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Autism Spectrum Disorder

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is the umbrella term used to describe that it is not a single disorder, but rather there are a variety of closely related disorders to different degrees that fall under such disorder in the DSM-V. An individual who has been diagnosed with Autism tends to face social, communication, and behavioral challenges. However, it is important to note that the degree of these challenges vary from one individual to another. Moreover, such term is now the umbrella term for the following disorders (they fall under Autism Spectrum Disorder):

  • Asperger’s Syndrome
    • A child may be extremely intelligent and will be able to handle their life fairly well however, they may face challenges in their social life
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder
    • Symptoms are not as severe as Autistic Disorder, but not as mild as with Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Autistic Disorder
  • Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
    • Not seen as often, but when seen, the child develops “normally” and quickly loses many social, language, and mental skills

Experts say that individuals who fall under the Autism Spectrum Disorder may have difficulties with communicating and interacting with other people, they may have restricted interests and repetitive behaviors, and/or symptoms that may affect their ability to live their daily life (i.e. in school, work, or at home).

What are the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder?

It is important to note that not all people who are diagnosed with such disorder will have the following symptoms. The symptoms will vary from person to person.

Social Symptoms (communication & interaction behaviors):

  • An individual will make little or no eye contact with others
  • An individual tends not to listen to people
  • An individual shows little or no emotion when engaging in activities for example, by pointing or showing things to others
  • An individual may be slow at reacting when someone calls their name
  • An individual appears to have a hard time going back and forth in conversations
  • An individual tends to talk about the same subject for a while without noticing that others are not interested
  • Their facial expressions do not match with what they are saying
  • An individual may have a hard time understanding the point of view of others

Repetitive Behavior Symptoms:

  • An individual tends to repeat their behaviors (i.e. words or phrases)
  • An individual tends to have a deep and overly focused interest in certain things
  • An individual tends to get easily upset when the slightest change is made in a routine
  • An individual may either be more or less sensitive so sensory input (i.e. light or noise)

What causes Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Although experts are still trying to find the cause, genetics (i.e. having a sibling or parent with such disorder), older parents, low birth weight, and having certain genetic conditions (i.e. Down Syndrome or Rett Syndrome) may increase the chances of an individual being affected by such disorder.

How is Autism Spectrum Disorder treated?

The earlier the diagnosis, the better the outcome when treatment is received. Early treatment is important because it can help an individual reduce their difficulties and increase their strengths.

  • Medication
  • Behavioral, Psychological, and Educational Therapy
    • May help an individual learn life-skills necessary that will allow an individual to acquire independency
    • May help an individual reduce their challenging behaviors and help build their strengths
    • Will help an individual learn social, language, and communication skills

What can I do to help an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder?

  • Educate yourself
  • Learn the individuals triggers (i.e. if the noise bothers them too much)
  • Ensure they are taking the prescribed medication & attending their therapy sessions

Autism Facts:

  • Affect 1 in 68 children in the United States, 1 in 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls
  • About 50,000 teens with autism become adults, but lose school-based autism services
  • 1/3 of individuals affected with autism remain nonverbal
  • 1/3 of individuals affected with autism have an intellectual disability


Excoriation Disorder

What is Excoriation Disorder?

Excoriation Disorder, also known as Skin Picking Disorder, is when an individual begins to pick or scab their skin so frequently and intense that the individual causes their skin to bleed, sore, or to scar. It is common for us to pick our skin once a while, but when it gets to the point where the individual is provoking injury, it may then become a disorder and/or problem. Individuals who are diagnosed with such disorder are those who repeatedly scratch their skin in an attempt to remove what they see as an imperfection in their skin for example.

What are the symptoms of Excoriation Disorder?

  • An individual is constantly picking their skin and as a result, skin lesions occur
  • An individual may have repeated attempts to stop their behavior
  • Because of the skin picking behavior and the results that it brings to an individual, an individual has significant distress or impairment
  • The symptoms are not better explained by another psychiatric disorder
  • Such symptoms are not cause by a medical, substance, or dermatological condition
  • An individual appears to show a significant number of scars
  • An individual may feel upset when thinking about how much they pick their skin
  • An individual may avoid social situations because of their skin and the scars for example, that may have resulted because of the picking

What causes Excoriation Disorder?

Although the exact cause is not known, experts believe that genetics may play a role in the environment and that an individual who suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder are at higher risk of developing such disorder.

In addition, the following factors may increase the risk of an individual developing Excoriation Disorder:

  • When individual experiences some kind of rash, injury, or skin infection, they are more likely to continue with the scabbing after such experience
  • During times of stress
    • An individual is likely to pick or scab their skin, which may result in it becoming a habit

How is Excoriation Disorder treated?

  • Therapy
    • Habit Reversal Training
      • A therapist will help the client identify the situations, stresses, or factors that are triggering their skin picking. Once the factors are identified, the therapist works with the individual to find other things that they can do to deal with such situations rather than skin picking (i.e. squeezing a rubber ball)
    • Stimulus Control
      • Such therapy focuses on making changes to the individuals environment (i.e. the individual can begin to wear gloves or band aids)
    • Medications

How can I cope with Excoriation Disorder?

  • Find support in your community (i.e. support groups)
  • Seek professional guidance
  • Educate yourself & loved ones
  • Support yourself
    • Set goals & celebrate when you reach them

Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder

What is Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder (DSED)?

DSED is believed to be one of the two attachment disorders that tend to develop in childhood when an individual lacks appropriate nurturing and affection from their parent or primary caregiver (the individual is typically diagnosed before age 18). As a result of the lack of attention and affection to the child from the parent, the child is not only not closely bonded to their parents, but the child also feels as comfortable with strangers as they do with their parent and/or primary caregiver.

IMPORTANT NOTE: A caregiver is the individual who meets the child’s needs, spends time teaching and/or educating, and feeds, shelters, and provides the child with emotional support to say the least.

What are the symptoms of DSED?

Signs and symptoms begin to appear after the age of 9 months.

According to the DSM-V, in order for a child to be diagnosed with such disorder they must show at least 2 of the following symptoms:

  • A child is not shy nor afraid of meeting new people for the first time
  • The child shows familiar verbal and physical interaction that is outside the expected norms
  • The child does not look back for support nor do they ensure that an adult is with them when embarking in a new activity and/or journey
  • The child is willing to leave an adults sight without hesitation
  • The child shows no fear for adult strangers

What causes DSED?

Experts believe that an individuals caregiving environment plays a strong role in the development of such disorder. For instance, babies between 6 months and 2 years of age who are left in an orphanage, those who are going from one family to the next with no consistency, or those who have suffered some sever trauma (i.e. death of a parent or abuse) or social neglect, are at a higher risk of developing DSED. It is important to note however, that just because an individual has experienced a neglectful or inconsistent caregiver does it mean that they will develop the disorder. In fact, some individuals will not, but such characteristics in a caregiver do increase the chances of an individual developing DSED. In addition, it is believed that genetics also play a role.

How is DSED treated?

  • Play Therapy
    • Provides children with a way to express emotions and their experiences in a constructive way
    • Children decide the outcome in therapy, which gives them a sense of power that can then aid in self-healing
    • Can help a therapist and/or psychologist diagnose a child through observation
  • Expressive Therapy

The goal of the therapies mentioned above is to foster the formations of attachments.

How can I help someone who has DSED?

  • Educate yourself on the subject
  • Be patient
  • Listen to the child’s needs
  • Ensure that the child is receiving the appropriate treatment and/or therapy
  • Set some time aside for the individual (stay consistent)

Oppositional Defiant Disorder

Is your child constantly having a persistent pattern of anger, irritability or they are arguing towards you? Your child may have Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

What is Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

An individual who suffers from such condition displays an ongoing pattern of an angry and irritable mood. In addition, the child is constantly argumentative towards their authority figure causing disruptions in the child’s school and home environment for example.

What are the symptoms of Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Although it can be hard to distinguish between a child who has ODD and a child that is strong-willed, symptoms of ODD typically begin during preschool years. However, in order for an individual to be diagnosed with ODD the following emotional and behavioral symptoms must last for at least 6 months:

  • An individual may have an angry or irritable mood
    • The individual loses their temper
    • An individual is easily annoyed by those around them
    • An individual is constantly feeling angry and resentful
  • An individual may have an argumentative and defiant behavior
    • The individual is constantly arguing with those in authority
    • The individual defies to comply with the adults’ requests or rules
    • The individual is constantly annoying and upsetting people
    • The individual is constantly blaming others for their own mistakes and misbehavior
    • An individual has shown vindictive behavior at least twice during the last 6 months

It is important to note that ODD can vary in severity:

  • Mild
    • The symptoms may occur at only one setting (i.e. home, work, or school)
  • Moderate
    • Symptoms occur at 2 settings
  • Severe
    • Symptoms occur at 3 or more settings

What causes Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

Although there is not one known cause, experts believe that genetics and the environment may play a role. However, a child’s temperament (i.e. having trouble controlling their frustration), family issues (i.e. having a parent with mental issues themselves), and parent issues (i.e. abuse or neglect), can also increase the chances of an individual developing such disorder.

In addition, ODD may cause an individual to have poor school and work performance along with antisocial behavior, suicidal thoughts, and an impulse to control their problems for example. Moreover, such disorder can be in comorbidity with ADHD, Conduct Disorder, Depression, Anxiety, and Learning and Communication Disorders.

How is Oppositional Defiant Disorder treated?

  • Parent Training
    • A professional will help the parent develop parenting skills that are more consistent and less frustrating for the child
  • Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT)
    • A therapist coaches the parent while they interact with the child
  • Individual and Family Therapy
    • Such therapy can help the child manage their anger and express their feelings in a healthy way
    • Family therapy can help improve the communication and relationship among the relatives
  • Cognitive Problem-Solving Training
    • Such therapy focuses on identifying and changing the thought patterns of the child
  • Social Skills Training

What can I do to help my child cope with Oppositional Defiant Disorder?

  • Recognize and praise their accomplishments
  • Model the behavior you want them to express
  • Pick your battles
  • Set limits
    • Give the child clear instructions and stick to them
    • Give them consistent and reasonable consequences
  • Set up a routine
  • Set time to spend together
    • Build a schedule
  • Assign the child some chores
  • Be prepared for the challenges

Stress Management

What is Stress?

Stress is the way that your body may be responding to any kind of demand or threat (known as the stressor). When an individual feels threatened because of an event or a major change in their life for example, their body will react in a “fight-or-flight” causing such reaction in the body. When an individual experiences stress, they are likely to also experience an increase in their heart rate, a tightening in their muscles, and/or an increase in blood pressure for example.

Stress affects anybody and everybody at some point in their lives whether it is disciplining the kids, finding a job, working to complete a degree, finances, the home, or busy times in general to say the least. Although some stress may be okay, and some may even be beneficial, there is a point in which the amount of stress your body is experiencing will make you sick, tired, and will bring you down. It is important to note that every individual will experience stress differently and therefore, their reactions and symptoms will vary. Because of that, it is important for every individual to talk to their doctor about what they are experiencing.

For example, the following emotional symptoms may be present when experiencing stress:

  • An individual may become easily agitated, moody, and frustrated
  • An individual may feel that they are losing control in their life
  • An individual may have a hard time relaxing
  • An individual may begin to avoid others
  • An individual may begin to feel lonely and worthless

On the other hand, the following physical symptoms may be present when experiencing stress:

  • Headaches
  • An individual may have low energy
  • An individual may have an upset stomach (i.e. diarrhea, nausea, or constipation)
  • An individual may have aches, pain, and/or muscle tensions (i.e. chest pain or rapid heart rate)
  • Insomnia
  • An individual may constantly have colds or infections
  • An individual may lose the desire for sex or are unable to do so
  • An individual may experience ringing in the ear, they may be sweaty or nervous
  • An individual may have a clenched jaw and grinding teeth

In addition, the following cognitive symptoms may be present when experiencing stress:

  • An individual may constantly be worrying
  • An individual may have racing thoughts or may be unable to focus
  • An individual may be forgetful, disorganized, and may have poor judgement
  • An individual will tend to only look at the dark side of things

Lastly, the following behavioral symptoms may be present when experiencing stress:

  • There is a change in appetite (will overeat or not eat at all)
  • An individual begins to procrastinate and avoid their responsibilities
  • An individual may have an increase in their alcohol or drug consumption
  • An individual may exhibit more nervous behaviors (i.e. fidgeting or nail biting)

How can I cope with stress?

  • Exercise
    • It could help you lift your mood and distract you from what is worrying you
  • Talk to others
  • Engage your senses
    • Does listening to one song help you reduce your stress? Does the song make you feel calm?
  • Learn how to relax
    • Engage in yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activities
  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Get your rest
    • Maintain a natural sleep-wake cycle
      • Try getting up at the same time & wake up at the same time
      • Avoid sleeping in on weekends
    • Control your exposure to light
    • Improve your sleep environment
      • Keep noises down & in a cool room

Cyclothymia Disorder

What is Cyclothymia Disorder?

According to the DSM-V, Cyclothymia Disorder is considered to be one of the several mood disorders that has similar characteristics to that of Bipolar Disorder. However, individuals who have Cyclothymia Disorder tend to have more mild and chronic forms of such characteristics. Individuals who suffer from such disorder experience mood swings between short periods of mild depression and hypomania. Furthermore, it is believed that between 0.4% and 1% of the population is affected by such disorder and that it is equally prevalent in both men and women.

What are the symptoms of Cyclothymia Disorder?

Although the pattern is irregular, and one may never know when an episode may occur, such episode can last for days or even weeks. However, it is important to note that the individual must present the following symptoms for a period of at least 2 years (1 year for children and adolescents):

  • Symptoms of hypomania, but not full blown manic episodes
    • There is an increased in energy and activity
    • The individual has an excessively “high,” euphoric mood
    • Irritable
    • The individual may experience racing thoughts (i.e. they may jump from one idea to another)
    • An individual has a hard time concentrating
    • An individual tends to be more talkative than usual
    • The individual may feel the need that they do not need sleep
    • An individual may have unrealistic beliefs (i.e. may have the belief that they have powers)
    • An individual may have an increased sex drive
    • An individual will deny that anything is wrong
    • An individual may engage in provocative, aggressive, or intrusive behavior
  • Symptoms for Depressive episodes
    • An individual has persistent sadness
    • An individual experiences constant fatigue
    • The individual either has an excessive need for sleep OR does not need to sleep
    • An individual begins to lose weight, has a loss of appetite OR is overeating and gaining weight
    • An individual has a low self-esteem
    • An individual may have feelings of worthlessness
    • An individual may have persistent thoughts of death
    • An individual may begin to withdraw from activities that they once enjoyed or may withdraw from friends

What causes Cyclothymia Disorder?

Although there is not one known cause, experts believe that genetics play a big role in the development of such disorder. In other words, if an individual has a close relative (i.e. parent or sibling), they are more likely to develop such disorder.

How is Cyclothymia treated?

  • Medication
    • Mood stabilizers
      • Lithium
    • Anticonvulsant
  • Psychotherapy
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
      • Focuses on identifying the negative and unhealthy beliefs/behaviors and then replaces them with positive ones
    • Well-Being Therapy
      • Focuses on improving the overall quality of life rather than fixing the symptoms

How can I cope with Cyclothymia Disorder?

  • Stick to your treatment plan
    • Take medication as prescribed and attend all therapies
  • Know your triggers and warning signs
  • Keep a record of your treatments and behaviors
  • Have regular check-ups
  • Make sure you get plenty of sleep
    • Set a schedule and stick to it
  • Educate yourself and your loved ones

Intermittent Explosive Disorder

What is Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

An individual who suffers from Intermittent Explosive Disorder expresses repeated and sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent or angry behavior. In turn, such behavior may cause an individual to have significant distress in their relationships, work, school, and may even end up having legal and financial consequences.

What are the symptoms of Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

The sudden explosive eruptions occur suddenly with little or no warning and tend to last about 30 minutes. In addition, although these behaviors may occur frequently, they can also occur every couple of months or weeks.

Less severe outbursts may involve:

  • An individual may be irritable
  • Impulsive
  • Aggressive
  • An individual may be chronically angry most of the time

The aggressive episodes may involve the following:

  • Rage
  • An individual may have an increased amount of energy
  • An individual experiences racing thoughts
  • Tingling
  • Tremors
  • Palpitations
  • An individual may also experience chest tightening
  • Temper tantrums
  • Tirades
  • An individual may engage in physical fights
  • An individual may be shouting
  • An individual may get involved in heated arguments
  • An individual may get involved in slapping, shoving, or pushing
  • An individual may cause property damage
  • The individual may threaten or assault people or animals

What causes Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

Although the cause is not known, experts believe that the development of such disorder is influenced by biological and environmental factors. Furthermore, the following may increase the chances of developing such disorder:

  • History of physical abuse
    • An individual who may have experienced a traumatic event or were abused in childhood, are at higher risk of developing such disorder
  • History of other mental health issues
    • Antisocial Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder or ADHD for example, can increase the likelihood of developing such disorder

How is Intermittent Explosive Disorder treated?

  • Psychotherapy
    • A common type of therapy used to treat such disorder is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
      • Helps an individual identify what types of situations and behaviors may trigger their aggressive outbursts
      • An individual will learn different ways of managing anger and control their inappropriate responses
    • Medication
      • Antidepressants
      • Anticonvulsant Mood Stabilizers

How can I cope with Intermittent Explosive Disorder?

  • Stick to your treatment plan
    • Take your medications and attend therapy as instructed
  • Engage in relaxation techniques
  • Develop new ways of thinking
    • Think of a more reasonable and logical way
  • Make use of your problem-solving techniques
    • Make a plan on how you can solve any problem that arises
  • Avoid mood-altering substance
    • Alcohol and drugs for example

If you notice that your loved one does not want to get help, or that their symptoms are getting worse, consider taking the following steps:

  • Call a domestic violence hotline
  • Keep all firearms locked or away from the individual
  • Ensure that you have an emergency bag
    • Keys, clothes, personal medications, money, and important papers.
  • Come up with a code with your loved ones for example, that you can use to signal that you are in need of police assistance and that they should call

Gambling Disorder

What is Gambling Disorder?

Gambling Disorder is diagnosed when an individual cannot control their urge to continue gambling despite the toll that it takes in their life. In other words, they are willing to risk everything they have, even if it is something they truly value, in hope of getting something of even greater value. The urge to gamble can be as severe as the urge an individual may feel when they feel the need to consume alcohol or drugs. When an individual has a problem with gambling, they often chase bets that can lead them to losses, they may hide their behavior, finish any savings they may have, get into debt, or may even turn to theft as a resort to get what they want.

What are the symptoms of Gambling Disorder?

  • An individual is constantly preoccupied with gambling (i.e. they are planning and looking for different ways to get more money, so they can gamble)
  • An individual may feel an increased need to gamble a great amount of money
  • An individual may try to stop gambling, but they do not succeed
  • An individual may feel restless when they attempt to cut back on gambling
  • An individual may engage in gambling to escape problems or feelings of depression or anxiety for example
  • An individual will try to get the money lost in gambling by gambling more
  • An individual may begin to lie to their loved ones so that they can get away with it
  • Because of gambling, an individual may begin to lose friendships, relationships, jobs, or partners for example
  • An individual may ask others to help them engage in gambling by asking them to lend them money or asking them to help them pay their debt

Individuals who gamble can stop when they want to or when they have lost however, when an individual begins to gamble excessively and express the symptoms above, they may be experiencing Gambling Disorder.

What causes Gambling Disorder?

Although there is not one known cause, individuals who may suffer from other mental health disorders (i.e. anxiety, depression, or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders), a certain age (younger and middle-aged), men, or certain personality characteristics (i.e. competitive, impulsive, restless, or a workaholic) are at higher risk of developing such disorder. In addition, if your loved ones have problems themselves with gambling, you may also be at higher risk of developing such disorder. Furthermore, such disorder can lead an individual to develop relationship problems, financial issues, legal problems, poor general health, poor work performance, or even suicidal thoughts.

How is Gambling Disorder treated?

Although it can be hard to treat because an individual may not accept that they have a problem, the following may be used to treat such disorder:

  • Therapy
    • Behavior Therapy
      • Uses systematic exposure to the behavior individual wants to unlearn and then the individual is taught skills to reduce the urge to gamble.
    • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Medications
  • Support Groups

What can I do to cope with Gambling Disorder?

  • Stay focused on your number 1 goals
  • Remind yourself of the consequences that gambling may bring to you
  • Recognize and avoid situations that can trigger your urge to bet

Brief Psychotic Disorder

What is Brief Psychotic Disorder?

Individuals who are experiencing psychotic symptoms for a period of time (from 1 day to a month, but less than 1 month) are diagnosed with Brief Psychotic Disorder. When experiencing though, it is important to note that not just because they are brief episodes does that mean that they are not severe. In fact, they can be as severe that the person is at an increased risk of engaging in violent behaviors or suicide. In addition, it tends to happen for the first time during an individual’s 20s or 30s and women are at higher risk of developing such disorder. However, it is important to note that there are 3 basic forms of Brief Psychotic Disorders:

  • Brief Psychotic Disorder with obvious stressor
    • Tends to happen after a trauma or a major stress experience (i.e. death of a loved one, assault, or accident)
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder without obvious stressor
    • There appears to be no trauma or major stress that is causing it
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder with Postpartum Onset
    • Such form only tends to happen to women and usually within 4 weeks of giving birth

It is also important to note that although such episodes may only happen once, and individuals usually don’t experience it ever again, it can also be the first sign of a chronic mental health condition such as Schizophrenia.

What are the symptoms of Brief Psychotic Disorder?

  • Hallucinations
    • Individuals hears noises, sees things that are not there, and may even feel sensations in their body even if nobody is not touching them
  • Delusions
    • An individual refuses to give up a belief even if they know it is not true
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Their language does not make any sense
  • An individual engages in unusual behavior or dresses oddly
  • An individual tends to have problems with their memory (i.e. cannot remember recent events)
  • An individual feels disoriented or confused
  • An individual may experience changes in their sleeping habits, their weight, or their energy levels
  • An individual cannot or has a hard time making decisions

What causes Brief Psychotic Disorder?

Although the cause is not known, experts strongly belief that the development of such disorder is linked to genetics. Having that said, individuals who have a family history of having psychotic or mood disorders (i.e. depression or bipolar disorders) are at a higher risk of developing Brief Psychotic Disorder. Also, if individual lacks skills that will help them cope with a trigger or stressful and/or frightening experience, the chances of them developing such disorder is also higher.

How is Brief Psychotic Disorder Treated?

One or a combination of the following are often used to treat such disorder:

  • Psychotherapy
  • Medication
    • May be prescribed to help alleviate the symptoms (they are often antipsychotics)
  • Hospitalization
    • If symptoms are severe and if an individual shows signs that they may hurt themselves or others

What can I do to cope with Brief Psychotic Disorders?

  • Educate yourself & loved ones on the disorders
  • Know your triggers
  • Redirect your attention
  • Seek a therapist
    • Attend your sessions
    • Take the prescribed medications

Schizophreniform Disorder

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?

  • Medication
    • Antipsychotics
  • Psychotherapy
    • 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
  • Hospitalization
    • 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
  • Exercise