Doctors considering Schizophrenia diagnosis. I'm surprised. Questions

It varies from person to person but in my experience it also depends on the medication. For example, I used to take Haldol which is immediate release. If I forgot my morning dose I would have symptoms start again in the afternoon. Not bad symptoms but enough to notice. Now I take Invega, which is extended release, and I don’t notice any symptoms unless I go a couple of days without taking it. But I’ve heard many people say that they can stop their meds and be fine for weeks or even a couple months before they relapse. Everyone is different.

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It’s like @Sooner88 said, everyone is different. I only stopped my meds once, and I was fine for a couple months. After that, everything went to hell. I have learned to keep taking them.

@Sooner88 @ninjastar
Yeah for me I get symptoms fairly quick at least within hours and it could trigger the confusion and then more acute symptoms. I just find it weird that it can happen so quick, when theres no stress etc.
At the end of the day, I will be hopeful that my Psych will have the answers. I can’t focus on it too long but at least I have some information that may be helpful at some point. Thanks again.

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Try asking your dr about Invega. It’s a good drug. It’s an antipsychotic and very good for Schizophrenia but it’s primarily approved for Schizoaffective because it also helps with manic episodes if you have them. And in the US it’s available as a generic meaning if you have insurance it won’t cost much.It has way fewer side effects than other meds.

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Sorry to double post. But to OP:

I read through your original post again and honestly no, an anxiety medication won’t be a primary medication for Schizophrenia OR Schizoaffective Disorder. Your primary medication will be an antipsychotic of some sort. You can definitely continue whatever you’re taking now for anxiety in addition to the antipsychotic, but the good thing about antipsychotics is that most of them tend to help with anxiety as well. They used to be called “Major Tranquilizers” because they sedate you and calm you down. Xanax and Valium (Believe it or not) are “Minor Tranquilizers” even though they can make you pretty damn sedated.

IF you have Schizoaffective Disorder then you’ll need a combination of meds anyway. One will be an antipsychotic and one will be either an antidepressant or a mood stabilizer. You said your medication is also used for seizures so I’m guessing it’s probably Lamictal, Tegretol, or Depakote. Possibly Neurontin. Those are all very helpful with the mood symptoms but not so much with psychotic symptoms.

I take the “Dream Team” as I call them: Invega (antipsychotic), Lithium (mood stabilizer and antidepressant), and Xanax (for anxiety). And I’m able to function almost as well as I did before my psychotic symptoms began.

I think that based on your description of your symptoms it’s highly likely that you have Schizoaffective Disorder. It’s also possible, but less likely, that you have a form of OCD. Strictly based on what you posted you don’t meet criteria for Schizophrenia. Yes you have the disorganized symptoms which are a big deal but you only have one positive symptom (paranoia). If I recall, you need two positive symptoms for a diagnosis of Schizophrenia. So that would be something like hallucinations or delusions. Paranoia itself isn’t a delusion but if your paranoia gets so bad that you begin to believe really outlandish things, for instance that the FBI is tracking you for some reason, then it would be a delusion and you would potentially meet the criteria for Schizophrenia.

It sounds much more to me like you have some of the symptoms of Schizophrenia and you have those most of the time. It sounds like you also have some of the symptoms of depression and you have those less often, but still a significant amount of time. That leads me to believe that you very likely have Schizoaffective Disorder.

I have a BS in Biology and a BA in Psychology and was half way through my master’s in Physician Assisting when Schizoaffective Disorder tore it all apart. Just to let you know that I do have a fair understanding of the diagnostic aspect of this.

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@Sooner88
Thank you. Yeah and I have a schizotytal kind of personality when I read about it as well. Who knows what they’ll come back with as I have also been diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder and ocd with bipolar. Did you read my other replies in the thread. It’s a lot of info, too much to read likely. It’s nice to hear your thoughts on this because of your background. I do have hallucinations but they are only fleeting both audio and visual. Like when I was getting an assessment and they were showing me faces for a memory test and the faces started moving around and looking at me. But it stopped eventually after a few faces after a minute or two. Anyhow I do think you’ve made some great points in your 3 posts above. Hope someone can figure this out because it’s hell. I used to function really well. Now my goals would be to take a daily shower and have a routine without feeling like I’m going to explode if I do a task. At least i have some information it’s not as confusing I’m grateful for everyone’s support here bc Who knows what they will say is going on. Thanks again. Enjoy your day

Well, I read this whole thread out of curiosity and there’s too much for me to process, but I’m just a patient, so can’t help you much.

However, I just now realized your diagnosis of OCD. As far as I know, I’ve never been “officially” diagnosed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (I guess my Schizoaffective diagnosis just covers other certain mental disorders as if it were an umbrella term), but I definitely have OCD. I constantly have a habit of running the same routine to help me think or feel connected. I tend to count thoughts and go through a sort of counting checklist (in my mind) to help me stay connected and sort of functioning with reality.

I have difficulty “holding on to a single thought” sort of thing. So, I have the habit of counting thoughts to try to functionally meld or ease the anxiety of feeling disconnected from functional reality.

Might not make sense but it makes perfect sense in my world. :slight_smile:

So, I guess I’m saying having Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective AND OCD may be fairly common.

If your doctor asks you or mentions that you struggle to “holding on to a single thought,” that is more than likely an automatic sign of schizophrenia. If your doctor asks you if you “perform rituals,” probably knows or is curious that you have OCD.

If your doctors feel you have SZ, why didn’t they prescribe you an anti-psychotic?

@SlowMotional
Ocd is very common among people who have Sz. I have heard that often.
So re your question my psychiatrist has been telling me that my day being hard etc isn’t bipolar and has been talking to my husband and I about some specific symptoms he’s been working really hard. He got me into an esteemed neurology psychiastrist out in another city for a 2nd opinion. My psych is very skilled and thE other guy has articles all over the web etc. But I wasn’t sure what my psych was thinking. The 2nd opinion looked through notes and long assessment with me and history, said I present as SZ and his recommendation is antipsychotics. I won’t see my psych for 2 mnths. But my high dose lamotrigine is helping but may be too high my hair I falling out. The whole… ’ this presents as Sz ’ freaked me out that’s how I ended up here… but whatever… I may not have it! Good to be here and learn for now.
IF I had Sz I wonder if my ocd symptoms are Sz… intrusive random horrifying images seeming real…

*He said he won’t prescribe them, that needs to be up to my psych tk prescribe . He is a consult.

Thank you for the reply. Interesting. Just want to say a consult can advise or prescribe anti-psychotics. Happened to me. The consult may have more experience/knowledge than the doc you usually are assigned to.

Sometimes, they won’t prescribe you an AP if you haven’t been on before. Sometimes, they may wait until … I don’t know … the second or third time your doctor sees you … and kind of concludes without a doubt that that big step has to be taken. This also happened to me. The doc that first prescribed an AP for me didn’t do so in the first meeting/appointment I had with her. I think it was the second or third appointment. Don’t really remember.

Keep us up to speed next time you see your doc.

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@SlowMotional
Yeah 2nd opinion was seeing me as a favor to my psych. My regular psych has been seeing me for a year but like you said they aren’t rushing anything. All lot can look like Scz. Temporal lobe epilepsy, mix of conditions, etc. I can at least say I am in good hands. I have been suffering for years and I’m ready for answers.Thank you