What is Schizophreniform Disorder?
Schizophreniform Disorder is categorized under the “Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders” in the DSM-V. Individuals who suffer from Schizophreniform Disorder have similar symptoms to those individuals who suffer from Schizophrenia HOWEVER, the symptoms for individuals with Schizophreniform Disorder last less than 6 months. An individual who suffers from this disorder is not able to tell the difference from what is imagined to what is real and is really happening. In addition, the individual has problems with the way that they think, act, the way they express their emotions, and how they relate to others.
Also, it is believed to be equally prevalent in both men and women however, it tends to affect men at a younger age. It is also important to note, that about 1 in 1,000 individuals suffer from Schizophreniform Disorder.
What are the symptoms of Schizophreniform Disorder?
In order for an individual to be diagnosed with Schizophreniform Disorder, at least 2 of the following symptoms must be present:
- Delusions (an individual refuses to give up on these false believes even when they know they are unreal)
- Hallucinations (an individual feels, hears, and sees things that are not real)
- Disorganized speech (an individual may not make sense when speaking to them)
- Strange behaviors (i.e. walking in circles)
- An individual tends to not have energy
- An individual has poor hygiene & grooming habits
- An individual may lose interest in life, in what was of interest to them
- An individual may isolate themselves from their loved ones or social activities
It is important to note that at least one of the symptoms needs to be hallucinations, disorganized speech, or delusions. In addition, an individual who suffers from such disorder tends to have difficulty living their normal life, conducting tasks at work or school for example.
What causes Schizophreniform Disorder?
Although the exact cause is not known, it is believed that genetics, brain function and/or structure, and the environment may play a role in the development of such disorder.
How is Schizophreniform Disorder treated?
- An individual sets goals & learns different ways to help handle their symptoms
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is often used as a way to help individuals understand what is happening and then find ways to help cope with it
- Family therapy can be of a great help and support since the individual’s family is learning along with the individual
- Tends to happen when an individual is presenting severe symptoms in which they are at a high risk or hurting themselves or others
How can I cope with Schizophreniform Disorder?
- Educate yourself on the disorder, educate your loved ones
- Ask your primary doctor any questions or concerns regardless of how small or big they are
- Stick to your treatment plan
- Take the medications prescribed
- Attend all your therapy sessions as instructed
- Join extracurricular activities