Schizophrenia Remission Criteria

I’m going to give information here that gives hope for those of us living with a diagnosis of SZ and our family members:

Clinical remission is possible without having to wait years and years or decades to to achieve it.

The criteria for remission is at least six months of mild, minimal, or absent symptoms. According to the Remission in Schizophrenia Working Group you can achieve remission in as little as six months.

! want to list the criteria for remission from schizophrenia according to the Remission in Schizophrenia Working Group:

“Criteria include a score of 3 (mild), 2 (minimal), or 1 (absent) for at least six months for all of the following items on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS)*:”

  1. Delusions (P1)
  2. Conceptual disorganization (P2)
  3. Hallucinatory behavior (P3)
  4. Unusual thought content (G9)
  5. Mannerisms and posturing (G5)
  6. Blunted Affect (N1)
  7. Passive/apathetic social withdrawal (N4)
  8. Lack of spontaneity and flow of conversation (N6)

*A score of <3 suggests a level at which symptomatology does not have appreciable affects on daily functioning.

The stages of remission go from acute phase to stabilization phase to stable phase to remission.

Elsewhere it’s been indicated that upwards of 85 percent of individuals diagnosed with SZ reach the stable, stabilization, and recovery phases of the illness.

Fifteen percent have a refractory or treatment-resistant version.

“The journey to recovery can start at any time point throughout the stages of illness to achieving remission.”

This criteria is taken from “Striving Towards Recovery: Setting New Expectations in Schizophrenia”–a poster session that Ronald Diamond, MD presented at the NAMI convention in Washington DC in 2006.

Other research indicates that you can be in remission without achieving a better level of functional recovery. And that clinical remission in one study predicted functional improvement.

The bottom line: you can have a full and robust life living in recovery regardless of whether or not you’re in remission.

I offer this six-month guideline to give blog readers living with SZ and family members of loved ones with SZ hope that remission is not impossible to achieve.

Recovery is not impossible to achieve either.

It’s a mistake to set the hoops higher and higher that people diagnosed with SZ have to go through to be considered to be recovered.

So-called normal people have gotten a free pass at being jackasses and no one insists they live up to the impossible demands that people with SZ are expected to adhere to.

The criteria for remission is six months according to the Remission in Schizophrenia Working Group. Understand?

Beautiful Day

It’s a beautiful day here.

Sunny and warm.

I’m testing the WordPress app.

There’s nothing better than plein air typing.

Van Gogh liked to paint outdoors because of the curative effect of the air.

I urge everyone to go outside in the sunny weather.

Being near water also has a curative effect.

Do wear sunscreen though.

Have a beautiful day!

Memorial Day

It’s Memorial Day.

If you click on the veterans category on the right you might be able to still find the CNN video with one of the Marines who served on Iwo Jima in World War II.

My father was a veteran. He served in the Army. Then he served in the Reserves when I was a kid.

We need to honor and remember those who served our country. We need to honor and remember the soldiers who are still serving our country.

Schizophrenia Diagnostic Tests

What a clueless book reviewer and others don’t seem to realize is that for close to nine years I was the Health Guide at the HealthCentral schizophrenia website. While I was employed at that job I wrote news articles that featured unbiased factual information. Of course I always wrote articles there about what I thought could be useful strategies for living in recovery too.

Today I’m compelled to crib the information from a slide slow I published at HealthCentral circa 2014.

I ask you: do you think I would want someone to take medication if they didn’t have to? Do you think I like having this illness? Do you think one-size-fits-all treatment is the way to go? The answer to these questions should be NO.

Now here’s the slide show I wrote in 2014: (Yep–no one else on either side of the aisle dared write this. I was the only one.) It’s a little long to scroll down on a cell phone yet I didn’t want to break it up into two entries.

To diagnose schizophrenia certain tests must be given. 

First of all, a brain tumor or herpes encephalitis should be tested for to rule out that the person has one of these illnesses that mirrors schizophrenia.  The following information was taken from Surviving Schizophrenia, 6th Edition by E. Fuller Torrey, M.D.  I recommend you buy this book to have on hand.  It’s the most recent version of this Family Manual that was first published in 1987.

It’s better to put your mind at ease about yourself or a loved one rather than jump to the conclusion that schizophrenia is always the cause of psychotic symptoms.

A diagnostic workup should include:

History and Mental Status Examination.

A review of organ systems will turn up illnesses that mirror schizophrenia.  Asking the kinds of drugs a person is using will turn up evidence of street drug use that could cause the psychiatric symptoms, or of prescribed drugs that have these kinds of symptoms as a side effect.  A mental status examination is where the individual is asked such questions as “Do you know where you are?  and What is today’s date?” As well as abstract questions like “What does the expression ‘a rolling stone gathers no moss?’ mean?”

Physical and Neurological Examinations.

Asking a patient to draw a clock or write a sentence can identify individuals with other brain diseases like brain tumors or Huntington’s disease.

Basic Laboratory Work: Blood Count, Blood Chemical Screen, and Urinalysis.

A blood test can turn up pernicious anemia, AIDS, or lead intoxication.  A thyroid function test should be ordered as well as a routine test for syphilis.

Psychological Tests.

This kind of test can be useful in early or borderline cases to rule out or confirm a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

MRI Scan.

According to E. Fuller Torrey, M.D. “An MRI scan should be done on every individual who presents with psychosis for the first time.”  Multiple diseases picked up by an MRI mirror the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Lumbar Puncture.

For patients experiencing certain symptoms such as headaches, rapid onset of psychotic symptoms, visual or olfactory hallucinations, neurological signs or symptoms of central nervous system disorder and concurrent or recent history of flu or fever.

Electroencephalogram (EEG).

This is used like the lumbar puncture to rule out or confirm other diseases.  It should be ordered for individuals with a history of meningitis or encephalitis, birth complications, or severe head injury; also for individuals that had episodic psychotic attacks with a sudden onset.

Other tests may be warranted depending on the presenting symptoms.  Make sure you or your loved one gets a full diagnostic workup.  To turn an expression on its head, all roads do not lead to Rome.  Getting an accurate diagnosis is critical in the treatment of schizophrenia or any of the other diseases that might be occurring.  Getting the right treatment right away results in a better outcome.  Forming a preconceived idea about the type of illness a person has can lead to ineffective treatment that can make things worse.

 

Housekeeping

I have numerous books I want to publish: some geared to mental health and other books that have everyone as a target market.

I’m also writing fiction that I want to publish too.

In this blog entry I’ll focus on one of the mental health books. I’d like to talk about housekeeping.

Really it’s OK to hire a house cleaner if you don’t like to do domestic chores. Round here $13/per hour is the going rate.

The secret is that if your apartment is neat and relatively dust-free no one will notice if it’s not clean.

You can send your laundry out to be picked up and cleaned and delivered back to you too. Yet I find though the clothes are returned neatly folded the clothes are actually wrinkled.

Doing laundry on your own in your building’s laundry room might be the way to dry your clothes without wrinkles. I take my clothes out of the dryer after 35 minutes and the clothes don’t have wrinkles.

You can go on the Goodmans Website to buy a travel steamer to steam out the wrinkles the clothes get after you wear them. You can also buy there the bottles of steamer cleaner to use to clean inside the steamer.

The Jiffy Travel Steamer is a miracle product that you can buy from Goodmans. Over 12 years ago I bought the travel steamer to use instead of an iron. The Jiffy model quickly steams out wrinkles on clothes. I’ve had mine over 12 years and it still works like a charm.

I take this steamer with me when I travel in the U.S. to steam the wrinkles out of clothes that have been in my suitcase.

I’m all for making it as convenient as possible to attend to housekeeping when you rent or own your own home.

In the coming blog entries I’ll talk about how to budget for shopping for food.

Say Yes to Mental Health

I’ve taken this blog entry from my Left of the Dial blog. I’ve posted it in both places.

The Republicans are set to vote into law today the gutting of mental health services enacted under the Affordable Care Act while President Obama was in office.

The Republicans are set to roll back progress by eliminating mental health treatment and charging higher premiums for fewer kinds of mental health service.

The Republicans are set to deny mental health constituents coverage for addiction treatment.

It will become illegal to have an abortion. Yet when your fetus turns 18 and develops schizophrenia or another mental illness or a drug addiction there will now be no treatment available for them. Write your elected officials and thank them for this.

Makes sense right? Makes sense to have voted into power the people who are voting today to eliminate funding for mental health services for the very people who need it.

Cue the sarcasm. Is there an emoji for sarcasm? You know where I stand.

If you live in New York State here are the telephone numbers of the elected officials you can call to tell them to vote NO for the MacArthur Amendment that denies citizens treatment for mental health.

Rep. Lee Zeldin Long Island 202-225-3826
Rep. Peter King Long Island 202-225-7896
Rep. Dan Donovan Staten Island 202-225-3371
Rep. John Faso Upper Hudson Vally 202-225-5614
Rep. Elise Stefanik North Country 202-225-4611
Rep. Claudia Tenney Binghamton 202-225-3665
Rep. Tom Reed Finger Lakes Region 202-225-3161
Rep. John Katko Syracuse 202-225-3701
Rep. Chris Collins Western NY 202-225-5265
Tell your congressperson that:
  • The American Health Care Act would leave millions of Americans without mental health coverage and strip Medicaid funding.
  • The recently-introduced “MacArthur Amendment” would let states get waivers allowing health insurance plans to not cover mental health and substance use treatment and charge people with mental illness more.
  • It’s outrageous to even suggest that mental health coverage is optional and to charge people more because they have a mental health condition.
  • Medicaid coverage is also under threat. It covers important mental health services that help people with mental illness get better and stay better.
  • Please tell Representative_______ to keep what works for mental health and REJECT the American Health Care Act and the MacArthur Amendment. Thank you.

I telephoned my guy in Washington. The line was busy. I’ll call again to try to get through.

I’m posting this same blog entry in the Left of the Dial blog.