Sleep disturbance is a major problem for people with schizophrenia. Up to 80% of people with schizophrenia report symptoms of insomnia (Cohrs, 2008). Our own work has shown that over half of patients with persecutory delusions report moderate or severe insomnia (Freeman, Pugh, Vorontsova and Southgate, 2009).
Sometimes, external factors such as stress, caffeine, or sleeping environment cause insomnia. For people with schizophrenia, insomnia is often the result of overactive dopamine receptors in the brain. Dopamine is a brain chemical that your body uses to send signals between your nerve cells.
Among sleep disorders, insomnia is the most strongly associated with schizophrenia, whereas OSA and, to lesser extent, circadian sleep disorders and RLS/PLMD appear to be more represented in schizophrenia patients relative to the general population.
Schizophrenia treatment includes medication, therapy, social and family support, and the use of social services. Treatment must be ongoing, as this is a chronic illness without a cure. When schizophrenia is treated and managed over the long-term, most people can live normal, productive, and fulfilling lives.
Haloperidol, fluphenazine, and chlorpromazine are known as conventional, or typical, antipsychotics and have been used to treat schizophrenia for years.
People with schizophrenia often die at a considerably younger age than the rest of the population. Reasons for this include: late diagnosis and poor treatment of physical illnesses, metabolic side effects of antipsychotic medication, unhealthy lifestyle and high risk of suicide (reviewed by Laursen et al, 2014).
At night time Nadia tends to experience stronger psychosis symptoms related to her Schizophrenia diagnosis, which makes it harder for others in her home. Nadia's hallucinations are often disruptive, wake the rest of her family, and tend to keep the others in her home from having restful sleep.
Based on the available literature, a reasonable approach to treating insomnia in a patient with schizophrenia could include switching their antipsychotic to paliperidone, or adding eszopiclone or melatonin. If these methods are ineffective, cautiously adding sodium oxybate could be recommended.
Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) and sleep problems are common in patients with schizophrenia. The symptom of EDS in schizophrenia can be attributed to various causes including neurobiological changes, sleep disorders, medication or as a symptom of schizophrenia itself.
Sleep disturbance is a major problem for people with schizophrenia. Up to 80% of people with schizophrenia report symptoms of insomnia (Cohrs, 2008).
Schizophrenia has been described as the “worst disease” to afflict mankind. It causes psychosis, which is an abnormal state of mind marked by hyperarousal, overactivation of brain circuits, and emotional distress. An untreated episode of psychosis can result in structural brain damage due to neurotoxicity.
People with schizophrenia generally live about 15 to 20 years less than those without the condition. Schizophrenia is a complex disease.
Schizophrenia usually involves delusions (false beliefs), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that don't exist), unusual physical behavior, and disorganized thinking and speech. It is common for people with schizophrenia to have paranoid thoughts or hear voices.
Short term use of sedatives (sleeping tablets or sedative antipsychotics) can help when you are very unwell and your symptoms stop you from sleeping. Melatonin and bright light can help reset your body clock.
A schizophrenic episode can last days or weeks, and in rare cases, months, says Dr. D'Souza. Some people may experience only one or two schizophrenic episodes in their lifetime, whereas for others the episodes may come and go in phases.
Connecting face-to-face with others is the most effective way to calm your nervous system and relieve stress. Since stress can trigger psychosis and make the symptoms of schizophrenia worse, keeping it under control is extremely important.
A 2015 systematic review published by Clinical Psychology Review found that, while sleep dysfunction can indeed contribute to psychotic symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations, improvements in the sleep quality of patients experiencing psychosis may lessen psychotic symptoms.
Antipsychotics. Antipsychotics are usually recommended as the initial treatment for the symptoms of an acute schizophrenic episode. They work by blocking the effect of the chemical dopamine on the brain.
The peak age of onset of schizophrenia is 15 – 25 years in men and 20 – 30 years in women. It is often preceded by a prodromal phase of vague symptoms, some odd behaviours and a decline in functioning at school or work and interpersonally.
Past studies have reported that offspring of affected mothers have a higher risk of schizophrenia than the offspring of affected fathers; however, other studies found no such maternal effect [Gottesman and Shields, 1976].
The active phase (sometimes called “acute”), can be the most alarming to friends and family. It causes symptoms of psychosis like delusions, hallucinations, and jumbled speech and thoughts.
Another factor that can contribute to the worsening of the condition is dementia. As cognitive decline can occur in people with schizophrenia and those living with dementia, those living with schizophrenia may experience further cognitive decline if they develop dementia later in life.
The study shows high fatality caused by cardiovascular diseases and drug intoxication among schizophrenia patients, which calls attention of the medical community to closely monitor the high risk factors of sudden death among schizophrenia patients.
The SSA can assist a person with schizophrenia as the administration considers it a disability. To qualify for disability benefits, a person with schizophrenia will have to meet the SSA criteria and show that their condition is persistent and severe and prevents them from engaging in substantial gainful activity.