Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that has affected people throughout history. About 1 percent of Americans have this illness.
People with the disorder may hear voices other people don't hear. They may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. This can terrify people with the illness and make them withdrawn or extremely
People with schizophrenia may not make sense when they talk. They may sit for hours without moving or talking. Sometimes people with schizophrenia seem perfectly fine until they talk about what they are really thinking.
Families and society are affected by schizophrenia too. Many people with schizophrenia have difficulty holding a job or caring for themselves, so they rely on others for help.
Treatment helps relieve many symptoms of schizophrenia, but most people who have the disorder cope with symptoms throughout their lives. However, many people with schizophrenia can lead rewarding and meaningful lives in their communities.
Researchers are developing more effective medications and using new research tools to understand the causes of schizophrenia. In the years to come, this work may help prevent and better treat the illness.
The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three broad categories: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms.
Positive symptoms are psychotic behaviors not seen in healthy people. People with positive symptoms often "lose touch" with reality. These symptoms can come and go. Sometimes they are severe and at other times hardly noticeable, depending on whether the individual is receiving treatment. They include the
Hallucinations are things a person sees, hears, smells, or feels that no one else can see, hear, smell, or feel. "Voices" are the most common type of hallucination in schizophrenia. Many people with the disorder hear voices. The voices may talk to the person about his or her behavior, order the person to do
things, or warn the person of danger. Sometimes the voices talk to each other.
People with schizophrenia may hear voices for a long time before family and friends notice the problem. Other types of hallucinations include seeing people or objects that are not there, smelling odors that no one else detects, and feeling things like invisible fingers touching their bodies when no one is near.
Delusions are false beliefs that are not part of the person's culture and do not change. The person believes delusions even after other people prove that the beliefs are not true or logical. People with schizophrenia can have delusions that seem bizarre, such as believing that neighbors can control their behavior with magnetic waves. They may also believe that people on television are directing special messages to them, or that radio stations are broadcasting their thoughts aloud to others. Sometimes they believe they are someone else,
such as a famous historical figure. They may have paranoid delusions and believe that others are trying to harm them, such as by cheating, harassing, poisoning, spying on, or plotting against them or the people they care about. These beliefs are called "delusions of persecution."
Thought disorders are unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking. One form of thought disorder is called "disorganized thinking." This is when a person has trouble organizing his or her thoughts or connecting them logically. They may talk in a garbled way that is hard to understand. Another form is called
"thought blocking." This is when a person stops speaking abruptly in the middle of a thought. When asked why he or she stopped talking, the person may say that it felt as if the thought had been taken out of his or her head. Finally, a person with a thought disorder might make up meaningless words, or"neologisms."
Movement disorders may appear as agitated body movements. A person with a movement disorder may repeat certain motions over and over. In the other
extreme, a person may become catatonic. Catatonia is a state in which a person does not move and does not respond to others. Catatonia is rare today,but it was more common when treatment for schizophrenia was not available.
Negative symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. These symptoms are harder to recognize as part of the disorder and can be mistaken for depression or other conditions. These symptoms include the following:
"Flat affect" (a person's face does not move or he or she talks in a dull or monotonous voice)
Lack of pleasure in everyday life
Lack of ability to begin and sustain planned activities
Speaking little, even when forced to interact.
People with negative symptoms need help with everyday tasks. They often neglect basic personal hygiene. This may make them seem lazy or unwilling to help themselves, but the problems are symptoms caused by the schizophrenia.
Cognitive symptoms are subtle. Like negative symptoms, cognitive symptoms may be difficult to recognize as part of the disorder. Often, they are detected only when other tests are performed. Cognitive symptoms include the following:
Poor "executive functioning" (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
Trouble focusing or paying attention
Problems with "working memory" (the ability to use information immediately after learning it).
Cognitive symptoms often make it hard to lead a normal life and earn a living. They can cause great emotional distress.
We have all seen or had the image of someone screaming on the street, talking to themselves, disheveled and many times, seemingly angry. We may walk by them concerned for ourselves and our safety, we may overhear them speaking to someone that we cannot see, or may even try our best to zone them out and ignore what they are doing.
The John Henry Foundation recognizes the need to not ignore, walk past or zone out. We recognize the need to bring understanding and patience- the openness and willingness to support those living with this disorder. At our facility, we do not just treat the disorder; we build meaningful lives for people living with Schizophrenia Spectrum Illnesses.
Our professional staff, high caliber understanding of the illness and partnerships with various universities, including the University of California School of Medicine, Irvine, equips us with the necessary research, expertise, and passion to treat this disorder. Our use of a biopsychosocial model helps to support those living with the illness in a variety of fashions;
Biologically, we support and use the most modern medication regimes, while staying flexible to individual histories. But medication is only one part of our program.
We also provide psychological support in the form of one-on-one and group therapy. We tailor individual plans for our residents that focus on cognitive growth and enhancement, while also providing support and care to their personal needs and wants.
Our social support system ensures that residents live and interact with others who share similar symptoms and stories. Friendships are made, new memories are created and in many cases, lives are changed.
Board and Care
In 1973, the Legislature enacted the Community Care Facilities Act to be administered by the Department of Health. This Act established a statewide system of community care (separate from health care) for persons with mental and developmental disabilities, and socially dependent children and adults. The Act required the Department of Health, together with care providers (Advisory Committee on Community Care Facilities), to jointly establish new regulations for licensing non-medical out-of-home care facilities.
In 1978, the Legislature established within the Health and Welfare Agency the Departments of Mental Health, Alcohol and Drug Programs, Health Care Services, Developmental Services, Social Services, and the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. The Department of Health Services was reorganized and retained licensing responsibility for all Health Care Facilities (medical models/institutional settings), and licensing responsibilities for all Community Care Facilities (social models/residential settings) were transferred to the new California Department of Social Services (CDSS). The Community Care Licensing (CCL) Program along with several programs from the former Department of Benefit Payments were combined to form the current Department of Social Services.
Community care was originally envisioned as a normalizing and least restrictive environment for persons needing basic care and supervision that would assist them in performance of the activities of daily living. The children and adults placed in such settings were envisioned as requiring little more than a healthful safe and supportive environment.
Today the CCL Program remains a Division within CDSS. However the nature of community care has changed significantly and now includes care for persons whose needs require the management of severe behavior adjustment problems, serious mental disorders and significant medical needs. In order to give emphasis to the different populations served the CCL Program is now governed by three separate licensing Acts and a fourth statute that was enacted in 1990.
The John Henry Foundation (JHF), Moore Village, is licensed by Community Care Licensing as an Adult Residential Facility (ARF). An ARF is a residential home for adults ages 18 through 59 with mental health care needs or who have physical or developmental disabilities and require or prefer assistance with care and supervision.