schizophrenia, the fear of getting it and the urge to try and WebMD themselves with Psychosis. After seeing this happen way too often, I am taking the time to write this Ultimate Guide. I will be adding to this, with sources, so if you would like something to be stated inside of here and would like a better explanation to something, please comment and I'll shed some light on whatever it is you would like. As the preface, I will outline some of the things that I will be talking about, though:
- Understanding Schizophrenia.
- Knowing the difference between Schizophrenia and Dissociation.
- Realizing that Dissociation can not lead into Schizophrenia.
- Symptom differences between the two.
- Frequently Asked Questions.
I will be posting this once in this blog and once in the forums so as to really raise awareness to this issue. I feel that people really need to understand what Schizophrenia or Psychosis is and I feel that people also need to realize that Schizophrenia is quite serious, but while serious, dissociation does not lead in Schizophrenia. I want people to understand that, just because you have this detachment from yourself or the world, does not mean that you have Schizophrenia or are slipping into Psychosis.
Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects the way a person acts, thinks, and sees the world. People with Schizophrenia have an altered perception of reality, often a significant loss of contact with reality. They may see or hear things that do not exist, speak in a strange or confusing way, believe that others are trying to harm them or feel like they are being constantly watched. Some of you may be thinking to yourself, "Oh my.. I think oddly, I sometimes have delusional thoughts, I must be Schizophrenic!" - no, not exactly.
In nearly 100% of cases, people who have Schizophrenia have no idea that they have it. First, because it's a disease that first attacks your ability to recognize that you have it - social cues are the first sign, and they are very dramatic. Some of what is affected is your ability to respond to your name or having no regard for other people's personal space and/or property. You see, there needs to be extreme cases of multiple symptoms for someone to have Schizophrenia or be developing such disorder. Let's move on to the causes, just to back up what I previously said.
The causes of Schizophrenia are prominently genetic, coupled with environmental factors. Schizophrenia has a strong hereditary component to which individuals with a first-degree relative (parents of sibling) who has Schizophrenia have a 10 percent chance of developing the disorder, as opposed to the one percent chance of the general population. The environmental factors are all based around extreme levels of stress, which someone can be more prone too if:
- They have prenatal exposure to a viral infection.
- They have low oxygen levels during birth (prolonged labor or premature birth.
- Exposed to a virus during infancy.
- Experienced loss of early parental loss or separation.
- Physical or sexual abuse in a childhood is prominent.
Even if you did have a family member with Schizophrenia and were involved in environmental factors, the percentage of you getting Schizophrenia is a near fraction of 1%. Especially if you are expressing your concern of getting it or already having it - like I said previously in this part of the guide, Schizophrenia first attacks your ability to recognize that you have it, then more dramatic symptoms become prominent in your life. Expressing concern and fear for getting Schizophrenia most likely means you don't have Schizophrenia.
Knowing the Difference Between Schizophrenia and Dissociation.
We've covered most of the things we needed to cover above to really understand Schizophrenia, how it works and how people get Schizophrenia, but let's take it one step further. Let's examine dissociation (Derealization and Depersonalization) and really back up the idea that you don't have Schizophrenia.
Depersonalization and Derealization are often interchangeable because they're so strikingly similar to each-other. Depersonalization is an anomaly of self-awareness. It consists of a feeling of being "robot-like", a "pair-of-eyes" or watching oneself act whilst having no control over the situation that oneself is inside of. Derealization, on the other hand, can experience the same thing, but is more inclined to believing that the external and immediate world around is dream-like, fake or sometimes even completely made up. People with dissociation have nearly the same symptoms - one way or another, things may not feel particularly real.
Dissociation, as the term used for grouping both disorders together, is often then confused with Schizophrenia due to their likenesses in symptoms:
- Feeling unreal.
- Hearing/Seeing things that aren't there.
- Lack of Emotional Expressions.
Schizophrenia and Dissociation do share some similar attributes, but there is one huge difference between the two: people with dissociation are aware. Schizophrenics experience a loss of reality, but create a new one entirely - they have no awareness that the world they have created is fake or made up in their mind, they simply believe it to be true. The fact that dissociates are completely aware that they are "distant" is justification that they are, in fact, experiencing reality and not any form of Schizophrenia.
Many people with dissociation fear that they have Schizophrenia for some very common reasons: Obsessions over delusions, hearing things, visual snow, brain fog, etc.. All of these things are simply revolving around anxiety - which Depersonalization and Derealization are; they are based off of anxiety disorders and stress. I would check yourself out for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder before chalking something up to be Schizophrenia, there's more a chance of you just have a form of OCD than having actual Psychosis.
Derealization and Depersonalization cannot
"slip you into Psychosis or Schizophrenia", it is based off of anxiety and that's all. If you had Schizophrenia, Derealization/Depersonalization would be a symptom among the many other extreme symptoms of Schizophrenia or Psychosis - just because you're dissociated from reality does not mean that you are going to Schizophrenia from dissociation itself.
Frequently Asked Questions (Link to Another Thread).
I have made a thread a bit ago where I allowed users to come into the thread and ask questions about Schizophrenia. My original idea was to have it go "big" and use it as a sort of guidelines for understanding Schizophrenia and killing off the fear that people had about it. Of course, not a lot of people actually came to ask questions, so I decided to make this Ultimate Guide as a muse for people with fear of Schizophrenia. My thread is still open to questions/answers, so if you want anything answered, go over there or just leave a comment in the comments section or thread, depending.
I really want people to get over this fear because; they're right, it sucks worrying about it. I was in that position once and it really crushed my hopes inside - I nearly gave up, but now I'm recovered and it feels awesome. I have no fear of Schizophrenia anymore and I'd really love to shine some light on everything about it, revolving around it and how most people who fear it, don't have it. If you have suggestions for things that should be inside of this guide, please tell me and I'll add it in.
Schizophrenia: Signs, Types and Causes.
Nov 18 2013 03:21 PM
I think people who are afraid they have schizophrenia secretly wish they have it. People are more familiar with schizophrenia than dissociation, so it'd be easier to talk about
Nov 18 2013 03:22 PM
I think people are just wanting to understand and tackle one problem as opposed to many, which was the cause of dissociation in the first place, since it regards anxiety and stress, which revolve around multiple issues. You're right, though, I agree with you, but I'm not sure if that's a valid representation of everyone.
Nov 19 2013 02:06 AM
I think people just feel so insane and f***ed up that they feel it must be schizophrenia
Nov 20 2013 11:16 PM
Moderators should sticky this as the information he is giving out is very accurate and very helpful. Nice job, OP.
Nov 20 2013 11:30 PM
It is stickied, actually! It's up in the "General Mental Health Discussion."
Nov 21 2013 05:56 PM
Excellent blog post! Great read.
Nov 21 2013 07:30 PM
Thank you, Kevin!
Nov 23 2013 04:16 AM
to much stigma in this world. peace
Dec 18 2013 11:33 AM
I think we needed a post like this good job!!
I think this blog should have a link that goes straight to it on the main page for newbies...ADMINS???