It’s very common for a person that has been diagnosed with schizophrenia to develop depression. Research shows that more than half of schizophrenia patients have episodes of depression throughout their lives. There are different categories of schizophrenia, one being schizoaffective disorder, which is when the patient has mood swings. It’s common for these individuals to have instances of clinical depression.
Some people believe that depression is when someone is with sadness or grief. However, depression is different from these moods. An example of being grief-stricken is the feeling you have when someone close to you dies. Depression, on the other hand, is when you lock yourself in the room or stay in bed 20 or so hours each day. People in the latter scenario struggle with mental energy to live life normally.
Depression’s Relationship with Schizophrenia
The relationship between these two mental illnesses has yet to be fully explored, but evidence shows that there could be common causes for them both. For starters, depression commonly goes along with the onset of schizophrenia. A lot of people who are schizophrenic experience symptoms depression up to four years before being diagnosed with schizophrenia. After the initial symptoms of depression kicks in, schizophrenic people begin to lose interest in being social with other people. The symptoms that come last are seeing things and hearing voices.
Not all people who experience symptoms of severe depression become schizophrenic, but this illness is more common in those who have been depressed, compared to the general population. Also, symptoms of depression aren’t as common when schizophrenia is less active. In a study done, nine percent of the patients who had no past hospitalizations or medications recently were reported to have symptoms of depression.
What Causes Depression in Schizophrenia?
There are a couple of underlying causes that lead to schizophrenic people to become depressed. Finding out the root of the problem can help doctors to better treat the patient. It’s common for depression symptoms mimic those of schizophrenia. Sometimes, treating schizophrenia can help reduce depression symptoms. Schizoaffective disorder could be another underlying cause. This mimics the symptoms of schizophrenia and mood disorders. With this condition, patients sometimes of periods of mania, excessive energy and profound elation.
Substance abuse is another possible cause of mental illnesses. In fact, 29% of individuals who have a mental illness have abused one or more substances, such as alcohol or barbiturates, which can cause symptoms of depression. Substances like cocaine and nicotine usually cause depressive symptoms after the person has stopped abusing them.