Dear Dr. Archer,
I'm a 47 year old on disability for schizoaffective disorder for the past three years. I take medication in the morning and in the evening, and it helps somewhat.
I've had 60 jobs in my life. I've always been either fired or I quit, then going onto the next job. I'm a caring, intelligent person, but I get these thoughts in my head and they go round and round and I can't stop them. I can take one little thing a person says and I cannot let it go. I wish I could, but I just can't.
I've always felt like an outsider in many ways. I saw you on television last night and I believe you were talking about different parts of the brain as well as chemical imbalance. Is there a test that can be run on my brain to see if there's certain natural substances that can help fix my problem?
I live near West Palm Beach, Florida and am willing to travel. If you feel you could help me in any way I'd be very appreciative.
Schizoaffective disorder can be thought of as a cross between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, there are no laboratory tests to indicate schizoaffective disorder, though a doctor may run blood tests and/or scans to rule out physical illnesses. If nothing tests positive, then the clinical interview is the way most psychiatric diagnoses are made.
As far as natural or alternative substances go, I don't have good news. Nothing you can eat and no supplement has been shown to help alleviate symptoms, but I can say that reducing stress in your life does work. Your best bet, Gary, is to keep in close communication with your doctor. Other things you can do to help yourself are:
• Take your medication that is prescribed and how it is prescribed. Let your doctor know if you don't believe your medication is working as expected or if you have problems with it. Keeping your family close and relying on their support is also very beneficial. Also, go online to a Schizoaffective Disorder Online Support Group.
• Learning to breathe deeply, meditating and relaxing can do wonders with managing stress. You can learn techniques by reading I Get Nervous in Crowds and Driving Over Bridges... and Interstate Overpasses Cause My Panic Attacks. Exercise is also a stress reliever.
Finally, Gary, I want you to read Catherine Faced Incredible Odds, And Won, a success story from Catherine who is also diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder. Work with your doctor, lean on family, reduce stress and take your meds. I know it’s not a sexy answer, but it is the best way to deal with this condition. I wish you the best.
© Copyright 2013, Dr. Archer, Inc.. All rights reserved.