Paranoid Schizophrenia

You have been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a serious, chronic, often disabling mental health disorder. It makes functioning in work and society difficult. It's a type of psychosis that involves perceiving reality differently from those around you. The difference between reality and what you think is reality becomes blurred in your mind. Paranoid schizophrenia is a type of schizophrenia where paranoid symptoms become the focus of the psychotic symptoms.

The cause of schizophrenia is not yet known. It's believed to be a result of genetic and biological factors (brain chemistry and structure). Schizophrenia does run in families and occurs in about 1 in100 adults. Environmental factors may also have a role in schizophrenia. These may include where you grew up, toxins you were exposed to, and infections you've had.

Symptoms include:

  • Seeing things or hearing voices that are not there (visual and auditory hallucinations)

  • Having false beliefs (delusions). For example you may think that others are trying to harm you or are plotting against you when they are not.

  • Feeling the need to protect yourself at most times

  • Wanting to be alone and avoiding other people

  • Having severe anxiety, or feeling angry and arguing a lot with others.

Medicines and therapy can help with many of the symptoms. They can help you better get through your day and improve your quality of life. These medicines take 2 to 4 weeks to start working and 6 to 8 weeks to take full effect.

It's common to feel that you are not ill and that you don’t need treatment. It's important to let friends and family help you to continue to take your medicine.

Home care

  • On-going care and support helps people manage this disease.  Find a healthcare provider and therapist who meet your needs. Keep searching until you find a therapist who is a good fit.

  • Seek help from your therapist when you feel like you may be getting ill.

  • If you have trouble paying for your medicine, let your providers know so they can find resources to help you.

  • Take your medicine as prescribed and get regular blood work to check your medicine levels and your overall health. Take the medicine and get the follow-up lab work as prescribed, even if you think you don’t need to do it. Never stop your medicine or change your dose unless you talk to your healthcare provider. Never use someone else's medicine.

  • Tell each of your healthcare providers about all of the prescription medicines, over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, street drugs, vitamins, and supplements you take. Certain supplements interact with medicines and can cause dangerous side effects. Ask your pharmacist when you have questions about medicine interactions. If you use alcohol, tell your provider how much and how often you drink.

  • Talk with your trusted friends and family about your feelings and thoughts. Ask them to help you recognize behavior changes early so you can get help. If needed, your healthcare provider can adjust your medicine.

  • If your life is severely impacted by this illness, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may provide help. The ADA protects people with chronic physical and mental health problems. If you are having trouble managing workplace issues, or caring for yourself because of your schizophrenia it might be useful to contact your local ADA office to see if they can help. The U.S. Department  of Justice operates a toll-free ADA information line at: 800-514-0301 (Voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY). You can also visit the ADA website at www.ada.gov.  They can help you find a local office.  

Follow-up care

Follow up with your healthcare provider as advised.

Call 911

Call 911 if any of these occur:

  • You have suicidal thoughts, a suicide plan, and the means to carry out the plan

  • Trouble breathing

  • Very confused

  • Very drowsy or trouble awakening

  • Fainting or loss of consciousness

  • Rapid heart rate, very low heart rate, or a new irregular heart rate

  • Seizure

When to seek medical advice

Call your healthcare provider right away if you: 

  • Feel like your symptoms are getting worse

  • Have serious side effects from your medicine

  • Feel out of control or being controlled by others

  • Feel like you want to harm yourself or another

  • Are unable to care for yourself

  • Hallucinations get worse

  • Delusions get worse

  • Have family and friends who have expressed concern over your behavior and asked you to get help

  • New symptoms

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