Increased Precautions We're Taking in Response to the Coronavirus
As updates on the impact of the coronavirus continue to be released, we want to take a moment to inform you of the heightened preventative measures we have put in place at Highland Ridge Hospital to keep our patients, their families, and our employees safe. All efforts are guided by and in adherence to the recommendations distributed by the CDC.

Please note that for the safety of our patients, their families, and our staff, on-site visitation is no longer allowed at Highland Ridge Hospital.

  • This restriction has been implemented in compliance with updated corporate and state regulations to further reduce the risks associated with COVID-19.
  • We are offering visitation through telehealth services so that our patients can remain connected to their loved ones.
  • Alternate methods of communication for other services are being vetted and may be offered when deemed clinically appropriate.

For specific information regarding these changes and limitations, please contact us directly.

CDC updates are consistently monitored to ensure that all guidance followed is based on the latest information released.

  • All staff has received infection prevention and control training.
  • Thorough disinfection and hygiene guidance has been provided.
  • Patient care supplies such as masks and hand sanitizer are being monitored and utilized.
  • Temperature and symptom screening protocols are in place for all patients and staff.
  • Social distancing strategies have been implemented to ensure that patients and staff maintain proper distance from one another at all times.
  • Cleaning service contracts have been reviewed for additional support.
  • Personal protective equipment items are routinely checked to ensure proper and secure storage.
  • CDC informational posters are on display to provide important reminders on proper infection prevention procedures.
  • We are in communication with our local health department to receive important community-specific updates.

The safety of our patients, their families, and our employees is our top priority, and we will remain steadfast in our efforts to reduce any risk associated with COVID-19.

The CDC has provided a list of easy tips that can help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then immediately dispose of the tissue.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Stay home when you are sick, except to get medical care.

For detailed information on COVID-19, please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

Signs, Effects & Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Understanding the Signs of Schizophrenia

Understanding the signs of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe, life-long debilitating disorder of the brain that leads to an abnormal interpretation of reality. Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that affects the way a person thinks, acts, and behaves, which often leads to challenges with social interactions. Those who are diagnosed with schizophrenia have a hard time distinguishing between what is real and what is fake. Additionally, their altered perception of the world can cause them to be out of touch with reality at times. This means that they may hear and see things that don’t exist, speak in strange and confusing ways, think others are out to get them, or feel like someone is constantly watching them. There are three major subtypes of schizophrenia, which are classified based upon their most prominent symptom. These include:

Paranoid schizophrenia is a form of schizophrenia in which the defining feature is absurd or suspicious ideas and beliefs. These bizarre ideas usually revolve around an organized theme or story, which remains constant over time. The person is preoccupied with one or more delusions or auditory hallucinations. People with this type of schizophrenia have a history of increasing paranoia and immense difficulties with relationships.

Disorganized schizophrenia is a form of schizophrenia that tends to appear at an earlier age than the other types and has a gradual onset, with the personal gradually withdrawing into their fantasies. This type of schizophrenia is characterized by disordered speech, disorganized behavior, and blunt or inappropriate emotions. They often have trouble taking care of themselves and completing simple tasks such as bathing or dressing themselves.

Catatonic schizophrenia is a form of schizophrenia that is mainly characterized by a disturbance in movement, which is either a decrease in motor activity or an increase in motor activity. This individual can have challenges moving, resistance to movement, inability to stop moving, abnormal movements, and the behavior of repeating things that other people say or do.

While schizophrenia is not a curable condition, this doesn’t mean that there isn’t hope. With the right combination of medications and treatment strategies, many people who have schizophrenia are able to live happy, healthy, and successful lives in their community.

Statistics

Statistics for schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe chronic and disabling mental disorder that affects approximately 1% of the population, or over 2 million individuals, in the United States. This disorder affects 1.5 times as many men as women. Schizophrenia can affect children as young as six years of age and their symptoms can persist throughout adulthood.

Causes & Risk Factors

Causes & risk factors for schizophrenia

The precise cause for the development of schizophrenia is unknown; experts believe that schizophrenia is caused by a variety of hereditary, physical, and environmental causes and risk factors. The causes for schizophrenia may include:

Genetic: This disorder has a strong genetic component. Individuals who have a family history of schizophrenia, particularly if the person who had the disorder is a parent or sibling, are at a 10% higher risk for developing the disorder compared to the 1% chance of the general population.

Physical: It’s thought that problems with naturally-produced neurotransmitters such as dopamine and glutamate may contribute to the development of schizophrenia. Additionally, neuroimaging studies of those with schizophrenia show differences in the structure of the brain and central nervous system. Some individuals with schizophrenia have enlarged brain ventricles, which indicate a deficit in the volume of brain tissue. Additionally, there is evidence of abnormally low activity in the frontal lobe, which is the area of the brain responsible for planning, reasoning, and decision-making.

Environmental: A lot of research done today is pointing to stress present either during pregnancy or at later stages of development as being involved in the development of this disorder. Several stress-inducing environmental factors that may be involved in schizophrenia are: Prenatal exposure to viruses and toxins, maternal malnutrition during the first two trimesters, lack of oxygen during birth, exposure to virus during infancy, early parental loss or separation, and physical or sexual abuse.

Risk Factors:

  • Older paternal age
  • Increased immune system activation, related to autoimmune disease or inflammation
  • Usage of psychoactive or psychotropic drugs during adolescence or young adulthood

Symptoms

Symptoms of schizophrenia

The symptoms of schizophrenia range from mild to severe and can lead to significant impairment in daily functioning. The most common symptoms of schizophrenia may include:

Positive, more overtly psychotic symptoms:

  • Delusions (belief system that has no basis in reality)
  • Disorganized speech
  • Disorganized behaviors
  • Catatonic behaviors
  • Hallucinations (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, or tasting things that are not real)

Negative, potentially less overtly psychotic symptoms:

  • Lack of speech
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inhibition of facial expressions

Other symptoms of schizophrenia:

  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Reduced ability to carry out activities or plan
  • Inability to cry or express joy
  • Loss of interest in previously-pleasurable activities
  • Unpredictable agitation
  • Hostility
  • Suspiciousness
  • Resistance to instructions
  • Useless, excessive movements
  • Communication impairment
  • Flattened affect
  • Depressed moods
  • Drop in performance in work or at school
  • Lack of response to communication attempts
  • Not making eye contact
  • Forgetfulness
  • Speaking without inflection or speaking in monotonous voice
  • Self-harm
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Effects

Effects schizophrenia can have

If left untreated or not properly diagnosed, the ramifications of schizophrenia can be devastating. Effects will vary based upon the presence of co-occurring disorders, symptom severity, and length of illness. They may include:

  • Development of substance abuse and addiction
  • Heavy smoking
  • Self-harming behaviors
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Poverty
  • Homelessness
  • Social isolation and loss of friends
  • Inability to work or attend school
  • Health problems related to poor lifestyle choices
  • Becoming a victim of aggressive behaviors

Co-Occurring Disorders

Schizophrenia & co-occurring disorders

There are a number of different mental health disorders that can accompany schizophrenia. The most common co-occurring disorders include:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Panic disorder
  • Substance abuse
  • Alcoholism
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders

Thank goodness we came to Highland Ridge for help. They are amazing!

– Frances O.