Depression symptoms and schizophrenia

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Depressive symptoms are common in patients with schizophrenia, but it's not always easy for medical professionals to diagnose what is causing them.

For many, a diagnosis of depression can greatly complicate a schizophrenic's life and lead to poor health outcomes.

Medication

For some schizophrenia patients with depressive symptoms, a challenging scenario can be presented when medication is thrown into the mix. Some medications used to treat schizophrenia, for instance, can cause depressive symptoms. And drugs used to treat depression symtoms might make schizophrenia symptoms worse, causing decreased quality of life and, potentially, more depression.

Genetics

Research has shown that there might be a genetic link between depression and schizophrenia. One study found that people who had major depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) all shared a handful of common genes.

Additionally, if depression and schizophrenia run in the family, a person may be predisposed to both conditions.

Quality of life

Many patients, after a schizophrenia diagnosis, suffer significant negative changes to the quality of their lives. Managing symptoms, maintaining a "normal" routine, finding employment or other obstacles can often feel like insurmountable tasks. Without help and positive support from friends and family members, it can be easy for a schizophrenic to fall into a state of depression or hopelessness.

Psychotic episodes

Schizophrenia patients can be prone to acts of self-harm or committing suicide during psychotic episodes, which can be translated as a sign that the person is severely depressed. However, these acts may simply be the result of psychosis. If a person does engage in acts of self-harm, whether during an episode or not, it's important to seek immediate medical attention.

Source: NIMH