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Sam Agnew

Sam Agnew

Psychotherapist /Life Coach
Given Sessions:over 2500hours
Working with:Individuals,Couples,&Teen
Area:LGBTQIA+,ADHD,PTSD,CPTSD, Anxiety,Dyslexia,Dyspraxia,Dyscalculia

Understanding Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Care

Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It is often misunderstood and stigmatised, leading to misconceptions about its causes, symptoms, and treatment options. We will explore the various aspects of schizophrenia to provide a clearer understanding of this condition.

With Schizophrenia Therapy you can :

  • Improve Focus and Concentration
  • Increased Self-Esteem
  • Enhanced Emotional Regulation
  • Effective Coping Strategies
  • Improved Relationships

Guiding voices toward harmony: Schizophrenia Therapy for a balanced mind.

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Schizophrenia Counseling

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder characterised by disruptions in thought processes, perceptions, emotions, and behaviour. People with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thinking, and difficulty in expressing emotions. It typically emerges in late adolescence or early adulthood and can have a profound impact on a person's life. If you find yourself thinking "I think I have schizophrenia," it's crucial to seek professional help for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Understanding schizophrenia is essential for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. It's important to differentiate schizophrenia from other mental health conditions, such as bipolar disorder, autism, depression, OCD, and psychosis. Each condition has distinct symptoms and treatment approaches.

Schizophrenia in women and men

While schizophrenia affects both men and women, there may be differences in symptom presentation and response to treatment. Women with schizophrenia may experience symptoms differently, and hormonal changes during pregnancy and menopause can impact the course of the illness.

What are the causes of schizophrenia?

The exact schizophrenia cause is not fully understood. However, research suggests that a combination of genetic, environmental, and neurological factors contribute to its development. Here's a breakdown of these potential causes:

Genetic Factors: There is evidence to suggest that genetics play a significant role in the development of schizophrenia. Individuals with a family history of the disorder are at a higher risk of developing it themselves.

Neurobiological Factors: Abnormalities in brain structure and function are commonly observed in individuals with schizophrenia.

Environmental Factors: Prenatal exposure to viruses, malnutrition, stress and anxiety during pregnancy, and complications during birth have all been associated with an increased risk of schizophrenia later in life. Additionally, exposure to certain psychosocial stressors during childhood or adolescence, such as trauma, abuse or addiction, may also contribute to the development of the disorder.

Brain Development: Disruptions in brain development during critical periods, particularly in utero and during adolescence, may increase susceptibility to schizophrenia.

Substance Abuse: Drugs such as cannabis, LSD, and amphetamines can exacerbate symptoms or trigger the onset of schizophrenia in vulnerable individuals.

What are symptoms of schizophrenia?

Recognizing the signs of schizophrenia, including early signs of schizophrenia in adults and childhood signs, is crucial for early intervention and treatment.


- Hallucinations: Auditory hallucinations, such as hearing voices, are the most common type experienced by individuals with schizophrenia.
- Delusions: Common delusions in schizophrenia include paranoid delusions (believing that others are plotting against them), grandiose delusions (believing they have special powers or abilities), and delusions of reference (believing that ordinary events have special significance).
- Disorganised Thinking and Speech: Schizophrenia often causes disruptions in thought processes, leading to disorganised thinking and speech patterns.
- Abnormal Motor Behaviour: People with schizophrenia may exhibit abnormal motor behaviour, such as repetitive movements, catatonia (immobility or excessive movement), or unusual postures.


- Flat affect refers to a lack of emotional expression, where individuals may appear emotionally unresponsive or indifferent to stimuli.
- Individuals with schizophrenia may withdraw from social interactions and activities, preferring to spend time alone rather than with others.
- Anhedonia refers to a reduced ability to experience pleasure or enjoyment from activities that were once enjoyable. This can lead to a loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies or activities.
- Avolition, or a lack of motivation, is another common negative symptom of schizophrenia.

What are the forms of schizophrenia

The concept of different forms or subtypes of schizophrenia has changed over time. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), identifies several subtypes of schizophrenia based on predominant symptoms and clinical presentation.

Paranoid Schizophrenia Paranoid: schizophrenia is characterised by prominent delusions and hallucinations, often centred around themes of persecution or grandiosity. People with paranoid schizophrenia may believe that others are plotting against them or that they possess special powers or abilities.

Disorganised Schizophrenia: (formerly Hebephrenic) Disorganised schizophrenia is marked by disorganised thinking, speech, and behaviour problems. Individuals with this subtype may exhibit inappropriate emotional responses, difficulty forming coherent thoughts, and erratic or unpredictable behaviour.

Catatonic Schizophrenia: Catatonic schizophrenia is characterised by disturbances in movement and behaviour. People with catatonia may experience periods of extreme immobility (catatonic stupor) or excessive and purposeless movement (catatonic excitement). They may also exhibit unusual postures or grimaces.

Residual Schizophrenia: Residual schizophrenia refers to a chronic but stable phase of the disorder in which prominent positive symptoms (hallucinations, delusions) have diminished, but negative symptoms (such as social withdrawal, reduced emotional expression) persist.

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia: Undifferentiated schizophrenia is diagnosed when symptoms do not clearly fit into any of the above subtypes or when the individual exhibits a combination of symptoms from multiple subtypes.

Treatments for schizophrenia

Treatment for schizophrenia typically involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and psychosocial interventions aimed at managing symptoms, improving functioning, and enhancing quality of life. Here are the main treatments for schizophrenia:

Antipsychotic Medications: Antipsychotic medications, also known as neuroleptics, are the cornerstone of pharmacological treatment for schizophrenia. Newer atypical antipsychotics have been developed with fewer side effects compared to older typical antipsychotics.

Psychosocial Therapies: Psychosocial therapies are essential components of schizophrenia treatment and can help individuals learn coping skills, improve social functioning, and enhance quality of life. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Family Therapy Individual Therapy Social Skills Training

Supported Employment and Education: These programs help individuals with schizophrenia find and maintain employment or pursue educational goals by providing vocational training, job placement assistance, and ongoing support in the workplace or school setting.

Housing and Community Support Services: These provide stable and supportive living environments for individuals with schizophrenia, including group homes, supported housing programs, and case management services to help access resources and navigate the healthcare system.

Physical Health Management: People with schizophrenia are at increased risk for physical health problems, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Integrated Treatment Approach: Many individuals with schizophrenia benefit from an integrated treatment approach that combines medication management, psychotherapy, and psychosocial interventions tailored to their specific needs and preferences.

Living with schizophrenia

Living with schizophrenia presents unique challenges, yet with resilience, support, and understanding, individuals affected by the condition can lead fulfilling lives. It requires embracing a holistic approach to wellness, incorporating medication management, therapy, and lifestyle adjustments. Coping with symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and disorganised thinking demands patience and self-awareness. Building a supportive network of family, friends, and mental health professionals is crucial for navigating the ups and downs of the condition.

Marriage with a schizophrenic spouse

Marriage to a spouse with schizophrenia can present unique challenges, but with understanding, patience, and support, many couples are able to build strong and fulfilling relationships.

Educating yourself about schizophrenia, fostering open communication, and offering unconditional love and encouragement are essential. Prioritising self-care, maintaining a sense of optimism, and celebrating successes together can strengthen the bond between partners and promote resilience in the face of challenges.

While marriage to a spouse with schizophrenia may require extra effort and flexibility, with mutual respect, empathy, and commitment, couples can overcome obstacles and build a fulfilling life together. Marriage therapy can also be beneficial in providing couples with tools and strategies to navigate the unique challenges they may face, improve communication, and strengthen their relationship bonds.

Schizophrenia in teenagers

Schizophrenia can manifest in teenagers, presenting unique challenges for both the affected individual and their family. While schizophrenia typically emerges in late adolescence or early adulthood, it's crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms early to facilitate prompt intervention and support.

Teenagers with schizophrenia may exhibit changes in behaviour, such as social withdrawal, declining academic performance, or unusual beliefs and perceptions. They may also experience hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thinking, and difficulty expressing emotions. Diagnosing schizophrenia in teenagers can be complicated by the overlapping symptoms with typical adolescent development and other mental health conditions. Additionally, teenagers with schizophrenia may struggle with low self-esteem, feelings of loneliness, and may be at increased risk for self-harm, eating disorder, and co-occurring conditions such as ADHD. Therefore, it's essential for healthcare professionals to conduct thorough assessments and provide comprehensive support and treatment tailored to the individual's needs.

Therefore, early detection and accurate diagnosis by a qualified mental health professional are essential.

Family involvement in treatment and support is crucial for fostering understanding, communication, and adherence to treatment.

Additionally, providing a supportive and nurturing environment, advocating for appropriate educational accommodations, and connecting with peer support networks can help teenagers with schizophrenia navigate the challenges of their condition and work towards achieving their goals.

How can counselling help with schizophrenia?

Counselling can play a valuable role in the overall treatment and management of schizophrenia by providing individuals with coping strategies, support, and a safe space to explore their thoughts and feelings. Here's how counselling can help individuals with schizophrenia:

- Understanding and Coping with Symptoms
- Improving Communication Skills
- Addressing Emotional Challenges
- Setting and Achieving Goals
- Building Social Skills and Support Networks
- Addressing Co-occurring Issues
- Promoting Self-Advocacy and Empowerment
- Supporting Family Members

Getting help from TimeToBetter

TimeToBetter offers online counselling services to support individuals living with schizophrenia. Our platform provides access to highly qualified counsellors who specialise in schizophrenia care, offering personalised support and guidance. Whether you're looking to address nutritional imbalances, build self-confidence, or manage negative thoughts, our nutrition and life coaches are here to help.

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