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Mental Health FAQ
Answers to your questions on various mental health topics
Replies: 11Last Post Dec. 19, 2010 4:50pm by greatescape
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Web Resources: Suicide Myths Dispelled, Suicide Information
USA Suicide Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433)
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This FAQ is being made in an effort to consolidate the wealth of information that has emerged over the years in a more organized, readable manner. Links to old sources can be found under their respective cateories.

In this FAQ:


  • What are common psychological disorders/problems?   Here
  • Depression Information  Here
  • Anxiety and panic disorders  Here
  • Bipolar Disorder  Here
  • Phobias  Here
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder  Here
  • Schizophrenia & other information on abnormal/problematic perception disorders  Here
  • Self harm  Here
  • Suicide Here
  • HELPLINES Here
  • Overcoming adversity/Resources not yet listed Here

Click if you are experiencing an emergency and/or feel suicidal.

Post edited at 4:51 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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Common psychological disorders/problems

This is a list of common psychological disorders or problems that may arise in this forum.  This serves as a quick reference as to what each is.  For more in depth information on each, please read the guides further down in the topic.  

Don't see your problem or issue on this list?  Check out other forums for topics like addiction and substance use, eating disorders, physical health issues, disabilities and pregnancy and parenting support.

Depression

What is it?: Depression is often described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps for a period of time than is "normal".  Clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for a long period of time.
What are the most common symptoms?: Agitation, restlessness, irritability, dramatic change in appetite, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and inappropriate guilt,
withdrawal from usual activities, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities, thoughts of death or suicide, trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping

Anxiety Disorder

What is it?: Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a pattern of frequent, constant worry and anxiety over any variety or combination of events or subjects.
What are the most common symptoms?: The almost constant presence of worry or tension with  little or no cause, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, irritability, problems falling or staying asleep, sleep that is often restless and unsatisfying, restlessness or feeling keyed up or "on the edge," muscle tension, shakiness, headaches.

Panic Disorder/Panic Attacks

What is it?: Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which someone has repeated attacks of intense fear that something bad will occur when not expected. These attacks are called Panic attacks. A person can experience a panic attack without having panic disorder.
What are the most common symptoms?: A panic attack occurs suddenly and usually lasts 10-20 minutes. The person experiences chest pain or discomfort, dizziness or faintness, fear of dying, fear of losing control or impending doom, feeling of choking, feelings of detachment, feelings of unreality, nausea or upset stomach, numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or face, palpitations, fast heart rate, or pounding heart, sensation of shortness of breath or smothering, sweating, chills, or hot flashes. Panic disorder is the frequent prevalence of panic attacks, trembling or shaking

Bi-polar disorder (Manic Depressive Disorder)

What is it?: Disorder involving periods of elevated or irritable mood (mania), alternating with periods of depression. The "mood swings" between mania and depression can be very abrupt.
What are the most common symptoms?: Mania: Agitation or irritation, inflated self-esteem (delusions of grandeur, false beliefs in special abilities), little need for sleep, noticeably elevated mood, hyperactivity, increased energy, lack of self-control, racing thoughts, over-involvement in activities, poor temper control, reckless behavior, binge eating, drinking, and/or drug use, impaired judgment, sexual promiscuity, spending sprees, tendency to be easily distracted.  Depression: Daily low mood, difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions, eating disturbances, loss of appetite and weight loss, overeating and weight gain, fatigue or listlessness, feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and/or guilt, loss of self-esteem, persistent sadness, persistent thoughts of death, sleep disturbances, excessive sleepiness, inability to sleep, suicidal thoughts, withdrawal from activities that were once enjoyed

Schizophrenia

What is it?: A mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
What are the most common symptoms?: Appearance or mood that shows no emotion (flat affect), bizarre movements that show less of a reaction to the environment (catatonic behavior), false beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions), hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations), problems with thinking, problems paying attention, thoughts "jump" between unrelated topics (disordered thinking)

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

What is it?: A type of anxiety disorder. Someone with OCD will likely have repeated, upsetting thoughts called obsessions. In order to make these thoughts go away, one engages in ritualistic behaviors. Those repeated actions are called compulsions.
What are the most common symptoms?: Obsessive thoughts about some theme or idea (germs, death, blood, pornography, etc) that often makes the sufferer uncomfortable. Compulsions such as washing and cleaning, counting, checking, demanding reassurances, performing the same action repeatedly, orderliness

Post edited at 4:52 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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Depression

Depression is often described as feeling sad, blue, unhappy, miserable, or down in the dumps for a period of time than is "normal". Clinical depression is a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, loss, anger, or frustration interfere with everyday life for a long period of time.

Symptoms: It's normal to feel down or low from time to time; especially when dealing with stressful or traumatic life events. Depression is different from this in that it is long lasting and generally more severe.


  • Agitation, restlessness, and irritability
  • Noticeable change in appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and lack of energy
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, and guilt
  • Inactivity and withdrawal from usual activities, a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyed
  • Decrease in sex drive
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Trouble sleeping or excessive sleeping
  • Increased drug or alcohol use
  • In severe cases, hallucinations or delusions are possible

Disorder Spectrum

Major Depression: A major depressive episode consists of the presence of a severely depressed mood. The mood must last for at least two weeks for it to be considered major depression. The episodes can range from mild, to severe to psychotic.
The DSM-IV dis not count cases of depression that result from environmental factors such as bereavement, however these episodes can evolve into major depression if it doesn't improve.

Dysthymia: The main symptom of dysthymia is low, dark, or sad mood nearly every day for at least 2 years. Other symptoms that are present in major depression are often still present. The symptoms are less severe than in patients with major depression.

Postpartum depression:An intense and long lasting depression experienced by women after giving birth. The onset occurs within one month of delivery and can last as long as three months

Seasonal Affect Disorder: A form of depression that occurs in fall or winter, and usually lasts throughout the season. Symptoms will fade or disappear come spring.

Commonly Asked Questions

Can't I just snap out of it?: Not for most people. Depression is a medical illness which affects the brain, which then affects the rest of the body. Having a positive outlook helps , but the very nature of depression is a lack of positive outlook. Most people need outside help.
Who gets depression most often?: Across all nations and cultures, it was found that twice as many women experience depression as men. The disparity has been explained by concerns about social acceptance and fitting in, more ruminating, and lower socio-economic position
What about men?: Men tend to express their inner hurt in other ways, such as anger, irritability, aggression, and antisocial behavior. Some believe that the DSM is not conducive to diagnosis of depression in men.
How common is it?: 7% of men and 20% of women suffer an episode of clinical depression during their life (US)
What are some common triggers or causes of depression?: Family history of depression, the loss of a loved one through death, divorce, or separation, interpersonal disputes, physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, major life changes, serious illness, substance abuse and social isolation.
Do most people with depression commit suicide?: No. Most people who suffer from depression do not attempt suicide, but according to the National Mental Health Association, 30-70% of suicide victims have suffered from some form of depression.

Treatment

Therapy: Therapy can be effective in reducing negative thinking, thought patterns and reasoning. Often people with depression have formed extremely negative conclusions about life. Therapy works to correct these thoughts.

Medication: Medication is most effective when used with therapy. There are many types; and they all work different for each person.


  • Citalopram (Celexa)
  • Escitalopram (Lexapro)
  • Fluoxetine (Prozac, Prozac Weekly)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil, Paxil CR, Pexeva)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): A treatment that causes a seizure through the transmission of an electrical current. It has been proven to improve the mood of severely depressed or suicidal people who don't respond to other treatments.

Lifestyle changes: Avoiding alcohol and drugs, eat healthy food, get regular exercise and sleep, seek supportive relationships, avoid destructive habits (such as self injury)

Depression Resources:
Helping those with depression & Finding a good therapist (by Tempral)
Five tips for combating depression by Ravenous Notion
If you have a pulse you have a purpose by Bona Fide
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
Mental Health America
Depression Coping Guide
1on1 health

Post edited at 4:52 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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Anxiety and Panic Disorders

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a pattern of frequent, constant worry and anxiety over any variety or combination of events or subjects.  Panic disorder is a type of anxiety disorder in which someone has repeated attacks of intense fear that something bad will occur when not expected.   These attacks are called Panic attacks.  A person can experience a panic attack without having panic disorder.

Symptoms

Generalized Anxiety Disorder:


  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Uncontrollable worry
  • Excessive anxiety and worry that goes beyond practical given the context
  • Excessive sweating, palpitations, shortness of breath, and stomach/intestinal symptoms
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension -- shakiness, headaches
  • Restlessness or feeling "on the edge"
  • Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep; or restless, unsatisfying sleep)
  • Depression or substance abuse sometimes begins or worsens

Panic Attacks


  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness or faintness
  • Fear of dying
  • Fear of losing control
  • Feeling of choking
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Feelings of unreality
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Palpitations or pounding heart
  • Sensation of shortness of breath
  • Sweating, chills, or hot flashes
  • Trembling or shaking

Disorder Spectrum

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: The DSM-IV dictates that feelings of "excessive anxiety and worry" about a variety of events and situations must persist for 6 months or longer, and are difficult to control or manage.

Panic Disorder: The DSM-IV-TR diagnostic criteria for panic disorder requires unexpected, recurrent panic attacks, followed in at least once instance by at least a month of a significant and related behavior change, a persistent concern of more attacks.

Agoraphobia: Agoraphobia is a fear of being in public and/or unfamiliar places, especially large, open spaces.  It may arise by the fear of having a panic attack or because of social anxiety problems

Social Anxiety: An anxiety disorder characterized by intense fear in social situations that causes considerable distress and impaired ability to function.  The disorder can affect general social situations (overall fear of being judged or looked down on) or specific social situations in which the sufferer is uncomfortable (such as eating in public)

Treatment

Therapy: Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common form of therapy for those suffering from anxiety or panic disorders. This therapy seeks to treat the relationships behind the cause of the anxiety and their behavioral manifestations. Other forms of therapy also work on relaxation techniques, ways of identifying and stopping a panic attack, and lifestyle changes to prevent them.

Medication: SSRI's, SNRI's, antiseizure medications and (less commonly) Benzodiazepines are used to treat anxiety disorders

Lifestyle changes: Your doctor may recommend a change in diet, quitting smoking, changes in sleep patterns or changes in day to day activities.

Anxiety/Panic Disorder Resources:
Panic Disorder by Me2u
A guide to anxiety and how to deal with it by Reynard
Anxiety Help Net
Anxiety Zone
NIMH Page
How to help someone having a panic attack

Post edited at 4:53 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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Bi-polar disorder

Disorder involving periods of elevated or irritable mood (mania), alternating with periods of depression. The "mood swings" between mania and depression can be very abrupt.

Symptoms: Bi-polar disorder consists of two states of emotion-an extreme period of mania followed by depression. Each state has different symptoms.
Mania:


  • Agitation or irritation
  • Elevated mood
  • Hyperactivity
  • Increased energy
  • Lack of self-control
  • Racing thoughts
  • Inflated self-esteem (delusions of grandeur, false beliefs in special abilities)
  • Little need for sleep
  • Over-involvement in activities
  • Poor temper control/Reckless behavior
  • Binge eating, drinking, and/or drug use
  • Impaired judgment
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Spending sprees
  • Tendency to be easily distracted

Depression:

  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Eating disturbances
  • Loss of appetite and weight loss
  • Overeating and weight gain
  • Fatigue or listlessness
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness and/or guilt
  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Persistent sadness
  • Persistent thoughts of death
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Inability to sleep
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Withdrawal from activities that were once enjoyed
  • Withdrawal from friends

Disorder Spectrum

Bipolar I: In order to be diagnosed with Bipolar I, and individual must have suffered from at least one full blown manic episode, or mixed episode of mania and depression.

Bipolar II: No manic episodes, but one or more hypomanic episodes and one or more major depressive episode. A bipolar II diagnosis is not a guarantee that they will not eventually suffer from such an episode in the future. Hypomanic episodes do not go to the full extremes of mania and are often hard to diagnose.

Cyclothymia: A history of hypomanic episodes with periods of depression that do not meet criteria for major depressive episodes. There is a low-grade cycling of mood which may appear at face value as a personality trait, and interferes with functioning.

Bipolar Disorder NOS: Bioplar disorder "Not Otherwise Specified". Used for those who display symptoms of bipolar disorder/cyclothymia but do not meet the DSM-IV criteria for them

Commonly Asked Questions

How common is it? Bipolar I has a prevalence of 3-5% for both sexes
I have a lot of mood swings. Am I bipolar? Not necessarily. It's a common misconception that being moody is a sign of bipolar disorder. In fact, a lot of perfectly normal people can have mood swings from time to time. In order to be clinically classified as bipolar, you must exhibit several of the symptoms listed above in the "mania" and "depressed" categories. These symptoms generally persist for more than a few hours/days as well.
I've heard of rapid-cycling bipolar disorder. Could that explain my moodiness? Again, not necessarily. People who suffer from rapid cycling bipolar disorder generally switch from one to the other without any provocation; and the shifts are dramatic. It's important to note that if you're concerned about your moodiness, you should always talk to a doctor. There are a wide range of causes for unpleasant mood shifts.
What if I have bipolar disorder and a substance use problem? The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration recommends treating both illnesses simultaneously, ideally in an integrated setting in the same facility, at the very least with the different treatment providers working together.
Does bipolar disorder affect other areas of the body? Yes, people with bipolar disorder die seven years younger than those in the general population, independent of suicide. The risk of heart disease is doubled in people with depression, and a previous depression is often the greatest risk factor for heart disease and other ills, over smoking, drinking, high blood sugar, and previous heart attacks. Depression has also been connected to diabetes, bone loss, stroke, irritable bowel syndrome, and possibly cancer.
What causes bipolar disorder? We don't know for sure, though we do know that genes predispose people to the illness, and that stress can trigger an episode. Various neurotransmitter systems such as dopamine and glutamate also tend to loom large. Inside the neuron, there is a lot of talk about signal transduction pathways that are responsible for optimizing cellular function. In turn, ion channels that penetrate the cell membrane act as sort of go-betweens between neurotransmitters and signal pathways. There is also some evidence that vitamin or mineral deficiencies may play a role. In all likelihood, several processes are occurring at once, and not necessarily the same ones individual to individual.

Treatment

Hospitalization: You may need professional, supervised care if you experiencing a severe state of mania or depression, and are a risk to yourself or others.  A hospital visit may also be called for if you are incapable of caring for yourself due to the disorder.

Medications: There are a number of medications available to treat BPD.  There is no one "right medication", it's different from person to person.  Your doctor may try different medications or combinations of medications to see what's best for you.


  • Lithium: Lithium (Lithobid, others) is the most common treatment for bipolar disorder.  It is effective at stabilizing mood and preventing the extreme highs and lows of certain categories of bipolar disorder.
  • Anticonvulsants: (Depakene, Depakote, Lamictal). The medication asenapine (Saphris) may be helpful in treating mixed episodes.
  • Antidepressants:  For some people with bipolar disorder, antidepressants can trigger manic episodes, but are very effective when taken with a mood stabilizer.
  • Antipsychotics:  (Zyprexa, Risperdal, Seroquel), May help people who don't gain benefits from anticonvulsants
  • Symbyax: Combines the antidepressant fluoxetine and the antipsychotic olanzapine - it works as a depression treatment and a mood stabilizer.
  • Benzodiazepines: Anti-anxiety medications may help with anxiety and improve sleep

Therapy: Different types of therapy are useful to different people, and within each phase of the disorder. Support groups have been found to be especially helpful to those dealing with bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder resources:
Bipolar Help Guide
Mentalhelp.net
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
National Institute of Mental Health
Daily Strength: Bipolar support group

Post edited at 4:55 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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Phobias

A phobia is an irrational, intense and persistent fear of certain situations, activities, things, animals, or people.

Symptoms


  • Terror-A persistent and overwhelming fear of the object or situation.
  • Dizziness, shaking, palpitations.
  • Obsessive Thoughts: Inability to about anything other than the fear.
  • Desire to Flee
  • Anticipatory Anxiety: Persistent worrying about upcoming events that involve the phobic object or situation

Types of Common Phobias

1. Arachnophobia: The fear of spiders.
2. Ophidiophobia: The fear of snakes.
3. Acrophobia: The fear of heights.
4. Agoraphobia: The fear of situations in which escape is difficult.
5. Cynophobia: The fear of dogs.
6. Astraphobia: The fear of thunder and lightening.
7. Trypanophobia: The fear of injections.
8. Social Phobias: The fear of social situations.
9. Pteromerhanophobia: The fear of flying.
10. Mysophobia: The fear of germs or dirt.

Treatments

Medication:


  • Beta blockers: Work by blocking the stimulating effects of adrenaline on the body, such as increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, pounding heart, and shaking voice
  • Antidepressants: Most commonly SSRIs. They act on the chemical serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that's believed to influence mood.
  • Sedatives(benzodiazepines): Help with relaxing by reducing the amount of anxiety experienced

Therapy: Two types of therapy are commonly used for phobias. Desensitization therapy focuses on changing the response to the object or situation that is feared. Gradual, repeated exposure to the stimulus is often effective in eliminating the fear. Cognitive behavioral therapy involves working with a therapist to learn ways to view and cope with the feared object or situation differently. There's special emphasis on learning new ways to control the fear and its effect on day to day life


Phobia related Resources:
Phobia Help.com
The Phobia List
Anxiety to Freedom
Social Anxiety Resources

Post edited at 4:55 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

A type of anxiety disorder. Someone with OCD will likely have repeated, upsetting thoughts called obsessions. In order to make these thoughts go away, one engages in ritualistic behaviors. Those repeated actions are called compulsions.

Symptoms

Obsessive compulsive disorder consists of two "parts". One is obsessive thinking, and the other is compulsive behavior. Each have their own unique characteristics.

Obsessions


  • Repetitive and intrusive thoughts
  • Inability to stop thinking about a given theme
  • Distress over thoughts and obsessions
  • Problems associated with obsessive thinking such as depression, anxiety, frustration, sadness and hopelessness
  • Fear that something terrible will happen if behaviors do not continue
  • Trouble sleeping or eating because of intrusive thinking

*Common obsessions include washing and cleaning, counting, checking, demanding reassurances, and orderliness

Compulsions


  • Repetitive behaviors that are often unwanted and bothersome to the person suffering
  • Behaviors are driven by obsessive thinking
  • Behavior is often disruptful in everyday life, and occasionally even physically harmful

*Common compulsions include washing until skin becomes raw, checking things like doors repeatedly,
counting in certain patterns and making sure objects are arranged in a very specific fashion

The OCD Cycle

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a cycle that involves obsessive thinking and compulsive behaviors.  The person suffering will often form a connection between something bad happening or the fear of something bad happening (i.e. a relative dying) and a specific behavior (hand washing).  The sufferer will then gradually begin to form an association with obsessive thinking about hand washing and the behavior of hand washing.  The behavior eventually becomes a crutch to deal with the anxiety surrounding the thoughts.  

Commonly asked questions

If I have any of these symptoms or behaviors, does it mean that I have OCD?:  That depends much upon the degree in which the symptoms or behaviors interfere with your thinking, reasoning, and/or life functioning.  Simply having things a certain way sometimes or being particular about things does not necessarily mean you have a disorder.  If you are worried that your behaviors are interfering with your life, however, you should consult a doctor.
Is OCD an anxiety disorder?:  OCD is classified by the medical establishment (DSM-IV-TR) as an anxiety disorder.
How common is it?: There is a lifetime prevalence of 2.5% for men and women
Is OCD just a fad?: No. Documented cases of OCD go back throughout the centuries. The  nature of OCD kept many away from doctors and other health care workers. After effective treatments were developed, more people stepped forward with their symptoms or were diagnosed by clinicians who now knew to look for the disease.
Can't an individual with OCD "just stop" their behavior?: Most wish they could. The biggest reason why they cannot is anxiety. A person with OCD suffers intense anxiety over whatever their obsession involves.  They want to assure that they have properly handled the problem.  This often appears in the form of a compulsion such as hand washing. The person cannot truly feel that their hands are really clean. They continue to wash just in case. With a compulsion, the anxiety rises to unbearable and terrifying levels if the compulsion is not allowed to take place.
Is OCD acquired or are people born with it?:
People are considered to have been born with a predisposition for OCD. This predisposition however does not always mean the person will get OCD. Sometimes the OCD is triggered by a traumatic or stressful event.  Other times it comes about because of environmental facotrs.

Treatment

Therapy:Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be effective. Cognitive behavioral therapy involves retraining thought patterns and routines so that compulsive behaviors are no longer necessary.

Medication: Antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed drug for OCD. The following have been approved for OCD treatment by the FDA
Clomipramine (Anafranil)
Fluvoxamine (Luvox)
Fluoxetine (Prozac)
Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva)
Sertraline (Zoloft)

OCD Resources
OCD Foundation
OCD Tribe: Online support
Anxiety Disorders Association
Daily Strength

Post edited at 4:56 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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Schizophrenia & other information on abnormal/problematic perception disorders

A mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.

Symptoms of schizophrenia:

Catatonic Type


  • Agitation
  • Decreased sensitivity to pain
  • Inability to take care of personal needs and maintain personal hygiene
  • Negative feelings
  • Motor disturbances/inability to make normal movements
  • Rigid muscles
  • Stupor
  • Significant decrease in movement and perception

Paranoid Type


  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Argumentativeness
  • Delusions of persecution or grandeur

Disorganized Type


  • Child-like (regressive) behavior
  • Delusions
  • Flat affect
  • Hallucinations
  • Inappropriate laughter
  • Incoherence
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Social withdrawal

*Those suffering may experience symptoms from more than one category

Disorder Spectrum

  • Paranoid Subtype: Characterized by the presence of auditory hallucinations or prominent delusional thoughts about persecution or conspiracy. People with this subtype may be more functional in their ability to work and engage in relationships than people with other types of schizophrenia.  People with the paranoid subtype may appear to lead fairly normal lives by successful management of their disorder.  It is important to note, however, that this type of schizophrenic may be far more unlikely to seek treatment or discuss their problems because of intense paranoia.
  • Disorganized Subtype: The predominant feature is disorganization of the thought processes. Hallucinations and delusions are usually less apparent than within the paranoid type. Significant impairments in their ability to maintain the activities of daily life are common.  Routine tasks, such as dressing, bathing or brushing teeth, can be significantly impaired.  There is also often impairment in the emotional processes of the individual, as well as significant impairment inability to communicate effectively.
  • Catatonic-type schizophrenia: Characterized by disturbances of movement. People with catatonic-type schizophrenia may keep themselves completely immobile or move all over the place. They may not say anything for hours, or they may repeat anything you say or do senselessly. Either way, the behavior is putting these people at high risk because it impairs their ability to take care of themselves.

Commonly Asked Questions

When does schizophrenia start and who gets it?: Schizophrenia affects men and women equally. It occurs at similar rates in all ethnic groups around the world. Symptoms usually start between ages 16 and 30. Men tend to experience symptoms a little earlier than women. Usually people do not get schizophrenia after age 45.3 Schizophrenia rarely occurs in children.  It can be difficult to diagnose schizophrenia in teens because the first signs can include a change of friends, a drop in grades, sleep problems, and irritability.
Are people with schizophrenia violent? People with schizophrenia are not usually violent. In fact, most violent crimes are not committed by people with schizophrenia.7 However, some symptoms are associated with violence, such as delusions of persecution. Substance abuse may also increase the chance a person will become violent.
What about substance abuse? Some people who abuse drugs show symptoms similar to those of schizophrenia. Therefore, people with schizophrenia may be mistaken for people who are affected by drugs. Most researchers do not believe that substance abuse causes schizophrenia. However, people who have schizophrenia are much more likely to have a substance or alcohol abuse problem than the general population.  Substance abuse can make treatment for schizophrenia less effective.
What causes schizophrenia?:  This is a complex question and no one really knows for sure.  A combination of genetics, environmental factors and brain chemistry are thought to be relevant.  For some reading on the causes, see the following:
Causes 1
Causes 2
Sometimes I see and hear things that I don't think are there.  Am I schizophrenic?  Not necessarily.  Almost everyone at some time or another sees or hears something that wasn't really there.  Our perception is occasionally flawed.  Drug use, fatigue and anxiety can also cause us to misinterpret stimuli.  If you are worried you might be suffering, you should see a doctor.
How common is schizophrenia?  It is seen in less than 1% of the population

Treatment

Hospitalization: It isn't uncommon to spend some time in a hospital during periods of schizophrenia. This is usually done for the safety of the patient

Medication: There are a variety of different types of drugs used to treat schizophrenia. It takes most patients some amount of time to find a balance that works for them.


  • Atypical antipsychotics (Aripiprazole, Clozapine, Olanzapine, Paliperidone, Quetiapine, Risperidone, Ziprasidone)
  • Conventional, or typical, antipsychotics (Chlorpromazine, Fluphenazine, Haloperidol, Perphenazine)

Therapy: Supportive and problem-focused forms of therapy may be helpful for many people. Behavioral techniques, such as social skills training, can be used during therapy, or at home to improve function socially and at work.


Resources
Mental Health America
Schizophreania.com
Mental Wellness
Discovery Health

Post edited at 4:56 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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Self Harm

The intentional, direct injuring of body tissue without suicidal intent.

Signs that someone is self harming

  • Small, linear cuts (sometimes words or images may appear in the form of cuts or burns)
  • Regularly occurring cuts and scratches
  • Mood changes
  • Cuts on areas of the body that wouldn't normally be prone to injury (ribs, thighs, etc)
  • Frequent burns, especially circular ones
  • Wearing long sleeves or pants, even in warm weather
  • Wearing lots of jewelry or makeup on the body to cover scars

What are some forms of self-harm?


  • Cutting
  • Burning
  • Poisoning or overdosing
  • Scratching
  • Carving words or symbols on the skin
  • Breaking bones
  • Hitting or punching oneself
  • Piercing their skin with sharp objects
  • Head banging
  • Pulling out their hair
  • Interfering with wound healing
  • Pinching
  • Biting

Commonly Asked Questions

Are behaviors that alter the body's appearance such as tatooing, drug use, body piercing, ritual mutilation, etc. SI? No, although these behaviors can be harmful to the body they do not have the purpose SI has.  Behaviors that alterate the appearance of the body are generally used to make the person look better.This is rarely, if ever, the case with SI. Additionally, SI is often done because of feelings of loneliness and alienation, while body alteration is done because of desire for change in appearance.
Who self-injures? People from all different groups have self injured, however there are some trends.
Age- Usually begins as a teen.  Most common ages are 15-35
Substance Abuse - People who SI are more likely to also abuse substances
Eating Disorders - Eating disorders are common in people who hurt themselves
History of Abuse - SI is more common in those who have been abused in some way
Why would anyone want to hurt themselves?  People SI for a variety of reasons.  Often, it's to deal with emotions that are very strong and negative.  These include sadness, anger, alienation, frustration, sense of a loss of control, and depression.  Want to hear SI stories and explanations as to why they started?
Read them here

Self-Harm Resources
The Guide to Self Harmers by ManicD
Self Injury and getting help by Tempral
Thinking of cutting? by dull
153 things to do instead of self harming
Something to think about before self harming by cnath
General help for self harmers by Mad World

Post edited at 4:57 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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Suicide

The act of a human being intentionally causing his or her own death

Warning Signs


  • Ideation (thinking, talking or wishing about suicide)
  • Substance use or abuse (increased use or change in substance)
  • Feelings of purposelessness, anger, being "trapped", hopelessness
  • Withdrawal (from family, friends, work, school, activities, hobbies)
  • Anxiety (restlessness, irritability, agitation)
  • High risk-taking behavior
  • Mood changes
  • Talking about suicide.
  • Looking for ways to die (internet searches for how to commit suicide, looking for guns, pills, etc.)
  • Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
  • Preoccupation with death.
  • Suddenly happier, calmer.
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about.
  • Visiting or calling people one cares about.
  • Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order/Giving things away, such as prized possessions.

Suicide Facts


  • Suicide takes the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans every year.
  • Between 1952 and 1995, suicide in young adults nearly tripled.
  • Over half of all suicides occur in adult men, ages 25-65.
  • Suicide rates in the United States are highest in the spring.
  • For young people 15-24 years old, suicide is the third leading cause of death.
  • 80% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully.
  • 15% of those who are clinically depressed die by suicide.
  • There are an estimated 8 to 25 attempted suicides to 1 completion.
  • 1 in 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 commit suicide each year.
  • The strongest risk factor for suicide is depression.
  • By 2010, depression will be the #1 disability in the world. (World Health Organization)
  • In 2004, 32,439 people died by suicide. (CDC)
  • Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S. (homicide is 15th). (CDC)
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-old Americans. (CDC)
  • It is estimated that there are at least 4.5 million survivors in this country. (AAS)
  • An average of one person dies by suicide every 16.2 minutes. (CDC, AAS)
  • There are four male suicides for every female suicide. (CDC, AAS)
  • Research has shown medications and therapy to be effective suicide prevention.
  • Suicide can be prevented through education and public awareness.
  • There are three female suicide attempts for each male attempt. (CDC, AAS)
  • According to the Violent Death Reporting System, in 2004 73% of suicides also tested positive for at least one substance

Common Misconceptions

People who talk about suicide won't really do it.
Most people who commit suicide make some mention of it at some time.  In fact, threats involving death and common mentions of dying are among the leading warning signs in suicidal people

Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy.
Most suicidal people are not psychotic or insane. They may be suffering from some form of mental illness such as depression or anxiety but that does not make them "crazy".  

If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her.
Even severely depressed people may have mixed feelings about death, and most waver until the very last moment between wanting to live and wanting to die. Most suicidal people do not want to die; they want the pain to stop. The impulse to end it all, however overpowering, does not last forever.

People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help.
Studies of suicide victims have shown that more then half had sought medical help within six month before their deaths and a majority had seen a medical professional within 1 month of their death.

Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.
You don't give a suicidal person morbid ideas by talking about suicide. The opposite is true -- bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

All data collected from SAVE


Suicide Resources:
Considering suicide/self harm? by c j
Suicide?  Read this first by Error Operator
Suicide Awareness voices of Educaton (SAVE)
SPRC
Suicide...read this first
Suicide Hotlines

Post edited at 4:57 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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Helplines

US HELPLINES
American Suicide Survival Line (National, 24/7)(888) SUICIDE (1-888-784-2433)

National Runaway Switchboard (800) 621-4000

National "Youth" Crisis Line (800) 999-9999

Friends for Survival, Inc. (support for survivors of suicide) (916) 392-0664

National Mental Health Association(800) 969-NMHA (6642)

Alcohol Abuse (800) 356-9996

Alcoholics Anonymous World Services (212) 870-3400

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (301) 443-3860

National Depression Screening Project (800) 573-4433

Domestic Violence Hotline (800) 799-SAFE (7233)

NY Hotline (800) 621-HOPE (4673)

Day One-Pasadena / Altadena (drug abuse) (626) 583-2755

National Institute on Drug Abuse (888) 644-6432

Weight Control Information Network (800) WIN-8098

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth support (800) 850-8078

Gay and Lesbian Youth Talkline (800) 773-5540

National AIDS Hotline (800) 342-AIDS (2437)

HIV/AIDS Treatment Information Service (800) 448-0440

National Sexually Transmitted Disease Hotline (800) 227-8922

American Social Health Association (800) 227-8922

National Herpes Hotline (919) 361-8488

Health Advice Company (888) ADVICE8, (888) 238-4238

Herpes Resource Center (800) 230-6039

American Social Health Association (chlamydial infection) (800) 230-6039

National Women's Health Information Center (800) 994-WOMAN (9662)

National Planned Parenthood (800) 230-PLAN

Child Help USA (800) 422-4453

STD Hotline (sexually transmitted diseases) (800) 230-PLAN

National AIDS Hotline (800) 342-2437

Youth Crisis Line (800) 843-5250

R.A.I.N.N. (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) (800) 656-4673

Morning After Pill Info (888) 668-2528

Family Planning (800) 942-1054

Child Abuse Hotline (800) 540-4000

UK HELPLINES
The Samaritans
Call for anything, just for someone to talk to if you are upset, or especially if you are suicidal or thinking of cutting. They will not judge you, but will just listen. Calls are charged at local rates and may show up on a phone bill.

08457 909090
1850 609090 (ROI)


Childline
Specialise in dealing with under 18s. They can help you with domestic violence, bullying, and lots of other problems, and can also help put you in touch with more specific resources for your problem. The call is FREE and can be made from any phone box. (Free calls will not be itemised on a home bill).

0800 1111


N.S.P.C.C.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children provides a free helpline for all home issues concerning bullying, domestic violence, abuse, and other issues. FREE, again you can call from any phonebox. (Free calls will not be itemised on a home bill).

0800 800 500


Talk to Frank
Talk to Frank is a National drugs helpline. It deals with all drug-related issues for people of all ages, from smoking to serious drug addiction and crime related to drugs. They will not judge you, the call is FREE, and it is confidential.  (Free calls will not be itemised on a home bill)

0800 776600


Refuge:
24-hr National Domestic Violence Helpline. Advice and resources for both parents and children suffering from domestic violence issues.

0870 599 5443

Australia
General

Kids Helpline
0800 55 1800  
A National 24 Hour Telephone Counselling Service for Children and Young People in Australia
Website: http://www.kidshelp.com.au/teens/

http://kidshelponline.com.au/
Kids Help Online is a national counselling service for young people aged 5 to 18 years. It is a free, anonymous and confidential service where kids can chat to a counsellor online.

Lifeline
13 11 14
Lifeline is a general crisis counselling and information service, provided by trained volunteers who are resourced by professional staff. Support is available 24 hours a day across Australia for the cost of a local telephone call.

SANE helpline
1800 688 382
Charity that specialises in metal health issues from depression, bipolar disorder through schizophrenia.
http://www.sane.org/

Youth Call (Southern Australia)
(08) 8277 4400
Counselling service for people with drug and alcohol problems and their family and friends.

Youthline (New South Wales)
(02) 9633 3666
The motto of Youthline is 'young people listening to young people'. Trained Youthline counsellors offer support and advice on all issues affecting young people 24 hours a day.

Salvo Care Centre (salvation army)
(02) 9331 2000
24 hour, suicide prevention

Samaritans

Youthline: 0893 88 2500 (Metro)
Freecall Countryline: 1800 198 313
http://www.thesamaritans.org.au/
24 hour helpline

Albany Samaritan Befrienders
0898 42 27 76
24 hour helpline
http://www.thesamaritans.org.au/

Lifelink Samaritans Inc.
Tasmania  
0363 31 33 55
24 hour helpline
http://www.lifelinksamaritans.org.au/

The Samaritans Perth
Tel: 0893 81 5555
24 hour helpline
http://www.thesamaritans.org.au/

Other

Abortion Grief Counselling (Victoria)
1300 363 550

Child Abuse Prevention Services (New South Wales)
1800 688 009
Provides 24 hour crisis support counselling and ongoing support for victims, families and perpetrators in the child sexual assault area.

Child Protection and Family Crisis Service (NSW)
1800 066 777
This telephone line provides a 24 hour crisis counselling service in NSW.

Child and Family Protective Services (Northern Territory)
(08) 8962 4399
Provides emergency advice on issues dealing with child abuse.

Gay & Lesbian Switchboard (Victorian)
1800 63 14 93 (Country)
0398 27 85 44 (Metro)
Counselling, referral & information  

National Association for Loss and Grief (Victorian)
0396 88 4768

Stopover Emergency Youth Accommodation (Victorian)
0393 47 0822

Alcohol and Drug Information Counselling Service
1800 422 599

Sexual Assault Counselling
(02) 9926 7111
(24 hour)

Domestic Violence Line
1800 656 463
(24 hours) (freecall)

Poisons Information Centre
13 1126

CANADA HELPLINES
Kids Help Phone (Jeunesse, Jecoute)
1-800-668-6868
24 hour. Toll Free anywhere in Canada, English or French
http://kidshelp.sympatico.ca or http://jeunesse.sympatico.ca

Child Abuse Hotline
1-800-387-KIDS (5437)

Distress and Suicide Line (Northern Alberta only)
1-800-232-7288

AIDS/Sexually Transmitted Diseases Info
1-800-772-2437

Women's Assault Helpline
1-866-836-0511

Rape Crisis Center (Ontario)
(613)-562-2333
NB: This is long distance, so it would show up on the phone bill.

Parentline
1-888-603-9100
The same people who run the kids help line. This may be helpful to some teen parents out there

SOUTH AFRICA HELPLINES

Childline
08000 55555
Childline offers a 24 hour toll-free Helpline with trained counsellors to assist children, young people and their families.
http://www.childline.org.za/

Lifeline (National)
0861 322 322
LifeLine provides a 24 hour crisis intervention service available at no cost to all sectors of the community throughout Southern Africa regardless of race, religion or social standing. LifeLine offers primarily a confidential telephone counselling service, and regards itself as an emotional First Aid station.
http://www.lifeline.org.za/welcome.htm

National Aids Helpline
08000 12322
The AIDS Helpline provides a free national telephone counselling, information and referral service for those affected by and infected with  HIV/AIDS.
http://www.aidshelpline.org.za/index.htm

Alcoholics Anonymous:
 Johannesburg: (011) 483-2470
 Cape Town: (021) 247-550
 Durban: (031) 301-4959
 Welkom: (041) 554-019

South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence:
 Johannesburg: (011) 337-8400
 Cape Town: (021) 930-6086
 Durban: (031) 222-241
 Welkom: (041) 551-927

Compiled from here. Credit to Jonathon for information

Post edited at 4:58 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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Resources Not Yet Listed

On Livewire...
Ehelp center
Submit your story (site wide)
Share your story (forum sticky)
My Advice by XZRM
The Gift of Self Esteem by Togabearcat
Dealing with bullying by Negative
Reclaiming your power from insecurity by dragonking

Other
Stop Bullying Now
Bullying prevention center
Self Esteem self help
Mental Help Net

Post edited at 4:58 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 by greatescape

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"We're all Heliogabalus, Bill"


4:50 pm on Dec. 19, 2010 | Joined: July 2007 | Days Active: 1,606
Join to learn more about greatescape Wisconsin, United States | Queer Female | Posts: 42,466 | Points: 62,011
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