A 21-year-old college student, Anna, was referred for “depression.” Anna was bright, she wanted to become a lawyer and her intellectual curiosity became evident as soon as she started meeting with her doctor. Her mother suffered from major depressive disorder, and as she related her story, her doctor understood there was something more than “depression.” Anna was undergoing what the scientific community calls “prodromal schizophrenia.” Her doctor treated her with weekly CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy), behavioral modification, family system based intervention, and a low dose of antipsychotic. She was at the right place, at the right time, and her dream to become a lawyer was salvaged because she sought help at a critical juncture in her life.
Schizophrenia is a chronic neuropsychiatric condition, which generally leads to progressive cognitive impairment. Most symptoms start at around college ages, and the early stage, known as prodromal phase, is often missed. Yet, the right interventions implemented at the right time, would yield the highest success rate and increase the likelihood that our loved ones will maintain an adequate level of functioning.
The lifetime prevalence of schizophrenia is 1%, 2.2 millions Americans are currently diagnosed, and 100,000 people will be diagnosed in the US, alone. These numbers have been constant for decades, and they are unlikely to change, unless we do something different.
Years of experience and unbiased research studies have shown that prevention is key. How do we make sure the decision makers make more money available for prevention and decrease these plaguing numbers?
Thank you so much for reading this. Now, over to you:
· What have you learned from this post?
· What experience and/or wisdom could you share with me?
· What comments would you like to leave?
See you soon.
Dr. Sidor is quadruple board certified in psychiatry, with vast clinical, teaching, supervision, mentorship, and management experience. He also has extensive experience in public speaking, leadership, business, and research, in addition to a passion for program development and project management. His overall goal is to empower all health care professionals throughout the United States and globally, towards ensuring the continuity of excellent patient care, while balancing the need to take care of themselves. Dr. Sidor is the main instructor for the SWEET Institute, and he is currently an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University. He is also the past Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer for CASES (Center for Alternative Sentencing and employment Services), where he continues to see patients and consult on challenging cases. He speaks and writes fluently in six (6) languages—French, English, Spanish, Portuguese, Creole and Italian.