- Hi, everyone. And welcome back
to the Living Well with Schizophrenia channel.
In today's video,
we are going to be going over whether or not
you might have schizophrenia.
There's a good chance you got to this video
because you searched for something like,
do I have schizophrenia,
or schizophrenia test, or something like that.
And so, we are going to be going over
some of the most common symptoms of schizophrenia
so that you can kind of be more aware of what it entails,
but also more importantly,
we're going to be talking about
why it's important to not self-diagnose
and how to go about getting a proper diagnosis.
My name is Lauren
and I make videos about what it's like
living with schizoaffective disorder or schizophrenia.
If you would like to see more videos like this one,
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Any support is so appreciated. Thank you.
All right, so, do you have schizophrenia?
So, if you're watching this video
with that question in mind,
you're probably a little bit scared about some symptoms
that you may be experiencing
that maybe you don't fully understand.
And I understand,
but that feels like it's scary to be experiencing
things that you don't really fully understand
and you're not really sure why they're happening.
A really common question or message
that we get often on this channel
is people listing out symptoms that they're experiencing
and then wanting us to diagnose them.
We are not medical professionals,
so this is not something
that we are at all comfortable with doing.
But it's a really common thing that people come to us with.
And so, we wanted to kind of address that
through this video.
So in this video, we're going to be going over
why it's so important to get a diagnosis
from a mental health professional
and why self-diagnosis is a very, very bad thing.
Also, we are going to be going over
some of the common symptoms of schizophrenia
to maybe give you a better grasp
on what some of the diagnostic criteria is
so that you can bring that information
to a mental health care professionals
such as a psychiatrist to get a proper diagnosis.
All right. So, first off,
why should you not be self-diagnosing yourself?
So, I mean, for starters, you're not a medical professional,
so you don't have all of the knowledge
that a psychiatrist would have
in terms of putting together a diagnosis for yourself.
It's also a very stressful thing.
And if you are trying to self-diagnose yourself,
you're going to be really stressed out
and potentially unnecessarily
if it's not the proper diagnosis.
Also, people who are going through symptoms of schizophrenia
don't always have the best insight into their illness.
And that applies for other mental illnesses too.
It's hard to have really good insight
into your mental illness while you're experiencing symptoms
and especially while you're experiencing symptoms
for the first time.
And so, it's going to be really helpful
to have that third party professional
who can kind of observe and take in what you're getting,
the information that you're giving them
to better put together a proper diagnosis.
It's also really common
that people don't really fully understand
what mental illnesses like schizophrenia entail
or really are.
And so, sometimes it's very easy for an individual
who's seeking out information to self-diagnose themselves
to kind of cherry pick information
based on whether they want
to be diagnosed with schizophrenia
or maybe don't want to be diagnosed with schizophrenia
and to kind of cherry pick information
that leads to the end result that they are looking for.
I completely understand the desire to want to put a label
on the things that you're experiencing
because it makes it a little bit more digestible
and a little bit easier to understand,
but it's so important that that label or that diagnosis
is coming from an informed mental health professional
and not from yourself,
because another reason for this is that,
if you self-diagnose,
you're not really left with any options for treatment,
you're just kind of left there sitting like,
"Okay, I have schizophrenia, now what?"
So if that diagnosis
is coming from a mental health professional,
they're going to be able to help you
create a treatment plan.
And they're going to be able
to help connect you with other resources
such as therapy, or medication,
or whatever other social supports
or medical supports you may need.
And so, it's really, really important
to get that diagnosis from a medical professional.
I cannot stress that enough.
And do you know, it's important to note that diagnosis,
proper diagnosis is even difficult
for medical professionals to do or to give to a patient.
It takes a lot of time to work together
with your medical professional
to come to a accurate proper diagnosis.
There's a lot of factors at play
and they need to observe you over a period of time
and they need to take in a lot of information
in order to make an accurate diagnosis.
And so, it can take a long time
and it can be a bit of a a long tedious process
but it's so important to really work together
with your medical professional, your psychiatrist,
or your doctor, to come to a place that feels good for you,
where you feel like the diagnosis that they're giving you
accurately explains the symptoms that you're experiencing
and you both can agree on what feels best moving forward.
All right, so, self-diagnosis is bad. Do not do it.
Okay, so, moving on,
we are going to discuss the main symptoms of schizophrenia,
which you can compare to your own experience
and then bring that to your doctor.
It is important to note first off though
that if you aren't experiencing all of the symptoms
or any of the symptoms that I go over in this video,
you may still be struggling
with a different kind of mental illness.
And so, if you have any concerns at all,
it's really important to bring these concerns
to a doctor who is going to be better able
to take in the information you're giving them
and your concerns that you're presenting them with
to either diagnose you or help you out in some other way.
All right, so, what I'm going to be using
to go over the main diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia
is the "DSM-5",
the "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders."
This is what's used in North America.
However, if you are in Europe or I think Australia as well,
they use something called the "ICD-10",
which I believe stands for
the "International Classification of Diseases".
It's basically the same thing, same information, really.
It's just, different parts of the world
use either the "DSM-5" or the "ICD-10".
Okay, so, the first diagnostic criteria in the DSM is that
you have to be experiencing two or more of the following
each present for a significant portion of time
during a one-month period or less if successfully treated:
Delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech;
example, frequent derailment, or incoherence,
grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior,
and negative symptoms.
And at least one of these must be one of the first three
which were delusions, hallucinations or disorganized speech.
So I'm gonna talk a little bit about each one of these.
So, starting with the first one on this list, delusions.
So, delusions are essentially a false belief
based on something that does not really fall within reality.
And so, delusions can be...
So for me, delusions often revolve around
thinking that the medical professional is trying to harm me,
or that medications are poisonous,
or that helicopters or the police are out to get me.
So there's a lot of those
kind of persecutory delusions for me,
but there are different kinds of delusions as well
that people can experience.
So it can be even something like,
"Oh, I believe that there is a giant weather machine
in the sky that is dictating whether..."
Or, you know, any sort of false belief can be a delusion.
The second one is hallucinations.
Now, hallucinations are kind of
a hallmark symptom of schizophrenia.
You don't need to have hallucinations
based on this DSM criteria to have schizophrenia,
but it's very rare that hallucinations are not present.
And so, hallucinations are the experience
of some sort of stimuli that isn't really there,
and they can fall within any of the five senses.
So, visual, audio, olfactory, or smell, touch,
so, tactile, and also taste.
So, any of those five senses,
you can experience a hallucination within those.
So for me personally,
when I was first experiencing symptoms,
it began with olfactory hallucinations,
and I would smell these really awful smells
that I couldn't really identify
and I couldn't really locate the source of.
And I would check in with people around me
to see if they could smell it too.
And, well, most of the time, all the time, they were like,
"No, I don't smell anything."
And so, I knew that those were not really, really happening.
It took a while for me to understand
that I was hallucinating with those.
It just seemed like, Oh, something's misfiring in my brain.
Or I smell something that other people don't smell.
All that kind of things.
So that was a hard one to wrap my mind around
understanding it wasn't real.
My hallucinations then began
to take the form of audio hallucinations.
So I would hear my name spoken aloud
when I was completely alone.
And that was how it started,
and then it gradually grew
to be more of the conversational dialogue
that I was hearing.
And as I fell deeper into psychosis,
it became command hallucinations
and that kind of thing that I was experiencing.
And so, I think that the primary ones
that people often experience anecdotally anyway
are visual hallucinations and audio hallucinations.
I've met a lot of people
who also have olfactory hallucinations
or tactile hallucinations,
but I think the staple ones, the main ones,
are kind of audio and visual.
Number three is disorganized speech.
Example, frequent derailment or incoherence.
And so, this is kind of like,
there's a concept called word salad
where people with schizophrenia jumble up
a lot of different words
because they can't quite keep the same train of thought
or it comes out as not what they're meaning to communicate.
And so, it comes out as a bit of a word salad
where it's just random words
that don't really make sense together
that might make sense to how they're communicating
or it might not make sense to how they're communicating
if they have really disorganized thought as well.
But disorganized speech
is kind of one of those observable symptoms
that are used for diagnosis.
So, me personally,
I don't often present with disorganized speech
because when I'm experiencing this symptom,
I tend to just stop talking
because I'm very, very self-conscious of this symptom.
And I know when it's happening for me,
I know when I am going to speak
and it's not really going to make the most sense
if I'm actually verbally communicating with someone.
And so, what usually happens
when I know I'm experiencing this is I just stop talking
because I'm afraid that what I'm saying
is not going to make sense.
And so, I don't know if that's kind of something
that a lot of other people experience
where they just stop communicating
because they're afraid that disorganized speech
is going to come out, but that's the way it is for me.
All right, so those first three,
so, delusions, hallucinations and disorganized speech,
there needs to be one of those present
to diagnose schizophrenia.
Now, these other two can also be present.
So you need two or more of the total five
to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
And so, the fourth one is grossly disorganized
or catatonic behavior.
And so, grossly disorganized behavior would be,
I don't know, behaviors that just aren't really making sense
or not really being able
to properly function within the world.
Catatonic behavior is when someone just stops expressing
or emoting at all, and they are just kind of rigid
and do not speak, do not move,
do not show emotion or anything, and just very catatonic.
And the fifth and last symptom that can be present
for a diagnosis of schizophrenia is negative symptoms.
Now, we've done a video on positive and negative symptoms
which you can check out if you want more information
on what exactly negative symptoms are.
But basically, they are
diminished emotional expression or avolition.
And so, this basically just means
that there is a lack of some sort of behavior,
a lack of emotion, or a lack of avolition to do something,
a lack of motivation to do something.
So, negative symptoms are kind of the removal of a behavior.
So it often looks a lot like depression
which is kind of where things started out with me.
I think I was experiencing a lot of negative symptoms
in the beginning part of my mental health journey
and it was mistaken for depression.
And so, yeah, that's just another reason
why it's very important to tell your doctor everything
and to really work together
to communicate all of the symptoms that you're experiencing
and trying to be aware of all of these different criteria
for schizophrenia or not.
You may not have schizophrenia,
you may be dealing with some other mental illness.
And so, it's really important
to try to be as self-aware as possible
to understand how to communicate your symptoms
or your concerns with your doctor.
And something that's really helpful for this I found anyway,
is to keep kind of a journal of things that you notice
that are a little bit off or that you're concerned about.
And to write those things down
to get a better sense or sort of documentation
of what you're experiencing day-to-day,
because it's hard sometimes to go into a doctor's office
and remember everything that's been going on
over the last month or however long it's been
since you've seen them last.
That's a hard thing to do
especially when it's kind of vulnerable information
like symptoms that you're experiencing mental health-wise.
And so, if you have written documentation
of all of the concerns that you have had
over the last month,
it can be a lot easier to present your doctor with that.
And they are also grateful to have a more detailed list
of what concerns you've been dealing with.
All right, to sum up that list
of the diagnostic criteria of schizophrenia,
you need to have two or more of the total five,
the whole list,
each present for a significant portion of time
during a one-month period or less have successfully treated.
And at least one of these must be delusions, hallucinations,
disorganized speech, and then the other two
are grossly disorganized
or catatonic behavior and negative symptoms.
So, if you're concerned about any of those,
definitely take that information to your doctor.
Now, this is the diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia.
So this is what doctors are looking for
in order to provide a diagnosis of schizophrenia.
There are also other symptoms such as cognitive symptoms
which we've done a video about as well,
if you want to check out that one
to learn more about what that is.
But that can also be something that you're dealing with,
where there's cognitive impairment
in terms of your ability to retain information,
or to think critically about information,
or to act based on information you've received.
Cognitive symptoms can also be present with schizophrenia
but they're not necessarily a diagnostic criteria for it.
Okay, so, what do you do if you suspect
that might have schizophrenia,
if you've listened to these diagnostic criteria
and you're like,
"Yeah, that sounds like what I'm experiencing."
The very first thing you need to do
is make an appointment with your doctor
or your psychiatrist.
They are going to be able to best help you
understand what the symptoms that you're experiencing
maybe might mean or might be alluding to,
and they will be able to properly give you a diagnosis
if there is enough information present
to make that diagnosis,
or they might ask you more questions
about more information that they might need
in order to get to a diagnosis,
or they might just help you
with the symptoms that you're experiencing
if they don't necessarily meet the diagnostic criteria
for schizophrenia or for any of our mental illnesses,
but they will still be able to help you address the symptoms
that you were experiencing
and find adequate or effective treatment for those symptoms.
Now, the earlier you can get to your doctor, the better.
There has been a lot of studies done on the effectiveness
and the importance of early intervention
when it comes to psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia.
There's a lot of clinics out there
that are titled early psychosis intervention clinics
because that is a very, very important piece of treatment
for psychotic illnesses such as schizophrenia.
The earlier you can intervene in the symptoms flaring up
and falling into psychosis,
the more effective treatment is going to be,
and the better chances of recovery there will be.
It's kind of important to note
that the more severe your episodes are
and the more frequent your episodes are,
the less ideal your prognosis,
your longterm prognosis is going to be.
The more often you fall into psychosis
and the deeper you fall into psychosis,
the worse it's going to get.
And so, if you can try to limit the frequency
of your psychotic episodes
and the intensity of your psychotic episodes,
you're going to have a better prognosis moving forward.
And another thing
that I just want to touch briefly on is anosognosia.
I know we've done a video on this as well,
so you can check out if you want to learn more
about what anosognosia is.
But basically, it's a lack of insight
or a lack of awareness of your illness.
And so, this might be something
that you're experiencing as well,
so you may hear this list of symptoms and be like,
"Yeah, that sounds like what I'm experiencing,"
but somehow convince yourself that it's not a problem.
And this is kind of a symptom of anosognosia.
And so, if you are relating to any of these symptoms
or if you have any concerns at all
about any sort of symptoms mental health-wise or otherwise,
please, please go talk to your doctor.
They're not going to immediately
throw you into the hospital, lock you up,
they're not going to immediately overmedicate you,
they're not going to take away your autonomy,
your self autonomy, or anything,
they're really only there to help you address the symptoms
that you're experiencing,
and the concerns that you're presenting with.
So, the more open and honest dialogue
you can have with your doctor,
the better it's going to be long-term for you,
because you're going to be able to together with your doctor
address the symptoms,
the distressing symptoms that you are experiencing.
All right. So, we titled this video,
"Do you have schizophrenia?"
And we wanted to provide some guidance
about the diagnostic criteria
for whether or not you do have schizophrenia.
But most importantly,
what I want you to take away from this video
is the importance of going to see a doctor
if you have any concerns at all.
We really hope that if you search, do I have schizophrenia
or something along those lines that led you to this video,
we hope that your search for information
about whether or not you have schizophrenia stops here
because we really want to encourage you
to collect as much information as you can
in order to better be able to talk to your doctor
about what you're experiencing,
but we really, really want to encourage you
to make that step to talk to a doctor
about what you are experiencing.
It is really critical to understand
the dangers of self-diagnosing.
And so, again, we just really want to encourage you
to seek out professional medical help
from a doctor or a psychiatrist,
preferably a psychiatrist if it's for mental health
to better be able to address the symptoms and concerns
that you're experiencing
and to be able to provide a diagnosis if appropriate.
Okay, so thank you so much for watching this video.
If you found it helpful at all,
please make sure to give us a thumbs up
and comment if you have any other tips
for how to talk to your doctor about receiving a diagnosis
or how to communicate with your doctor
in order to get the best, or the best fitting,
or most appropriate diagnosis possible.
Also, if you want to hear more about
what my own personal experience was like
getting a diagnosis,
you can check out the video here,
"My Experience With Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder"
where I go over what my experience was like,
what my early symptoms were like,
getting a diagnosis and living with the diagnosis.
What that experience was like for me.
So thank you so much again for watching,
and as always, wishing you and your loved ones good health.
See you in the next video. Bye.