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Psychiatry & Psychology--General/Possible Schizophrenia or other mental illness?

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Question
I am 18 years old, and for a while now I've always felt like something wasn't right. I have extreme paranoia and unusual distrust. For instance, I have had my girlfriend for around 2 years now, and we have a 4 month old daughter and everything is great with us. I have no reason to distrust her, yet I have unrational fears and distrusts of her cheating on me, and recently my daughter has cried whenever I hold her. I know it's completely normal but I still come to the conclusion that they must be brainwashing my daughter when I'm not around (we don't live together) and I come to odd conclusions like that were it feels like people are out to get me. I've been looking into possible mental illnesses and came across schizophrenia symptoms which I've never considered because I don't hallucinate or hear voices. But most of the symptoms fit me like a glove, including: Social isolation and withdrawal,
Irrational, bizarre or odd beliefs,
Increased paranoia or questioning others' motivations,
Becoming more emotionless,
Hostility or suspiciousness,
Increasing reliance on drugs or alcohol,
Lack of motivation,
Insomnia or oversleeping, and
Deterioration in their personal appearance and hygiene.
I've been a heavy marijuana smoker for the past 5 years (quitting now) and I know that using has been directly linked to schizophrenia. I don't know if it matters, but I'm just putting it out there that I've always felt I was special in a sense that harm couldn't come my way, as if something is watching over me protecting me. Ive also been very depressed at times and have had serious suicidal thoughts. Any suggestions of possible things wrong with me? I will be seeing a doctor but I'm worried he will just tell me it's normal due to stress.

Answer
Jacob

The symptoms you so well of a, possible psychosis,  describe are unlikely to be simply attributable to stress.

They may not be severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of schizophrenia, but they are serious and need professional evaluation.  The type of doctor you should see is a psychiatrist or psychologist, who are specialists in making such a determination.

Having the forethought and insight to worry about your symptoms and the need to seek help is a very good sign and may mitigate against a diagnosis of schizophrenia but other types of mental problems that are less severe can still cause symptoms of psychosis as you describe.

Please continue to seek help until you find the answer and a trustworthy person to help you get through it.

Best,

Dr. Elmore  

Psychiatry & Psychology--General

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Andrew M. Elmore, Ph.D.

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I can answer questions about: Stress. Headaches. Stress-related Disorders. Anxiety/Panic Disorder. Depression. Psychopathology. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Personal Problem Solving. Life in General. Relationships: Love, Friendship, Business Partner, Coworker, Family,Child/Parent. What makes us tick. The use of psycho-pharmacological agents in combination with psychological treatment. How to deal with evil people in your life. How to improve your outlook under duress. How to control stress. How to control mood. How to control headaches. I cannot answer: Questions about Eating Disorders. Questions about computers.

Experience

30 years in private practice as a psychologist in Manhattan. Dealing with people from almost every conceivable ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, and as many character types as exist in this country. Dealing with patients from 8 years old to 90 years old. Pioneer in biofeedback and the treatment of stress-related disorders. Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine since 1982. Treatment of stress-related, anxiety and depressive disorders with biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapy. Developed personal problem solving, an extremely precise form of psychotherapy. Relationship therapy for couples, families, parent/child issues, business partners, coworkers, employers, and dealing with psychopathic individuals in your life.

Organizations
American Psychological Association. Association for Applied Psychophysiology and Biofeedback. Biofeedback Certification Institute of America. New York Academy of Sciences.

Publications
The journal, Psychophysiology. The book, Expanding Dimensions of Consciousness. The journal, Headache. The journal, Biofeedback and Self-Regulation. The journal Psychiatry Digest. The book, The TMJ Book. The book, Dental Phobia. The network, CNN. Parade Magazine. The newspaper, Newsday. The Manhattan TV station, WCBS. The national news program, The CBS Evening News. The newspaper, The New York Post. The national TV program, The Phil Donohue Show. The magazine, The New Yorker. The magazine, Glamor. The magazine, Redbook. The magazine, Health. The magazine, Bottom Line Personal. Web MD. The website, Healthology. The magazine, Newsweek.

Education/Credentials
Ph.D. SUNY at Stony Brook, 1979. B.A., magna cum laude with Honors in Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University, 1974.

Awards and Honors
Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare, First, Second and Third Editions, 1997-2000. Appointed to the Training Faculty of the Biofeedback Certification Institute of America (BCIA), 1993. Senior Fellow BCIA. New York Academy of Sciences, 1987. Who’s Who in the East, 1983-present. Who’s Who in Frontier Science and Technology, First Edition. Citation Paper Author. Eleventh Annual Meeting of the Biofeedback Society of America, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 1980. Biofeedback Society of America Scholar, 1979. Co-author, USVA Grant, “Variables Affecting the Experience of Pain in Migraine,” USVA Medical Center, Northport, New York, 1977-1979. Biomedical Research Fellow, Department of Biomedical Engineering, SUNY at Stony Brook, Stony Brook, New York, 1978. NIMH Predoctoral Fellowship, 1976. BA, Magna cum laude, with Honors in Psychology, 1974. Danforth Fellowship Nominee, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, 1973.

Past/Present Clients
Most of my clients are my private patients. However I have provided many seminars, lectures and workshops for: Columbia University. The Mount Sinai School of Medicine. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Museum of Natural History. The UJA Federation. The university, CW Post. The College of New Rochelle. Equinox Fitness. Travelers Insurance. AutoOne Insurance. Chubb Insurance. Metropolitan Life. Allstate Insurance. State Farm Insurance. Encompass Insurance. The public relations firm, Porter Novelli. The investment firm, Capital Re:. The Estee Lauder corporation. The law firm of Irwin Abrams. The National Insurance Crime Bureau. GEICO Insruance. Beth Israel Hospital.

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