Episode 2

Episode 2: Schizophrenia


January 10th, 2019

29 mins 12 secs

Season 1

Your Hosts

About this Episode

Cynthia Clark graduated in 1998 with a Honours BA in Sociology from Carleton University. The following year her son Justin, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. The Canadian Mental Health Association reports that schizophrenia typically develops into a full-blown illness in late adolescence or early adulthood. It is a disorder that affects an estimated 1 in 100 Canadians and their families. Children may show symptoms at a much younger age, but are not always diagnosed until later. Distress Line Volunteers may receive calls from individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia or from their family members who are under distress. Understanding the symptoms and challenges of this disorder may assist a well prepared volunteer to better support and manage these calls. In the interview with Cynthia Clark, the Family and Community Coordinator for the Schizophrenia Society of Ontario – Ottawa Region, she describes the challenges of being a parent of a child who has schizophrenia. She explains the day to day struggles of living with the diagnosis, and she makes recommendations for Distress Line volunteers as to how to best respond to their calls. Questions for Further Consideration Do I have any pre-conceived fears or discomfort regarding fielding calls from individuals with Schizophrenia? If yes, what are they? These may be alleviated by further reading on the links provided below. How would my fears or discomfort be reduced? Who can I go to for this support Debriefing with your Volunteer Coordinator or Senior Volunteer may offer support and increase confidence. Where or to whom can I refer these individuals? Are there up to date resources in the Distress Line office? During down times, or coming in a few minutes early before a shift review the Resource Manual. When you hear of any new resources, pass on any new information to the Volunteer Coordinator so that updates can occur. Glossary of Terms Delusions - False ideas about oneself or one's life, such as believing one is a famous person. Hallucinations - Seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, or smelling something that doesn't really exist. Illusions - False interpretations of an external sensory stimulus, usually seen or heard, such as a mirage in the desert or voices on the wind. Psychosis - A general term for a number of major psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, in which a person incorrectly evaluates the accuracy of his or her perceptions and thoughts and makes incorrect conclusions about reality. Hallucinations and delusions are psychotic symptoms (https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/psychosis). Disorganized speech - Ongoing disjointed or rambling monologues - in which a person seems to talking to himself/herself or imagined people or voices. Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior - An abnormal condition variously characterized by stupor/inactivity, mania, and either rigidity or extreme flexibility of the limbs. "Negative" Symptoms of Schizophrenia - these symptoms are the lack of important abilities. They may include the following: Disorganized speech/thinking - Also described as thought disorder or loosening of associations, is a key aspect of schizophrenia. Disorganized thinking is usually assessed primarily based on the person’s speech. Therefore, tangential, loosely associated, or incoherent speech severe enough to substantially impair effective communication is used as an indicator of thought disorder by the DSM-IV. Grossly disorganized behavior - Includes difficulty in goal-directed behavior (leading to difficulties in activities in daily living), unpredictable agitation or silliness, social disinhibition, or behaviors that are bizarre to onlookers. Their purposelessness distinguishes them from unusual behavior prompted by delusional beliefs. Catatonic behaviors - Are characterized by a marked decrease in reaction to the immediate surrounding environment, sometimes taking the form of motionless and apparent unawareness, rigid or bizarre postures, or aimless excess motor activity (SOURCE http://schizophrenia.com/ (http://schizophrenia.com/))