Friday, May 22, 2009

Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia

I had one of those eye opening moments the other day.  We had a client present with all the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, and virtually no positive ones.  Actually, rather then realizing that she had gone off her meds, we assumed she was on too many meds.  I would totally have bet on her anti psychotics being too high.  

When she came for her intake, she seemed like your average young adult female.  By the time she started her first class session she was freakishly unmoving, unspeaking, and seemingly uninterested.  When I say unmoving, I mean it was as if she became a part of the chair.  Always sitting perfectly straight though, never slouching.  Her eyes would choose a point, be it the front, the back, or the desk, and they would never move.  Her "creepy" coloured contacts, gave her an even more frightening look.  Her answers were all in yes or no form, with the most common one being "no".  Being her counselor, it fell to me to confront her.  

The first time I tried, I got no where.  She gave me some "nos" and then walked out.  So then two of us sat her down a different day.  At this point, she informed us she had stopped taking her medications after having a "bad" time with them.  We let her go without pushing her too hard, as she was honestly scaring both of us.  Our supervisor met with her and her father today... we'll see what happens.  

The point is though, assumptions are bad.  We all assumed she was over medicated and totally missed the fact that she was in fact off her meds.  Even though I knew she had a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and I know about negative symptoms, it didn't occur to me till yesterday that what we were seeing were symptoms not med reactions.  

Schizophrenia isn't just voices! 

3 comments:

talesofacrazypsychmajor said...

That interesting. I'm not sure why, but for some reason I thought that the meds only treated the positive symptoms and not the negative ones. I don't know a whole lot about schizophrenia though.

Reas Kroicowl said...

I had a woman like that once. I could never get more than a "yes" or "no" out of her. I even did a school project with her--her setting a goal and charting her progress each week (she said she wanted to buy a pair of shoes.) I found out later she lied to me the whole time and just filled out my stupid chart. Probably to get me off her back.

Kyle Reynolds said...

Some meds treat positive symptoms others treat both. It took alot of experimenting over the years to find the right combo.