Last Updated on November 21, 2021 by Ben Lesser
Schizophreniform Disorder is somewhat similar to schizophrenia in nature. In reality, it’s only diagnosed when the symptoms of schizophrenia haven’t been present for long enough to warrant a schizophrenia diagnosis.
Schizophreniform illness is diagnosed when symptoms of schizophrenia last for six months. When symptoms don’t go down, the condition is usually upgraded to schizophrenia. Schizophreniform disorder sufferers, like those that have schizophrenia, are unable to distinguish between what is true and what is not. They live in a delusional universe where connecting with others is nearly impossible.
Unfortunately, the co-occurring condition will worsen the issue, as it does with most people with serious mental health issues. Substance abuse is a prevalent factor that leads to a slew of problems and exacerbates schizophreniform disorder symptoms. As drug and alcohol addiction coexists with the illness, the need for timely treatment becomes more important. If a schizophreniform illness has been identified, or you think it is the cause of your loved one’s symptoms, you may help them get the help they need by calling the number mentioned above.
Schizophreniform Disorder Symptoms
Families should search for various signs and symptoms that suggest the likelihood of a schizophreniform disorder diagnosis.
This May Involve the Following:
What Are the Causes of Mental Illness?
- A Hallucination Is a Form of Illusion. Patients with schizophreniform Disorder can experience visual, sensory, or visceral hallucinations.
- Illusions are also present. An inability to distinguish between what is true and what is not is one of the symptoms of the condition, as is a recurrent belief that others someone is out to get them or that they are the target of a plot or assault.
- Disorders of The Language. Patients have been known to speak erratically, use incomprehensible phrases, and skip one conversation to the next without notice.
- Unusual behavior muttering to oneself, swaying back and forth between walking, and actively drawing or writing are some of the symptoms that patients may experience.
- Isolation Is a Term that Is Commonly Used. Avoiding loved ones as much as possible is a common symptom of the illness.
- Energy Intake Is Minimal. People always lack the energy to care for themselves or engage in life.
Schizophreniform Disorder has no apparent cause, although it is primarily the product of various reasons, as is the case with many mental disorders and drug abuse problems.
The Following Factors May Play a Role:
- Genes are the Components that Make Us Who We are. The risk of developing schizophreniform Disorder rises when a family is diagnosed with a mental health disorder, especially schizophrenia. Addiction issues often run in communities, which is true with substance addiction.
- Environment: Some social stressors may build up and contribute to developing a mental illness, particularly when they occur in tandem with a genetic predisposition to the Disorder. Trauma, for instance, may cause schizophreniform Disorder as well as a drug abuse issue.
- Chemical Production in the Brain Isn’t Usually Controlled. When these chemicals decrease or are not treated well by the body, mental health signs like those associated with schizophreniform Disorder may occur.
How Does Schizophreniform Disorder Get Diagnosed?
If you have symptoms, the doctor will conduct a thorough medical history and physical examination. While there are no clear laboratory tests to diagnose schizophreniform Disorder, your doctor can use various diagnostic tests to rule out physical disease as the cause of your symptoms. These tests may be blood tests or brain imaging studies.
You can be referred to a psychiatrist or psychologist qualified to treat Schizophreniform Disorder if your physician cannot identify a physical cause for your symptoms. Healthcare providers have undergone extensive training in diagnosing and treating mental disorders. Schizophreniform Disorder is a psychotic illness diagnosed and treated by psychiatrists and psychologists using specially developed interview and evaluation tools. Your symptoms and the healthcare provider’s or therapist’s observations about your attitude and actions are used to making a diagnosis.
The American psychiatric association publishes the “diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders” (DSM-5), the primary guidebook for known mental illnesses. Your healthcare practitioner or psychiatrist can then decide whether the symptoms lead to a particular condition as outlined in the “diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders” (DSM-5). A diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder is made if you have characteristic symptoms that last between one and six months, according to the DSM-5.
Does Schizophrenia Constitute a Valid Diagnosis?
Some in the medical and psychiatric field argue that because of the short duration of symptoms that either pass with time or turn into a diagnosis for schizophrenia, a diagnosis of schizophreniform Disorder may not be viable. A study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that it may be more effective for patients who struggle with symptoms of schizophreniform Disorder to be instead diagnosed with a psychotic disorder not otherwise specified until more clinical data and information can be gathered.
Though symptoms should not be ignored and immediate treatment is warranted, this diagnosis of Schizophreniform Disorder can indicate a highlighted need for ongoing monitoring to determine whether or not the symptoms are related to another issue (e.g., substance abuse) early indications of a lifelong mental illness like schizophrenia. You should not ignore these symptoms, and prompt treatment is recommended. Still, this diagnosis raises the need to monitor whether the symptoms are related to another problem (such as drug abuse) or point out signs of schizophrenia Schizophreniform Disorder.
Interactions with Others
The negative symptoms of schizophreniform Disorder significantly impacted the participants’ ability to communicate with others and shape strong relationships. Research published in the journal Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica claims this. for example, many participants struggled to maintain eye contact during discussions. In contrast, others closed their eyes for long periods. Common symptoms associated with schizophreniform Disorder, such as blunted or flat affect, may harm patients’ ability to empathize and communicate with others on a social level. Patients’ paranoid delusions, which render them suspicious of others’ motives, are compounded by their inability to communicate with others.
A person’s condition may also make it hard for family members to encourage their loved ones to seek treatment; such people may lose sight of the prospect of recovery from Schizophreniform Disorder. These issues may exacerbate the effects of active, untreated mental illness, increasing the risk of harm from delaying or denying care.
Conditions Associated with Schizophrenia
While schizophrenia is the most well-known of its kind, psychosis and other schizophrenia-like symptoms can be seen in several conditions.
Schizophrenia Is Categorized as One of A Category of Disorders Known as Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders, According to The DSM-IV. Among Them Are:
- Discomfort in intimate relationships, cognitive or perceptional disturbances and eccentric behavior are signs of schizotypal personality disorder.
- Delusional Disorder: When a person has delusions for a month without any other psychotic symptoms, they are said to have a delusional disorder.
- Symptoms of insanity that last more than a day but less than a month are known as brief psychotic disorder.
- The schizophreniform disease occurs when schizophrenia manifestations last less than six months.
- Schizoaffective Disorder (sad) is characterized by schizophrenia-like symptoms and severe mood symptoms such as mania or depression.
- Psychotic symptoms can be caused by using substances like alcohol, cannabis, hallucinogens, or sedatives, medicines like anaesthetics, anticonvulsants, heart medications, chemotherapy drugs, or antidepressants.
- Untreated endocrine, metabolic, or autoimmune disorders and temporal lobe epilepsy are the most common causes of psychotic illness.
Schizophrenia symptoms can overlap with those of Bipolar Disorder, which is characterized by mood, energy, movement, and behaviour changes.
How is Schizophrenia Classified Today by Experts?
With the 2013 updating of the textbook that mental health practitioners use to identify mental health conditions, schizophrenia types changed. Schizophreniform Disorder is categorized as a mental disorder by the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).
The DSM-IV, the Previous Edition, Defined the Following Five Forms of Schizophrenia:
These types are no longer included in the latest edition, DSM-V. Despite these symptoms, schizophrenia’s Schizophreniform Disorder still reveals abnormal mental and behavioural characteristics. Still, they are no longer considered distinct subtypes by experts. since the previous distinct forms had overlapping symptoms and poor diagnostic accuracy, the DSM committee decided. Psychologists will note individual symptoms and severity when diagnosing schizophrenia to determine which treatment plan best fits the Schizophreniform Disorder patient.
Can Drug Abuse Cause Schizophreniform Disorder?
No, that isn’t true. Addiction and substance abuse can co-occur with schizophreniform Disorder, but alcohol or consuming drugs cannot be induced. Depending on the prescription and usage history, some medications can trigger symptoms similar to the Disorder when coupled with certain personalities. as a result, all substance use should be stopped immediately in a medically monitored setting. Monitoring for an extended period is also needed to assess if symptoms result from drug abuse or the signs of existing mental health problems worsened by drugs.
Can One Continue to Live a Normal Life with Schizophreniform Disorder?
Schizophreniform Disorder can cause a lot of problems. It disrupts your ability to think, act, convey feelings, experience reality, and interact with others. Relationships, careers, and other facets of “normal life” suffer from this.
Some people with schizophreniform Disorder who have previously employed find it easier to return to work. If you’ve never worked before, doing some volunteer work for a good cause will help you figure out if a particular job is right for you. Find the following questions to assist you in making your decision: do you know how to use a hammer? Would you instead work indoors at a desk or outside in a park? Do you prefer to work alone or in a group setting? Determine what you can and cannot do due to your Disorder. Make every effort to retain your life before while learning to embrace the obstacles you now face. Some patients may need hospitalization. It may be appropriate for your own and others’ protection. Substance abuse is common among schizophreniform disorder patients. Such a decision would not help treat the Disorder’s symptoms and worsen your quality of life, making a recovery more complex.
Most people with schizophreniform Disorder heal, but some will experience relapses of symptoms from time to time (regressions). Support and therapy will help manage your illness and its effects on your life.
Here Are Several Techniques for Coping with The Symptoms of The Schizophreniform Disorder:
- Pay Attention to The Body: Recognizing the signs that you’re getting sick will help you control your condition. Lack of motivation, anxiety or tension, and isolation from loved ones are all symptoms.
- Drugs and Alcohol Should Be Avoided: Recreational drugs, especially those that alter your reality (hallucinogens) and those containing THC, can intensify your schizophreniform disorder symptoms. Drugs and alcohol may harm anti-psychotic medications.
- Seek out Peer Support: People with schizophrenia-related disorders may benefit from virtual or in-person support groups to interact with others facing similar challenges. Family and friends can also benefit from support groups.
The Treatment of Schizophreniform Disorder by Pharmacology
In treating schizophreniform Disorder, a mixture of medications is suggested. The sudden onset of extreme symptoms, which is standard with this condition, may be terrifying. Medication is often one of the first strategies used to stabilize the patient and help them manage their symptoms to concentrate on other aspects of treatment.
The Following Atypical Anti-psychotic Drugs Are Widely Used in The Treatment of The Schizophreniform Disorder, According to WEB MD :
If these medications are ineffective, antipsychotic drugs can treat specific problems such as hallucinations, delusions, and other mental illnesses.
Therapeutic Treatment for Schizophreniform Disorder and Substance Abuse
Patients with schizophreniform Disorder can benefit from various therapies that can help them resolve and control their symptoms. When substance abuse is present, many of the treatments listed below will alleviate the problems associated with drug and alcohol addiction.
For Both Conditions, Standard Clinical Treatment Options Include:
- Counselling on An Individual Basis: Patients can benefit from frequent counselling sessions to speak about stressors and problems that happened before or after active schizophreniform disorder signs and addiction. Patients may also use this room to explore how well other clinical intervention types are working for them and to resolve new stressors when they occur.
- The Twelve Steps: Twelve-step meetings can teach people with Schizophreniform Disorder about their role in addiction and rehabilitation while focusing on making good decisions to keep them sober.
- Therapy in A Group Environment: Meeting with those who are learning how to handle mental health symptoms and addiction problems daily properly will reduce loneliness in treatment, increase accountability, and help patients healthily interact with others.
- Therapy for The Whole Family: While patients are going through the complex rehabilitation process of Schizophreniform Disorder, family members will immensely benefit. Families may benefit from family counselling with the help of an impartial third party, learning how to support those who are suffering from Schizophreniform Disorder, focusing on problems in the past that they are still burdened with Schizophreniform Disorder.
- Alternative Medicine Is a Term that Refers to A Variety: To improve the patient’s ability to develop and recover, a successful dual diagnosis care program can include various treatment and therapy options.
- Nutritional Counseling, Personal Training, Life Coaching, Parenting Workshops, Career Skills, and Training: All of this and more will help patients recover from more conventional forms of therapy and remain on track when they return home.
- Care that Is Holistic: Patients who receive support learning how to handle stress can better keep incidents in perspective and prevent relapse causes. Yoga, meditation, acupressure, bodywork and massage, and acupuncture are standard and effective methods.
Outpatient or Inpatient Care?
When a person is diagnosed with schizophreniform Disorder, immediate rapid stabilization is always suggested. Since this can be difficult to achieve in an outpatient environment, many families prefer an inpatient facility with round-the-clock monitoring for their loved ones. An inpatient treatment program becomes even more appealing when there is a co-occurring disorder such as drug abuse or addiction. Detoxing at home or in an outpatient environment while taking mental health symptoms into account increases the risk of complications or relapse Schizophreniform Disorder.
Relapse is a constant threat to rehabilitation on all fronts, but inpatient care for the first 30 to 60 days can help ensure relapse prevention during the crucial early stages.
Is Dual Diagnosis Rehabilitation Right for Your Loved One?
Are you unsure how to better support your loved one in coping with schizophreniform Disorder so that they can learn to control their symptoms and recover their lives? You don’t have to work it out on your own. Many services claim to provide successful treatment for mental health disorder and drug abuse, but sifting through the many choices can be difficult.
When the loved one has both a mental health disorder and substance abuse problem, dual diagnosis therapy is recommended Schizophreniform Disorder. Only a program with the ability to offer targeted care tailored to your loved one’s specific needs will give them the best chance at recovery. You can contact us via 615-490-9376 to find out more about your loved one’s options for treatment of Schizophreniform Disorder.
Ben Lesser is one of the most sought-after experts in health, fitness and medicine. His articles impress with unique research work as well as field-tested skills. He is a freelance medical writer specializing in creating content to improve public awareness of health topics. We are honored to have Ben writing exclusively for Dualdiagnosis.org.