I was diagnosed with schizophrenia a few years ago. I had hallucinations and nightmarish/hallucinatory dreams. I suffered from extreme fear of water…I won’t take showers or drink water. I felt so unwell and thought I was dying from some horrible disease. I felt very unsafe and thought that people were planning to harm me. I was put on medication for some time which seems to have helped with the severe anxiety I experienced. I don’t feel like myself anymore. I can’t feel happiness or joy in anything. I binge eat to fill the void and have gained a lot of weight as a result. My thinking ability has been badly affected. People/interactions or life in general doesn’t feel real. I feel stuck in a lifelessness-like state. The fear of water has lessened somewhat but I still have nightmares. Sleep is restless. Waking hours are as hopeless as sleeping hours. I have lost contact with friends. Even though I have been treated for schizophrenia, the depressive symptoms have not gone away. Are these linked to schizophrenia or is this something else? I fear going back for medical treatment because of the side effects I experienced in the past. Is there any hope that I will feel like my normal self again? Thank you.
There are two main types of schizophrenia symptoms, positive and negative. Positive symptoms include delusions and hallucinations. Negative symptoms involve flat affect, anhedonia, tiredness, and so forth. Negative symptoms mimic depression and they are often a side effect of antipsychotic medication.
Many antipsychotic medications are good at eliminating the positive symptoms of schizophrenia but not the negative symptoms.
The symptoms you are describing may be one of two things: (1) the negative symptoms of schizophrenia or; (2) side effects of your medication.
I would strongly recommend consulting your prescribing physician. Report your depression-like symptoms and ask your doctor to adjust your medication (if you are taking any at all). You might benefit from a reduction in your dosage or a different medication.
In the event that you are not taking medication, then you may be experiencing the negative symptoms of schizophrenia, which is concerning. Your having depression is also a possibility but from my vantage point, it’s difficult to make that determination.
There is nothing to fear about seeking treatment. Medication prevents psychotic episodes. Some research suggests that psychotic episodes can cause brain damage. You want to do everything in your power to prevent psychotic episodes. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle