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Living a Full Life with Schizophrenia

Paranoid Schizophrenia

Paranoid Schizophrenia

When you bring up the general topic of schizophrenia to those who aren’t very familiar with the illness you can almost guarantee yourself that they are thinking of paranoid schizophrenia without realizing it.  However, paranoid schizophrenia is just one of the types of schizophrenia that manifests itself symptomatically.  The reason people make this connection is largely due to the media sensationalizing the paranoid sub-type because it features the most outwardly noticeable positive symptoms, which as you can imagine, make for the most interesting movie characters.  So in this article we are going to forget about catatonic and disorganized schizophrenia for the moment and just focus on the specifics pertaining to paranoid schizophrenia, including the symptoms and the treatment modalities available.

Paranoid Schizophrenia Symptoms

What sets the paranoid type of schizophrenia apart from the others is the type of symptoms experienced.  There is a set of symptoms that are referred to as “negative” because they feature a reduction of outwardly perceivable actions such as physical movements, an emotional affect, and a dampened thought process.  Paranoid schizophrenia in it’s pure form is confined to a set of symptoms that classified as “positive.”  This does not mean they are better in some fashion, but that they produce activities in the sufferer that others can notice from an outsider perspective.  They are an addition rather than a subtraction of functioning.

Obviously, due to the label of this type of schizophrenia, one of the main features of paranoid schizophrenia is paranoia.  Paranoia can lead a person to believe that they are being persecuted in some manner, which in turn can lead to jealousy and other types of inflated self-importance, making one feel as if they play a larger role in events than they actually do.  This paranoia arises specifically out of the symptoms related to delusions.  Delusions are a problem of misperception in regards to thinking.  These distortions do not always make a person feel paranoid, but in paranoid schizophrenia it constantly does.

Paranoid Delusions

Throughout this site we’ve mentioned examples of the delusions that can arise, and while the details often change the complexity and resistance to self-awareness is always present.  In regards to persecution, a person might find themselves at the center of a vast conspiracy.  Whether this be the government, aliens, demonic forces, or any number of metaphysical entities, unrealistically it all revolves around the individual suffering from the delusion.  Their self-importance is lifted beyond any reasonable measure endowing them with secret knowledge or messianic powers and therefore they must be stopped by this large group of conspirators.  Unfortunately, delusions are a distortion of the mind and prevent the sufferer from obtaining a self-awareness of the situation.  Anyone who tries to explain to them that the plot against them is not real will also be considered a conspirator, sent to confuse and disseminate false information.  Medication becomes a must in this situation in order to curb the symptoms enough that the person can understand that they need help.

Paranoid Hallucinations

Another problematic symptom surrounding this type of schizophrenia is that of the hallucination.  Hallucinations, as opposed to delusions which are a distortion of thinking, are distorions of perception.  Normal perceptions are somehow filtered and become quite disturbing.  Since they are unsettling, they cause the experiencer a certain amount of anxiety which usually leads to the hallucinations to take on a sinister tone.  These can affect any of the five external senses and even the internal sense of thinking.  A person may see objects that do not exist or will see distorted versions of objects that are verifiably there.  The same goes with hearing in which a person may hear a running commentary in their head, criticizing all of their actions and thoughts.  They may also hear music or other noises that are either not there or are distorted versions of real sounds.  Smelling strange smells such as decomposing flesh, burning hair, or unidentifiable odors is common, along with feelings along the skin which can lead to the delusion that one is covered or has bugs crawling underneath their skin.  This, combined with a delusion of persecution, can lead one to believe that the government or extraterrestrials have implanted devices under their skin in order to track their location or read their minds.  Hallucinations can become very severe and will also require medication in order to cease their activity.

Paranoid Schizophrenia Treatment

There are many angles that this psychological difficulty should be approached from.

Medication

The first step in treating paranoid schizophrenia should be the administration of medication.  Unfortunately, this may require an intervention by family members and professional members of the medical and psychiatric society.  Having a police officer present is important to ensure everyone’s safety and that the individual suffering from these symptoms does not have his or her personal rights violated.  Because the individual may not realize there is a problem arising in their cognition, they will fight the need for treatment, but once the person can be made to be medicated the symptoms will subside enough for them to regain self-awareness.  Even then, a maintenance level of medication will be involved.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Beyond this, some form of therapy will be required.  I am a large proponent of cognitive-behavioral therapy which emphasizes the behaviors of the mind.  A person should be prompted to begin keeping a journal of when and where their symptoms flare up in order to understand what could be triggering them in the environment or mind.  This is the first step in gaining self-awareness.  Once this is understood and a person can begin monitoring and managing their environment, then they can be trained to watch out for “red flags.”  When a symptom of delusion or hallucination begins to rear it’s ugly head, the person should immediately notice it and then perform certain de-escalation techniques they have learned from their therapist.  In this manner, they can keep their anxiety levels low and their symptomatic expressions under control.

Conclusion and Summary

Paranoid schizophrenia is one of the several types of schizophrenia, however it is the type that most people think of when considering the topic.  It features certain positive symptoms that are termed delusions and hallucinations which are distortions of thinking and perception, respectively.  Due to the lack of self-awareness in the paranoid schizophrenic, an intervention may be required first before beginning a regimen of medication.  Once self-awareness is regained, cognitive-behavioral therapy support can occur.  This is a horrifying experience for people, quite otherworldly, and will be difficult to integrate even after treatment.  Family and social support is a must to help the sufferer stay on the track to recovery.

4 Comments

  1. This really suits exactly what I am experiencing. I’m always seeing and feeling something I know of so strange. While I was inside the taxi, I’ve seen people on the sidewalk, people are just like plain white without faces. I’m so sure what I saw. And the road, it’s like it’s changing into new places. I’m not experiencing psychotic episodes all the time within a day, but everyday I have new stories. Another story, I’m putting cream on my arms, I suddenly smelt it like it smells totally like pizza. I’d like to go and see a doctor, but my mother scolded me because she does not believe at all. She doesn’t support me, so I feel awkward to tell more stories about my condition. What can I do?? I’m 16. Please kindly response. Thank you very much.

    • Call the NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) hotline 1-800-950-6264 or http://www.nami.org and they will be able to guide you to the proper phone number to call in your state.

      Help is for those who want it and you have taken the first step by seeking help…Good Luck

  2. May I ask who wrote the article?

    • The Schiz Life team did!

Click Your State to View the Surrounding Schizophrenia Treatment Centers

To view the the schizophrenia treatment centers in your local area, please click the state in which you live on the map above or find your state in the alphabetized links above. Each respective page will lists the name, address, and contact number for each individual treatment center. You may also visit the top level page of the directory by clicking here and navigate further from there.
Read the description and visit the personal webpage of each treatment center to find out more information. You can contact them from there, but we understand that this is a tedious and intimidating process, so we've provided a form you can fill out with the requested information and we'll set you up with the most appropriate treatment center for your needs.
If you require further assistance, please don't hesitate to contact us at Schiz Life. We are here to serve the needs of the schizophrenia community and are happy to do so!

Schiz Life - Living With Schizophrenia

living with schizophrenia
For many of us, living with schizophrenia is our reality. And instead of struggling with the wish of how things “could be,” we finally come to an acceptance of our predicament and ultimately we embrace the fact of our lives: We are people dealing with schizophrenia. So then the question becomes not “Why” we suffer from this illness, but “How” we will cope and continue to enjoy our lives. We certainly will not give up! We have every right to demand the niceties, freedoms, and enjoyments of life to which all living creatures are entitled. This is what Schiz Life is all about.

Mission Statement Concerning Schizophrenia Information and Culture

Schiz Life serves to…

  • • Provide a safe haven for persons who wish to converse, cope, and share their experiences with schizophrenia in a positive manner in an attempt to celebrate the beauty of life, especially concerning our unique perspective on existence.
  • • Provide the highest quality of information concerning our psychological difficulties, including a frame of reference on the symptoms, treatment, history, and the future of schizophrenia.
  • • Take corrective action to dispel the myths and stigma surrounding schizophrenia, such as false ideas surrounding the cause, associations with violence, and others, all being perpetuated by the media by providing truth through scientific research and statistics.

Schiz Life intends to achieve this goal in the following manner:

The Schiz Life Schizophrenia Action Plan

  1. 1. We will continue to take advantage of internet outreach, contacting news agencies and other medical bloggers in hopes that they will join us in raising awareness of schizophrenia.
  2. 2. We will continue to promote this website through video and media outlets, including the dissemination of informational videos and graphics such as the first official schizophrenia infographic.
  3. 3. We will all contribute where possible off-line, including at health expo’s, psychology conferences, and any other relevant opportunity to spread the good word.

Thank You for Your Part in the Schizophrenia Journey!

We all thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for playing your role in the developing journey surrounding schizophrenia awareness and research. With all of our combined efforts, we will change the way the world perceives this illness and we will advance the medical efforts of professionals in their search for a cure and effective medicines. Thank you again!

Do Your Part!

Do you know of a great schizophrenia resource out there? Let us know! Do you see a person in need inside the comments of this site? Lend them some advice or encouragement! Are you a graphic designer or artist? Show us your work and I'm sure we can find some way to include your skills here on the site. Are you a writer who would like to contribute to the site? Shoot us an email and we'll discuss it. This site is for all of us and excludes none of us. Contact us for any reason and get involved!

Who Else is Helping?

Our content has been linked to or distributed by...

Mental Health TalkHealthy DebateTechnorati
Wellness WordworksVisuallyexaminer

...and also the sites listed below and more!

Try This Quick Schizophrenia Mini-Quiz:

This is but a quick quiz to test your general knowledge of schizophrenia. If you would like to take the extended and in-depth quiz, venture over to our Schizophrenia Quiz page and see just how much you know! Try the Schizophrenia Test to gauge your symptom levels.

Schizophrenia Quiz Directions: Please select the correct answer for each question and then press the button below to grade your quiz.

1. What is the term for perceiving stimuli that doesn't exist?




2. Which is NOT a type of schizophrenia?




3. Which of the following is a symptom of schizophrenia?




4. How common is schizophrenia in the general population?




5. Who can diagnose a case of schizophrenia?




6. How can schizophrenia be treated?




7. Are the causes of schizophrenia genetic or environmental?




8. What is the most common age of onset?




9. Catatonia is categorized as what type of symptom?




10. Is Schiz Life the best website about schizophrenia?




 

Show me the answers!

 

Question 1: The correct answer is the Hallucination.
Question 2: The correct answer is Hyperlipid.
Question 3: The correct answer is All of the Above.
Question 4: The correct answer is 1%.
Question 5: The correct answer is A Doctor.
Question 6: The correct answer is All of the Above Should Be Used.
Question 7: The correct answer is Both.
Question 8: The correct answer is 25.
Question 9: The correct answer is Negative.
Question 10: The correct answer is DON'T BE A PARTY POOPER!.
You answered them all right! Good job! You know a little something about schizophrenia, don't you!

 

How To Use This Site

If you're brand new to this site, it might look overwhelming until you get a sense of where things are at.  Schiz Life is a content-based site, much like a newspaper or a magazine.  However, we focus strictly and solely on schizophrenia.  So where does all of this content reside?  We have decided to separate our articles into several categories, as described below:

Basics

This category will be of the most interest to those who wish to gain a very broad but shallower overview of the entirety of the academic view of schizophrenia.  We cover all of the topics you'd expect to find in an abnormal psychology text book here, and at a similar depth.  It is a great introduction to this illness and will guide you further along into deeper topics.

Knowledge

We cover various angles such as statistics, research, and more factually based views of schizophrenia and place them in this category.  One could say that it is almost a repository for article that don't fit into the other categories, but it is more than that.  Go check it to find out more!

Treatment

The name says it all.  This category of content covers all topics related to the treatment and prevention of schizophrenia and its relapses.  We've started with the empirically sound and scientifically backed methods first, but we intend to venture into more holistic and alternative therapies as well.  Without investigating all options, progress wont' be made, and so we do.

Symptoms

There are countless symptoms involved in schizophrenia. We cover them in depth in this category, including the positive (outward) and negative (inward) symptoms of every type of this disorder.  There is much to read here, so if a particular symptom is giving you or a loved one trouble, this is the place to go and learn more about it.

Coping

What use is all of this information when we simply don't feel good enough to read it and learn?  The category for coping provides many ideas that you can apply to your own life to help you maintain the best health possible, physically, psychologically, and spiritually.  Schizophrenia is a mental illness that some of us simply cannot escape, but we can learn to live with it, minimize its problematic aspects, and take advantage of some of the aspects it unlocks within us that others don't have!

Culture

Let's face it.  People are afraid of what they don't understand.  This category addresses the cultural issue of schizophrenia and it's impacts on the way we are treated or perceived by the masses.  It is up to us to represent ourselves in the best light and to combat the myths and misunderstandings that exist in the world concerning our plight.  Learn about these issues here and apply them in your lives!

Spectrum

There are other classifications of illnesses that are very closely related to schizophrenia.  The only differences might just be a research label actually, but we have found it useful to place these articles in a category of their own.  We deal with schizophreniform and psychosis disorders and their respective symptoms here.

Spirituality

While the medical community deals with schizophrenia as a psychological or physical disorder of the brain, those of us who actually experience it know it is much more.  It is a philosophical, spiritual, metaphysical, and mythological issue.  Coming to terms with this, confronting it, integrating it, and reconciling it leads to much higher functioning not only as an individual diagnosed with schizophrenia but as a member of society in general.  We have a deeper access to this aspect of life and have a great opportunity for learning and healing.

Artwork

Many of us past and present have chosen to express ourselves through the arts.  Whether this is painting and drawing, poetry, dancing, or any other artform, it is healthy and beautiful.  We are writing biographies, displaying artwork, and welcoming submissions from our own community to be included here in this category!  Please submit if you have something to share!

News

The internet has opened up the world.  There is a constant flow of news concerning our illness but you wouldn't know it by watching the television.  We cover new research topics, treatment modalities, and nationwide and worldwide coverage of schizophrenia or incidents related to it in this category!

Other Items

We have also included other items of interest throughout our website.  For instance, we are producing a series of infographics to help educate the public on this topic.  We also are collecting and reviewing books concerning the illness.  In addition, we have created a directory for the United States of all treatment facilities and hospitals that have staff that are trained to work with schizophrenia cases.  Please look around and find these sections and more.

Disclaimer

There is something that was slightly mentioned in the footer of the site, but that could be overlooked easily so we felt it was the responsible thing to do to create a large disclaimer to be displayed here on the homepage.  This has to do completely with safety.  Let us explain.

Individual Uniqueness

unique individualEvery individual on this planet is a unique person.  Even more so, those of us dealing with this special psychological difficulty are even more unique, if that makes sense.  On this site, we are talking about one of the most complex brain mysteries ever and it expresses itself through every person differently.  Every case is going to have it's own peculiarities and all we are able to do in the articles on the site is speak in generalities.  We invite anyone to leave appropriate comments and engage in discussion, however we can't take responsibility for their words.  Nor can we take responsibility for the actions of any individual or group who have at one time or another visited our website.

Always Consult a Medical Professional

medical professionalIf you find yourself in a situation where you're trying to learn more about your condition or are trying to cope through a moment of crisis, please do not act upon any of the information listed on this site, whether in the main content or comments, without first corroborating the accuracy of the info with a medical professional first.  Reach out to a general practitioner, psychiatrist, psychologist, or counselor.  Even then it's always helpful to have a second opinion from a separate professional as well.  Again, we must stress... always act with safety as the foremost concern, and this means consulting professionals before engaging in any practice intended to treat your condition.

Please Be Considerate About Delusions

delusion discussionWe understand that delusions can be very confusing and convincing.  We also understand that delusions can center around topics that simply are too philosophical to be proven wrong or correct and thus are tempting to explore in-depth.  We have no problem with this exploration as long as it is not harmful to those discussing it.  Please use your best discretion in this regard.  If the staff of Schiz Life step in and begin deleting comments or halting a conversation, please respect their decision and understand it is not personal.

Investigating delusions is encouraged.  Delusions are interesting due to their nature of being understood as strange and outside the norm of the culture of the experiencer, but there is a vast number of individuals visiting this site from many cultures.  There is a subtle difference between discussing these topics, and encouraging or trolling.  Please find that balance and abide by the above suggestions.

We also, under no circumstances, will tolerate anyone discussing or suggesting harming themselves or others.  Past-tense symptom discussion in this regard is fine, but nothing in the future tense will be allowed.

General Discussion Guidelines

We encourage discussion in the comments as much as possible and are looking into offering a forum and personal blogs as well.  In all of these mediums when carrying on conversation, there are some useful questions to ask yourself before posting that comment or response.

The main question to ask yourself is the following:

Is what I'm about to post going to help and support or will it further entrench illness and suffering?

Please consider this as you enjoy Schiz Life.  Try not to post angry or hurtful comments.  Try not to criticize or blame others.  Be as supportive, encouraging, and respecting as you can.  Accepting and negotiating differences is key to carrying on constructive conversation.

Remember, there is a real person on the other side of the screen.  It's easy to assume the other person is in a similar situation as yourself, but you don't know the extent of their emotions, symptoms, nor their age or even gender.

Let's Do This Together!

Let's have a supportive and comforting community where we all feel open and able to share as much as possible.  If you receive support from someone, please pay that forward and try to help out someone else.  If we all do this, we should all be okay!  Thank you for reading and enjoying this thing we are building together.

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