Sunday, November 16, 2014

Symptoms of Schizophrenia revisited

I had to look up the symptoms for schizophrenia again. The last couple of days he has had excessive body movements, strange posturing, leaning his head to the side and I didn't know if this was part of schizophrenia. It's been a long time since I've seen delusions or hallucinations and I started doubting whether we've got the right diagnosis.

As I went through the list of symptoms for schizophrenia, I saw that he's had all of them at one time. Now that he's on the right medication we have only seen disorganized speech and the body movements. Yes, the abnormal motor behavior is on the list of symptoms. I am back to thinking we have the correct diagnosis of schizophrenia, but I see a better outlook to being able to manage it.

We have not seen agitation, delusions, hallucinations or paranoid thinking in at least 6 months. This is what makes me start thinking it's not schizophrenia, but I have to face facts that the reason we are not seeing those symptoms is because the medicine is working. I do worry that the inappropriate and bizarre posture, or useless and excessive movement can hinder his job prospects. Part of rejoining society is getting into the work force. I will try not to hold him back out of fear.

Symptoms of schizophrenia listed from the Mayo Clinic:

Delusions. These are false beliefs that are not based in reality. For example, you're being harmed or harassed; certain gestures or comments are directed at you; you have exceptional ability or fame; another person is in love with you; a major catastrophe is about to occur; or your body is not functioning properly. Delusions occur in as many as 4 out of 5 people with schizophrenia.
Hallucinations. These usually involve seeing or hearing things that don't exist. Yet for the person with schizophrenia, they have the full force and impact of a normal experience. Hallucinations can be in any of the senses, but hearing voices is the most common hallucination.
Disorganized thinking (speech). Disorganized thinking is inferred from disorganized speech. Effective communication can be impaired, and answers to questions may be partially or completely unrelated. Rarely, speech may include putting together meaningless words that can't be understood, sometimes known as word salad.
Extremely disorganized or abnormal motor behavior. This may show in a number of ways, ranging from childlike silliness to unpredictable agitation. Behavior is not focused on a goal, which makes it hard to perform tasks. Abnormal motor behavior can include resistance to instructions, inappropriate and bizarre posture, a complete lack of response, or useless and excessive movement.
Negative symptoms. This refers to reduced ability or lack of ability to function normally. For example, the person appears to lack emotion, such as not making eye contact, not changing facial expressions, speaking without inflection or monotone, or not adding hand or head movements that normally provide the emotional emphasis in speech. Also, the person may have a reduced ability to plan or carry out activities, such as decreased talking and neglect of personal hygiene, or have a loss of interest in everyday activities, social withdrawal or a lack of ability to experience pleasure.