A mental illness called schizophrenia alters how the brain functions. It is typically a chronic and permanent condition with symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, and a dulled affect, or the inability to express emotions. While schizophrenia has a profound impact on many people who have it, people with high functioning schizophrenia frequently function more independently in daily activities. High-functioning schizophrenia, albeit not a recognized diagnosis, often refers to the capacity to carry out tasks at work or in social situations despite having schizophrenic symptoms.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) fifth edition, the following requirements must be satisfied for a diagnosis of schizophrenia:
Well, in this article, we’ll be talking about High-Functioning Schizophrenia: Symptoms and Causes, whereby the answers to the following question will be discussed:
- What is High-Functioning Schizophrenia?
- What are the Symptoms of High-Functioning Schizophrenia?
- How to Diagnose High-Functioning Schizophrenia?
- How to Treat High-Functioning Schizophrenia?
What is High-Functioning Schizophrenia?
Since 70% to 90% of people with schizophrenia are unemployed, schizophrenia is regarded by healthcare professionals as a serious mental disorder that has a major impact on one’s quality of life. According to study, those with schizophrenia who have been successful in work share several traits. Self-care and proactive symptom management were frequently mentioned as elements that assisted people with schizophrenia in maintaining high functioning. One important conclusion was that many people adjusted their work schedules to fit them, such as switching to part-time work, in order to avoid feeling overwhelmed or increasing their symptoms.
In fact, some of the participants in this study claim that working is its own form of coping, as it helps them maintain some aspects of high functioning. Some of the individuals did, however, continue to describe having active schizophrenia symptoms such delusions and hallucinations as well as difficulty managing other aspects of everyday life. This study demonstrates that although schizophrenia continues to have an influence on those who have it, it is still feasible for some people to lead healthy lives. Additionally, it permits reasonable concessions including flexible working hours, a reduced workload, paid or unpaid time off for illness or hospitalization, a supportive supervisor, and regular performance reviews.
What are the Symptoms of High-Functioning Schizophrenia?
The same symptoms can occur in anyone with schizophrenia, regardless of how “high” or “low” functioning they are. There are three categories of schizophrenia symptoms: cognitive, negative, and positive. Positive symptoms are those that (i.e., weren’t there before the ailment) “add” to your personality.
Among these signs are those of psychosis, such as:
- Jumbled thinking and speaking
- Unusual motor behavior, such as catatonia
How to Diagnose High-Functioning Schizophrenia?
Most mental health experts can diagnose schizophrenia, however it is advisable to visit a psychiatrist if you think you or a loved one may be suffering from it because the medication is frequently required.
Typical tests used to identify schizophrenia include:
- The DSM Structured Clinical Interview: is a diagnostic tool that can be used to identify schizophrenia as well as many other significant psychiatric diseases.
- The Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS): is the industry standard for determining how severe schizophrenia symptoms are. The positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia are assessed using a 30-question test. Hallucinations are an example of a positive symptom in this context, whereas negative symptoms refer to deficiencies in functioning like lack of emotion or social withdrawal. Poor attention or trouble expressing thoughts are some cognitive signs.
- SANS (Scale for the Assessment of Negative Symptoms): This scale only assesses symptoms that are below predicted levels of functioning. The 25-item scale covers signs including a fixed facial expression, a lack of vocal inflection, a speech impediment, and poor personal cleanliness.
- The 6-Item Negative Symptoms Assessment (NSA-16): is a 16-item scale that measures the negative symptoms of schizophrenia by looking at their frequency, seriousness, and scope. Communication, emotional/affect, social involvement, motivation, and retardation (slowing of speech and/or physical movement) are all assessed. A more modern version with only four components is also available.
- Schedule for Deficit Syndrome (SDS): People with deficit syndrome typically function at a lower level than people without it. Deficit syndrome in schizophrenia is characterized by the constant or nearly constant presence of at least two of the following negative symptoms, even when they are in a stable state.
- Limited impact
- Reduced emotional spectrum
- Poor communication combined with diminished interest and curiosity
- Lowered feeling of mission
- Reduced social motivation
How to Treat High-Functioning Schizophrenia?
Antipsychotic drugs are frequently used to treat schizophrenia, along with a variety of therapy and skill-building programs.
The following are possible therapies for schizophrenia:
- Atypical antipsychotics: The first-line therapy for schizophrenia is atypical, or second-generation, antipsychotics. These drugs work to treat psychotic symptoms by lowering dopamine levels in the brain.
- Cognitive behavioral treatment (CBT): CBT aids those suffering from schizophrenia in recognizing and correcting problematic thought patterns and behaviors.
- People with schizophrenia: can gain social and independent living skills with the support of social skills therapies. These might include courses on managing medications and interpersonal relationships.
- Cognitive remediation: This treatment aims to improve cognitive abilities like flexibility, memory, and focus.
- Training in social cognition: focuses on abilities including social perception (reading body language or social cues), emotion perception (recognizing others’ emotions), and theory of mind (recognizing and comprehending another person’s mental state).
After receiving effective therapy, some individuals with high functioning schizophrenia may have experienced symptom remission. If your symptoms are in remission, it suggests that they are not severely affecting your life.
Even though schizophrenia can be a challenging condition to handle at times, it is more than possible to live a complete life despite your diagnosis with diligent management. The term “high functioning schizophrenia” refers to schizophrenia patients who, despite their diagnosis, operate effectively in daily life. They may be able to live alone, maintain healthy personal relationships, or have a reliable work. However, those with high functioning schizophrenia continue to have symptoms, sporadically or routinely.
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