Schizophrenia Gone Wild

Coronavirus Affecting Stabilized Psychotic Patients

Many psychotic patients who were previously stabilized on their medications are beginning to decompensate from the coronavirus. It’s not necessarily that they are becoming exposed to it. It has more to do with them watching the news at home which is causing them to become worried and paranoid that they will get it. Some actually develop symptoms of COVID-19 and stop taking their medications, wrongfully concluding that their medications are causing the symptoms. This is schizophrenia gone wild.

Psychotic patients have a very fragile line of stability that they often walk on. Things such as stopping medications, environmental stressors, changes in their lifestyle or relationship disputes can be enough to put them over the edge and cause them to decompensate. When they do decompensate, it’s very obvious to family members; this is not a small and irrelevant change in behavior.

They will start to display odd or unusual behavior such as:

  • Believing that their deceased parents are calling them from the window
  • Shouting and arguing with loved ones
  • Making verbal and even physical threats
  • Calling random people at 2 am
  • Becoming catatonic and remaining mute for long periods of time

. . . and the list goes on. These are not behaviors that all patients experience; it was just a list provided for you to get an idea. When a schizophrenic patient decompensates, it doesn’t mean that they necessarily start to hear voices in their head or see things that aren’t there. It can simply mean that their behavior and thought process are disorganized. They may continuously shift positions in bed, flop their hands, ask if the apple juice on the table is alright in that position and even claim that it’s hot outside at the beginning of April in New York City.

It’s really sad to observe and talk to decompensated schizophrenics because you get a glimpse into their world and how much different their behavior is compared to people who don’t have a mental illness. Perhaps in their eyes they are not suffering but in ours they clearly are; they cannot function in society when they are decompensated. That’s why they’re in the hospital in the first place!

But keep in mind that even though a schizophrenic may not be currently at their baseline, does not mean that they cannot hold a conversation with you. Many can hold fairly normal conversations but they may make odd remarks. They’ll usually be able to answer all of your questions and many remain calm and pleasant during an interview. Just because a person has the diagnosis of “schizophrenia” does not mean that they cannot hold a normal conversation with you.

Schizophrenics are actually pretty cool!

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2 Replies to “Schizophrenia Gone Wild”

  1. Harken's Headers – Harken's Headers is a random idea at a random moment trying out this new thing people call Digital Writing. We will see how it goes. Knowing me, it will include some humor, wit, awkwardness and possibly make you think. Even might make me think as well. Stay tuned and see what I come up with in this randomized, awkward journey. Harken Headers is an avid learner as well as researcher of many topics including but not limited to health, nutrition, herbalism, European folk culture and lifestyle medicine. Harken lives wherever the wind blows gaining experience, knowledge and testing that knowledge out firsthand to share with people like you. Health & Not Screwing It Up is Harken's 1st book.
    Harken's Headers says:

    People with a healthy mental state aren’t handling these times very well so I can imagine how it will be for those struggling with a mental illness.

    1. Dr. Alexander – New York City Area – Dr. Alexander, a psychiatry resident in the New York City area is the founder of The DSM Ready Movement: an international community which focuses on bringing people together to achieve a happier and healthier state of mind. DSM Ready has three goals: 1) End mental health stigma and normalize mental health 2) Provide a safe and nonjudgmental place to share thoughts, feelings and advice about mental health 3) Maximize happiness and well-being 😎 Dr. Alexander can be reached on: dsmready.com linkedin.com/in/psychheals/
      Dr. Sinu MD says:

      They’re affected quite badly!

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