Positive and negative symptoms of Schizophrenia

Welcome to my blog!  I will include this short bio in all my blogs so if you are a return viewer scroll to the bottom to read the latest post.

My name is Victoria and I suffer from Schizoaffective Disorder; this blog journals my progress fromfall 2013 to now.  I have experienced both the positive and negative symptoms of Schizophrenia and while the positive symptoms have been under control with Risperdal, since being diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder by UCLA in 2008, I have still suffered from the negative symptoms until recently when my psychiatrist added Latuda. Post diagnosis I received my Masters Degree in Psychology and work in the mental health field currently.  I plan to go on to earn my doctorate in Psychology in the future with a research emphasis, focus being on Schizophrenia, particularly the negative symptoms.

I started this blog in fall 2013 which journals my personal recovery from Schizophrenia.  The earliest entries chart my psychotic period 2006/2007 with much in between and my current focus is managing the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia. I welcome all feedback and enjoy meeting new people  through this blog and other articles I have written.  I have also written a book which is available on Amazon by Victoria Marie Alonso- My personal recovery from Schizophrenia.  I have a second book underway but it will not be available until much later due to starting school this fall.

Please feel free to email me to share your story or that of a loved one at: victoriamariealonso@yahoo.com

Other mental health providers or researchers are welcome to ask any questions, as well.

Pax

Victoria

More social lately

Another benefit of the Latuda is that I have been making more social connections.  And with the savings card I now pay only twenty five dollars a month for it!

Today I went to a memorial for my neighbor.  I wasn’t close to him but my husband was so I went to show my respect.  I respect death too, today I have pondered much about the meaning of death….  I am just glad I am no longer passively suicidal.  Today I felt the wind and had such peace.  Life is good again after a long stretch of sorrow.

Pax,

Victoria

Still doing well on Latuda

Just a quick check in.  I am doing really well on the Latuda.  I have mostly good days yet life isn’t perfect, it never is.  If things continue to go well, I will be starting a doctorate program in fall 2015.  I want get my doctor of psychology degree with a research emphasis.  Of course I will be focusing on Schizophrenia for my dissertation.  This year will be a year of helping my son with his high school studies and some travel plans too.  Life is good right now.  I am back to working 40 hours at work and the house is in order.  Next the gardens and getting out of my house which is hard for me.  Maybe I will get the kids to help?  I hope everyone is doing well too.

Pax

Victoria

Dealing with the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia

So often we hear about the positive symptoms of this disorder- hallucinations, delusions etc… but I have found that the negative symptoms are not written about very much so I hope to relay my experience and what has helped me to deal with the negative symptoms of Schizophrenia.

From Harvard Medical School we learn what the negative symptoms are:

“These “negative” symptoms are so called because they are an absence as much as a presence: inexpressive faces, blank looks, monotone and monosyllabic speech, few gestures, seeming lack of interest in the world and other people, inability to feel pleasure or act spontaneously. About 25% of patients with schizophrenia have a condition called the deficit syndrome, defined by severe and persistent negative symptoms.”

To read more about negative symptoms please go to:  www.health.harvard.edu/fhg/updates/update0706c.shtml

For the past 6 years, my psychiatrist was able to get the positive symptoms under control with Risperdal 3mg, but my quality of life was not as good as it could be and I realized this after a relapse in 2013.  I had just accepted this way of life until I began researching this disorder more.  I have since been trying various antipsychotics to help me with the negative symptoms, mainly loss of motivation, seeming lack of interest in the world and other people, and the  inability to feel pleasure or act spontaneously.

I have been on 80 mg of Latuda for one month now and the negative symptoms are diminishing slowly.  I am more interested in people again especially my immediate family, am more motivated, am  more interested in the world and am starting to feel pleasure again.  Before I was dead I feel to emotions but I have been enjoying people more and my hobbies and my work has improved; although, I always work very hard, now it is different.  I am more thorough and making more connections increasing my productivity greatly at work and at home.

Everyone will be different in what medication works for them.  I also tried Geodone which worked well for the negative symptoms but made me nauseous so I was unable to take it.  Latuda is expensive but I checked on line for coupons and found a saving program so I can get Latuda for $125 instead of $200 with my insurance.  Every little bit helps!

The bottom line is that we don’t have to suffer unnecessarily with negative symptoms!

Here is to a new lease on life,

Pax

Victoria

 

Latuda kicked in…

Victoria here,

Under my doctor’s care, I was just weaning myself off the Latuda when wham, it happened, it kicked in.  More motivated, more connected to friends and loved ones, creative again at last!  Some drugs take longer to work I guess.  I am glad I followed my doctor’s lead; he hasn’t steered me wrong yet.

Pax,

Victoria

Update

It sucks to be unmotivated.  This I fight every day and some days I lose the battle.

Geodone worked wonders for the negative symptoms, only problem is that it caused such stomach upset that I can’t continue on it, but it gave me a taste again of what a more normal life is like so I am trying other anytipsychotics to help me with this.

Latuda doesn’t help; but there is a newer version of the Risperdal I am going to try shortly called Invega.  I want more out of life- bottom line.

The one question I have if this disorder makes me unmotivated or if it is a side effect of the Risperdal?

Pax

Victoria

Wanting more than just not being psychotic…

I want more out of life than not just being psychotic, I want to feel again through laughing and crying and enjoy my family more and so on my list goes.

Medication has a lot to do with this equation of wellness, which is currently unbalanced.  So often the focus is on the positive symptoms, hallucinations, delusions mainly.

The voices and delusions have been gone for many years now (with the exception of one minor relapse into stress induced delusional thinking in 2013).  But I suffer from a few negative symptoms still maninly loss of motivation; although, I have still been able to maintain a job (mental health children and family therapist intern) where I get much praise and recognition from my supervisiors.

It is here I must insert that I have written a book, which charts my disorder from first psychotic break in 2008 at 38 which lasted 18 months of functional psychosis, diagnosed as Schizophrenia by a team of doctors from UCLA, had the diagnosis finetuned to Schizoaffective Disorder when a depressive cycle hit me by my psychiatrist (still see him only for last 6 years), earning my Master’s Degree in Psychology in 2012, getting my first job in the mental health field and to where I was in 2013 when I had my relapse from a stressful work environment.  I am also writing a new book as a sequel which charts my recovery from negative symptoms, logs last remaining delusional idea (non harmful but upbeat) and more.

I mention this book here because I have got tremendous response from the web community, the one co-worker who knows of my condition, and various other people I have met in the walk of life that this book is very inspiring and helpful to many.

I have been trying varying methods to relieve the negative symptoms of this disorder which I will write about soon what has worked for me, because my new regime is really working well on some new medicine and other interesting ideas I got through researching this disorder on line.

Pax for now,

Victoria