Symptoms of Schizophrenia
If you or a loved one is suffering from schizophrenia, it is important most of all to remember that only a licensed psychiatrist can make an official diagnosis. Since New Start firmly believes in getting dual diagnosis addicts the help they need, we partner with a local psychiatric group to offer clients professional psychological evaluations. Getting addiction treatment and appropriate psych meds simultaneously could be the 180 degree turn you or your loved one needs to start their recovery.
“Positive” does not mean “good” in this case. It refers to additional psychotic behaviors that are not seen in healthy people, such as:
- Dysfunctional Thinking
- Movement Tics
Similarly, “negative” does not mean “bad.” Negative symptoms are dysfunctional emotions and behaviors not generally seen in healthy people, including:
- Inability to start or maintain activities
- Lack of vocal/facial affect
- Refusal to speak or respond
Not all schizophrenics experience cognitive symptoms; however, some may notice small changes in cognitive functioning such as:
- Difficulty understanding information
- Can’t use information right after learning it
- Attention deficit
Although some symptoms are universal to the disorder, there are distinct subtypes of schizophrenia that may impact what that person’s addiction looks like.
Developing acute schizophrenia can be a truly harrowing experience. The acute subtype describes when schizophrenic symptoms develop quickly after a long period of normalcy. These unfamiliar, disconcerting thoughts and behaviors can trigger substance abuse as a form of self-medication.
Paranoid schizophrenics tend to maintain a higher level of function among the subtypes. Although they experience positive symptoms like delusions and hallucinations, these thoughts can be relatively private or compartmentalized. Paranoid schizophrenics tend to have fewer negative symptoms that affect behavior. On that note, addicts with this dual diagnosis are more likely to be functional alcoholics and drug addicts. Denial may play a bigger factor in these cases.
Disorganized schizophrenics are generally lower functioning and tend toward more severe negative and cognitive symptoms. Positive psychotic symptoms are not as prevalent. This form of schizophrenia tends to have an early and gradual onset as compared to other subtypes. It is common for disorganized schizophrenics to live dependently with family or other caregivers, and to stop taking their psych meds in favor of self-medicating through substance abuse.