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What is the Connection Between Schizophrenia and Depression?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 September 2016
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Schizophrenia and depression are related because both conditions often occur together. This can be due to the fact that the same chemical imbalances causing schizophrenia also play a role in clinical depression, or patients may become depressed due to circumstances related to their psychosis. Both conditions will need to be treated using separate medications.

The primary link between schizophrenia and depression is that they are generally caused by similar malfunctions in the brain. Chemicals which are normally present to regulate mood and behavioral patterns become mismanaged and may be released in larger or smaller quantities in those who have these conditions and other mental disorders. Although most patients who suffer from depression do not have psychotic disorders like schizophrenia, psychosis patients often also suffer from some form of depression.

There is a difference between situational depression and clinical depression. Those with schizophrenia and depression may suffer from either variety. Clinical depression is the type caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, while situational depression is generally related by specific events or circumstances. Often, the struggles associated with dealing with psychosis disorders like schizophrenia can lead to depressive feelings like sadness, hopelessness, fatigue, or lack of interest in activities.

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Both schizophrenia and depression should be evaluated and treated by a mental health professional. The treatment of schizophrenia usually requires the use of anti-psychotic medications, while depression may have a variety of treatment options depending on the underlying cause. Chemical imbalance-related depression is normally treated with medication, while situational types may be handled by using therapies, counseling, and sometimes a temporary prescription drug to be used until symptoms are under control.

Those who suffer from schizophrenia and depression are at higher risk of suicide. For this reason, it is very important for patients to have a network of supportive friends and family members to turn to for help and encouragement. If loved ones are not available, patients should turn to doctors, therapists, or case workers with mental health associations.

The prognosis for schizophrenia and depression varies based on the severity of both conditions and the age a person is at the time of diagnosis. Those who have suffered from either condition for many years may have endured more traumas and are often harder to treat successfully. Young adults who are able to get proper treatment early can often lead productive lives if therapies are used as directed by a health care professional.

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