Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Do YOU Have Schizophrenia?

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- 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.

(soft music)

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,

please make sure to subscribe

so as not to miss any of our future content.

And also if you would like to help support

the creation of future videos like this one,

please check out the link to our Patrion page,

it's in the description below.

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.

The Description of Do YOU Have Schizophrenia?