(s): Written by: Petros Skapinakis, MD, MPH, PhD, lecturer of Psychiatry in the University of Ioannina Medical School, Greece. Eva Gerasi, postgraduate student in the Department of Psychiatry, University Hospital of Ioannina, Greece. First version: 19 Aug 2003. Latest revision: 19 Aug 2003.
Is it possible to suffer from depression together with schizophrenia? What is the relationship between depression and schizophrenia?
Patients who have been diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia may at times, during the course of their illness, suffer from significant and discomforting depressive symptoms. This is most often the case in patients suffering from so-called negative schizophrenia. The negative symptoms that give this syndrome its name describe a series of deficits and are in many ways similar to the symptoms of depression. Thus these patients lack motivation, are lethargic, find it difficult to concentrate and experience a restricted range of emotional responses, which is very evident to others around them. The treatment of their symptoms, however, requires quite a different approach from the treatment used for the symptoms of common depressive illness.
Another group of sufferers from schizophrenia experience mood disorders including depression in the aftermath of their illness; this is often associated with a realization of the implications of their illness for their long-term well-being.
My personal experience is that Matt, my friend's son
suffers when he does not take his medication. The family suffers along with him. At times he does very well, but unmedicated leads to psychosis, depression and eventually hospitalization. His inability to commit to therapy or any kind fo self help keeps him in the cycle, unfortunately.
"Hope is seldom found in the things we can see;
it is the sweet fragrance of grace."