Addiction and mental health disorders are not easy fights to win. Whether you’re dealing with depression, anxiety, or PTSD (just to name a few), it can seem as though the world is caving in. The same is also true for those struggling with high-functioning schizophrenia. At Sana Lake BWC, we specialize in treating co-occurring disorders like these.
What Are High-Functioning Mental Health Disorders?
High-functioning mental health disorders are often characterized by a high degree of functionality in terms of work, school, and relationships, despite experiencing significant symptoms of mental illness. People with high-functioning mental health disorders may be able to “mask” their symptoms to appear normal, but they may still experience significant internal distress. While high-functioning mental health disorders can be very difficult to live with, it is important to remember that treatment is available and recovery is possible.
High-Functioning Mental Health Disorders Vs Low-Functioning Mental Health Disorders
High-functioning mental health disorders are generally characterized by good functioning in day-to-day life, despite experiencing symptoms of a mental disorder. Low-functioning mental health disorders, on the other hand, are associated with significant impairments in everyday functioning. The two types of mental health disorders can often be difficult to distinguish from one another, as they may share some symptoms. However, some key differences can help to differentiate between high-functioning and low-functioning mental health disorders.
One of the most important factors that distinguish high-functioning from low-functioning mental health disorders is the ability to maintain employment. People with high-functioning mental health disorders are typically able to maintain steady employment, even in demanding jobs. In contrast, people with low-functioning mental health disorders often have difficulty keeping a job, and may frequently change jobs or be unemployed.
Another key difference between high-functioning and low-functioning mental health disorders is the ability to maintain relationships. People with high-functioning mental health disorders are usually able to maintain long-term, supportive relationships. In contrast, people with low-functioning mental health disorders often have difficulty forming and maintaining close relationships.
Finally, people with high-functioning mental health disorders typically have better coping skills than those with low-functioning mental health disorders. They are better able to manage their symptoms and deal with stressors in their environment. Low-functioning mental health disorders, on the other hand, often lead to impaired coping skills and increased stress levels.
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that generally appears in late adolescence or early adulthood. It is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and abnormal behavior. People with schizophrenia often have problems functioning in society, at work, or school.
The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown. It is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Treatment for schizophrenia typically includes medication and psychotherapy.
How is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?
There is no definitive test for diagnosing schizophrenia. Instead, it is generally diagnosed based on a clinical evaluation that takes into account a person’s symptoms, medical history, and family history.
The first step in diagnosing schizophrenia is usually a comprehensive physical and mental health assessment. This assessment can help rule out other potential causes of symptoms, such as a brain tumor or drug use.
During the assessment, a mental health professional will likely ask about the following:
- When the symptoms started
- How long the symptoms have lasted
- The severity of the symptoms
- Any changes in behavior or functioning
The mental health professional will also want to know if there’s a family history of mental illness. In some cases, additional tests, such as brain imaging or laboratory tests, may be ordered to rule out other potential causes of symptoms.
A diagnosis of schizophrenia is typically made by a psychiatrist or other mental health professional using specific criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association.
Types of Schizophrenia
There are five subtypes of schizophrenia, according to the DSM-5, which include the following:
- Paranoid type: This is characterized by delusions and auditory hallucinations. The person may believe that others are out to get them, or that they are being watched or followed.
- Disorganized type: This is characterized by disorganized speech and behavior. The person may be incoherent or makeup words; their behavior may be childlike or unpredictable.
- Catatonic type: This is characterized by motor dysfunction. The person may be unresponsive, rigid, or have excessive movement.
- Undifferentiated type: This is characterized by symptoms that don’t fit neatly into any of the other categories. The person may have delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech and behavior.
- Residual type: This is characterized by fewer and less intense symptoms than in other types. The person may still have delusions or hallucinations, but their speech and behavior are relatively normal.
What Are Symptoms of High-Functioning Schizophrenia?
Some of the symptoms associated with high-functioning schizophrenia include the following:
- Disorganized thinking
- Social withdrawal
People with this disorder may be able to function relatively well in society but may still experience significant distress and impairment in their daily lives. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for people with high-functioning schizophrenia, as the disorder can worsen over time if left untreated.
What Happens if You Suffer from Schizophrenia and Addiction at the Same Time?
When a person suffers from schizophrenia (or any other mental health disorder) and addiction at the same time, it is referred to as a dual diagnosis. According to the National Institute on Mental Health, about 7.9 million American adults have co-occurring mental and substance use disorders.
There are many different types of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. Some common combinations include the following:
- Anxiety and alcohol use disorder
- Depression and cocaine use disorder
- Bipolar disorder and methamphetamine use disorder
- Schizophrenia and marijuana use disorder
Treatment for dual diagnosis generally includes a combination of medication, therapy, and support groups. Medication can help manage the symptoms of both mental illness and substance use disorder. Therapy can help you understand and cope with your illnesses. Support groups can provide encouragement and social support.
Sana Lake BWC Can Help Manage and Improve Your Mental Health
You’re not alone in your fight with mental illness. At Sana Lake BWC, we want to help. If you or a loved one would like to find out more, you can contact us here.