I first started hearing voices when I was 19 (I'm 37 now). I haven't heard voices for few years now, since I've been taking Clozaril. It works really well and doesn't have many side-effects for me, except that it makes me really tired. I take it at night so I can just go to bed and sleep it off. I have to get my blood drawn every month to check my white cell counts and if they are ok, I get another month's worth of Clozaril.
When I first got diagnosed, the atypical antipsychotics didn't exist, so I used medications like Stelazine. I stopped using antipsychotics for many years. When I sought treatment again, atypical antipsychotics had been developed. I think I've gone through all of the atypicals and even tried combinations of them. Zyprexa worked well, but I gained 105 lbs on it and I was always a skinni-mini. My cholesterol and triglycerides went through the roof, too. Not good. Seroquel worked so-so. Abilify caused me to become manic. Etc.
It depends on the person, but there are a lot of options available. It took a long time to find one that helped me. It took a lot of patience on my part. You also have to find a good doctor...trust me, some doctors are more skilled than others. I'm not sure if the voices go away for everyone, but I know there is something out there that can make things better for you.
If you are on a working dose on antipsychotic you should not be hearing voices. As I said if you've tried what's out there the two newest ones are Fanapt and Saphris. If you are diagnosed with tardive as you are concerned about your psychiatrist at that point would generally have you placed on Clozaril as that is the only anti-psychotic that can't cause or worsen tardive so that is still one option. It does have a severe side effect profile of its own and requires weekly blood tests but for some people it can be quite helpful.
Well everyone tells me the mental illness gradually goes away and not all at once. I don't know what type of time frame "gradually" is. For me voices went away immediately but medications work differently for everyone I guess. I guess voices are an elaborate hallucination or something of that nature and I still had some hallucinations here and there I think but I guess that's to be expected because for some reason they keep only putting me on pills one time a day that you're supposed to take twice a day. I probably had some other things happen on and off and didn't notice because there's only so much insight you can have on yourself when you're mentally ill. I don't know why this has happened with every single doctor who prescribed me psych meds. Maybe I'm supposed to adjust first before taking it twice a day? I don't know, I know a lot of people who started off taking them twice a day. I asked my friend once who claims to have schizophrenia if what I was experiencing were voices in my head and he told me it was just my imagination even though he says he heard voices before. I was told later by a trained mental health professional that they were indeed voices and I described it the same way to both of them so either he's lying to me about his whole illness or didn't understand. I'm still stable for the most part from taking Geodon for almost a year and I still have a few things lingering that never went away not even once during the treatment.
Weekly blood tests for Clozaril are required every week only for the first 6 months...not for the entire duration of using the medication. If everything is ok, then the blood draws are spaced to every other week for 6 months. If everything is ok, then the blood draws become every month for the entire duration while you are using the medication.
Yes I should have put that information in. That much I remember when I was on it. Clozaril can be a good medication for some people and in fact was the only anti-psychotic I ever took (I have schizoaffective disorder) where I didnt' require a mood stabilizer in addition. Right now because I have advanced tardive and could not tolerate Clozaril I am on an anti-psychotic agent in Phase II FDA study (you can read through my posts) as well as a mood stabilizer. It does not cause tardive but it will take a while before that class of antipsychotics in development (NMDA receptor modulates) are accepted but they are showing promising results and I have been documented as having made a full recovery. In the meantime, many psychiatrists do consider Clozaril to be quite effective.
I think you missed your calling in life - you are a great source of information! I have a question for you regarding "voices".
As you know I was diagnosed with Bi-Polar1, Schizoaffective Disorder, am on Seroquel 600mg per day, Cipralex 30mg per day, and now 20mg of Abilify.
Over the last few weeks, when I am in the shower, I hear a man talking in my apt., and it scares the hell out of me. I get out of the shower and of course no one is there. I have resorted to turning my radio up loud so I dont hear his voice (always male), but I still do. I also often hear someone knocking on the door, and I will leave the bathroom to answer the door and no one is there. It has gotten to the point that I dont want to shower, or go to the bathroom without the door open.
What do you make of this? It is always a male voice, and it is happening more frequently, I wonder if my Schzioaffective Disorder is getting worse, or if this is a sign of Schziophrenia (more severe than I have). I am worried it is going to progress to the point that I hear the voice more often and in more places.
Schizophrenia and schizoaffective are not classified as different in severity although schizoaffective does respond to treatment better generally. If a person has a mood disorder along with schizophrenia that is generally classified as schizoaffective. Generally unless another diagnosis occurs or the diagnosis is updated schizoaffective as a diagnosis does not change and it does not worsen over time. Sometimes anti-psychotics become less effective over time. This does not carry over from one antipsychotic to another though generally. What you describe do sound like psychotic thoughts. Do inform your psychiatrist about the thoughts you are experiencing and if they believe they are psychotic and it can't be changed from adjusting the dosage of your medication, they might change your medication. If you have tried most of the other antipsychotics, as I've stated Saphris and Fanapt are two new FDA approved options. Everyone responds differently to each medication. I know I found some antipsychotics easier to tolerate than others.
Thanks for the info., as usual your knowledge is astounding and I for one appreciate it..thanks again! I am still waiting for my disability to be approved so I can see a psyciatrist, but as usual it involves government red tape, right now I am working with my GP, who is learning along with me.
Yeah IL is right, a mental health professional asked me one time if I knew what schizoaffective disorder is and I said it's pretty much like having schizophrenia and bipolar disorder at the same time and she said that's right.
Actually as I stated the recovery rate for schizoaffective disorder is better than that for schizophrenia without a mood disorder which is less responsive to treatment. From what they theorize schizoaffective may actually be a more severe version of bipolar. However, they are just finding out more about the connections between schizophrenia and bipolar.
Yes schizoaffective has two subsets (probably more complex than that but a summary) with bipolar or with depression. I have the bipolar aspect and a friend of mine (who is homebound because he is too paranoid, literally to leave the house and does not go online) has the depressive aspect. His recovery rate has been much lower than mine (which was relatively responsive even on standard treatment) for a variety of aspects, one being the usage of illegal drugs and alcohol on his behalf (which he is in recovery from but has relapses from time to time) and the other being the variety in responses to treatment in general which differs from person to person
So why are some people diagnosed with "schizoaffective disorder" and others are diagnosed with "schizophrenia with mood disorder", are the doctors just using the terms interchangeably and picking the one they have preference for saying and really mean the same thing or are they confused and think it's two separate things or is it a bit of both? I think maybe they're using the terms interchangeably to describe the same thing because I don't see how both terms could be different things or how you could even possibly tell the difference if they were and it'd be like flipping a coin to pick one diagnosis or the other. It's kinda like John Forbes Nash I read was diagnosed with "schizophrenia and major depression" why didn't they just stay concise and to the point and say he had schizoaffective disorder?
As I said in bipolar with psychotic features or depression with psychotic features a person only experiences psychosis during mood swings. In schizoaffective it is all the time. Those are the official psychiatric criteria. You could look up the DSM-4 online if you want. I have a copy from my abnormal psychiatry class I took years ago in college but only a psychiatrist would understand it fully and know when certain criteria apply of course.
Many, many people hear voices and this is not uncommon at all.
there are many reasons as to why a person may hear voices.
the labels associated with hearing voices often put a stigma on people which shouldn't be the case.
look into hearing voices on the internet and look for support groups also.
you can gather alot of information this way.
Support is really needed for those who hear voices and the word schizophrenic should be banned in the opinion of many including me.
ii have learned about differnet types of voice hearers after participating in a forum on hearing voices.
good luck to you and don't let the labels bother you.
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