Schizophrenia Diagnosis But is it Something Else?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW


In 2007 I was diagnosed with schizophrenia. It was a very fast diagnosis based mainly on genetical factors, my mother and my sister having had problems in the past. I was a fresh graduate at the time, with no job for a few months, wishing to leave the country (I’m coming for developing country) for a better life. I was quite depressed at the time. I guess it was my strong desire to go far away from home that worried and upset part of my family. The doctor recommended me to take Zyprexa (10-5-2.5mg decreasing the dose as time went on) before going to sleep. My body tolerated it well, the only effect was a deeper sleep. I did not sit against it, because I was not feeling in the position, no job, no place of my own and I believed in the good will of the doctor.
I never had any hallucinations or delusions of any kind in my life, never talked alone, heard voices or any other kind of symptoms. What I can admit was being depressed.

Anyway, believing that doctor, the thought of having a mental illness is now terrifying me. I’m constantly checking up whether my thoughts are right or wrong. I’m very socially cautious. I would say that my cognitive performance has declined, no more the number one girl in the class, the smart girl, but one who is worried whether she is fine or not. What would you advise me to do? This thought of really having a disease is coming back to my mind, especially in times of peace, silence and scares me.

A. It is unclear why you would be diagnosed with schizophrenia if you have not experienced virtually any of its symptoms. It is possible that you were incorrectly diagnosed. Misdiagnosis, unfortunately, is relatively common.

Depression may be a factor in why you are experiencing a decline in your cognitive performance though I cannot say that with certainty. It is unclear what you meant by the expression “decline in your cognitive performance.” Generally speaking, individuals who are depressed often experience problems in social, occupational and educational settings due to their symptoms. For instance, an individual who is depressed may lack the energy to study or to perform as they once did.

My recommendation would be to receive a second opinion, and more if necessary. Perhaps meeting with a new physician could clarify what may be wrong. It is important to find a physician with whom you’re comfortable. Consider also having a physical examination. Often, it is important to rule out a medical cause for a patient’s symptoms.

I would also recommend seeing a therapist. A therapist could teach you effective behavioral, cognitive and psychosocial approaches in dealing with your symptoms. He or she could also provide an objective perspective, as well as serve as an advocate. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Jan 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Schizophrenia Diagnosis But is it Something Else?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 1, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/01/06/schizophrenia-diagnosis-but-is-it-something-else/