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How Depressive Symptoms Affect Schizophrenia Treatment Outcomes

Schizophrenia can affect nearly every area of a person’s life. People with schizophrenia exhibit both negative and positive emotions. But it is the negative mood state that can lead to poor outcomes and increase the risk of depression and suicidal behavior in people living with schizophrenia. To better understand how the concept of self and relative mood states affect treatment outcomes, Dafna Weinberg of the Department of Psychology at Ben-Gurion University in Israel recently led a study examining four specific domains of self-concept. Specifically, Weinberg looked at negative symptoms, positive symptoms, depression, and quality of life in a sample of 89 individuals being treated for schizophrenia, and examined how these were influenced by self-esteem, self-concept appraisal, and self-health appraisal. The participants were assessed at the beginning of the study period and then five days later to determine how stress affected the self-domains. Weinberg examined the participants again six weeks later.

The study revealed that the participants with unstable levels of self-esteem had poorer qualities of life than those with more stable self-esteem. Individuals with a clear sense of self exhibited increases in positive effect and better overall qualities of life. This was especially evident when stress levels were low. Upon further examination, Weinberg found that depression was a risk factor for low self-esteem and beliefs of illness. These findings suggest that depressive symptoms can reduce self-esteem in individuals with schizophrenia, and thus contribute to further deterioration of other self-concepts and well-being. Although the study period was relatively brief, Weinberg believes that this research, which is the first to explore all four domains of self in a sample of schizophrenic participants, illuminates salient risk factors that can lead to negative outcomes. “Findings clearly attest to a complex, risk/resilience role of the self-concept in the short-term course, and reveal undetected consequences of depressive symptoms in schizophrenia,” she said.

Weinberg, Dafna, Golan Shahar, Gal Noyman, Larry Davidson, Thomas H. Mcglashan, and Shmuel Fennig. Role of the self in schizophrenia: A multidimensional examination of short-term outcomes. Psychiatry: Interpersonal & Biological Processes 75.3 (2012): 285-97. Print.

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  • christie

    September 25th, 2012 at 11:46 PM

    it would certainly be so much better if these areas of the self are addressed along with the usual treatment can act as an aid to the regular treatment and also ensures no further deterioration in the patient’s health.

  • Caty

    September 26th, 2012 at 3:38 AM

    There are multiple results that schizophrenics will have to struggle with for all of their lives. It must be awfully sad to have to witness such a vibrant loved one have to struggle with and endure such an unkind illness.

  • billie nicols

    September 26th, 2012 at 5:49 AM

    “…depressive symptoms can reduce self-esteem in individuals with schizophrenia, and thus contribute to further deterioration of other self-concepts and well-being.”

    Wouldn’t this be rue for any of us, regardless of whether or not we are schizophrenic?

  • judie

    September 26th, 2012 at 2:24 PM

    its like a cycle isn’t it…one thing feeding the other and the other in turn amplifying the first one…this can become a perfect situation for a downfall of all things and can push the person towards feeling helpless and unable to do anything about his condition…we need the treatment to cover these areas as well and not just focus on the core disorder.

  • QZ

    September 26th, 2012 at 3:48 PM

    Its never gonna be easy to understand d needs of schizophrenia patients..but it is heartening to see tht much research is being done to see how other aspects may affect their condition n d treatment outcomes.just hope this will be a good thing for all those suffering through this.

  • grayson

    September 26th, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    monitoring these factors and knowing how they could influence treatment outcomes can equip the health care professionals to better treat the patient and avoid any complexities that they can foresee into the treatment process.SO its a good thing to have such studies going on.

  • ROSE

    September 27th, 2012 at 4:04 AM

    It is never easy treating someone who has multiple mental health issues. It must be difficult to know which to treat first, if they are correlated to one naother or if they are completely separate.

  • Yolanda

    September 27th, 2012 at 5:45 AM

    Depression by itself is never a good thing.SO when it accompanies an already complex mental health issue, it will only make it worse. Depression makes the entire battle against the existing issue just so much more difficult. Why, depression can wear down even those of us without any other problem, imagine what happens to those with schizophrenia!

  • slater

    September 27th, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    Maybe I have this miisconception of what schizophrenia is, but exactly how lucid are these patients really going to be to be able to tell you truthfully what their self esteem is like and whether they are feeling depressed? I mean, are most of them even going to know this kind of thing at all or is this something that you would have to look to caregivers or a family member to provide that sort of information for you?

  • martha p

    September 29th, 2012 at 5:20 AM

    This is really not that much of a surprise or a breakthrough given that even healthy individuals facing a fight against depression will be likely to endure the same exact things.

    depression is an illness that takes away your very sense of self, who you are and what you could be, tearing you down one bit at a time.

    This is a difficult illness to fight alone, not to mention when this is combined with something as threatening as schizophrenia.

  • BellE

    September 30th, 2012 at 5:14 AM

    When I first read the title to the article I kind of did a double take because to me saying that something affects treatment outcomes sort of implies that there can be a resolution to schizophrnia, that there can be an ending to the symptoms.
    But I think that we all know that there can be treatment for schizophrenia, but never an end, because this is not an illness which will just go away with the proper use of medication.
    I assume that they symptoms can be somewhat alleviated and lessened but that they will never be completely gone.

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