Los Angeles Schizophrenia Specialist

Dr. Samuel Lee is a Los Angeles based schizophrenia specialist that treats individuals and their family members suffering from schizophrenia in his office in Playa Del Rey.

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Schizophrenia Q&A

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that affects less than one percent of the U.S. population. When schizophrenia is active, symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations, trouble with thinking and concentration, and lack of motivation. However, with treatment, most symptoms of schizophrenia will greatly improve.

While there is no cure for schizophrenia, research is leading to new, safer treatments. Experts also are unraveling the causes of the disease by studying genetics, conducting behavioral research, and using advanced imaging to look at the brain’s structure and function. These approaches hold the promise of new, more effective therapies.

The complexity of schizophrenia may help explain why there are misconceptions about the disease. Schizophrenia does not mean split personality or multiple-personality. Most people with schizophrenia are not dangerous or violent. They also are not homeless nor do they live in hospitals. Most people with schizophrenia live with family, in group homes or on their own.

When the disease is active, it can be characterized by episodes in which the patient is unable to distinguish between real and unreal experiences. As with any illness, the severity, duration and frequency of symptoms can vary; however, in persons with schizophrenia, the incidence of severe psychotic symptoms often decreases during a patient’s lifetime. Not taking medications as prescribed, use of alcohol or illicit drugs, and stressful situations tend to increase symptoms. Symptoms fall into several categories:

  • Positive psychotic symptoms: Hallucinations, such as hearing voices, paranoid delusions and exaggerated or distorted perceptions, beliefs and behaviors.
  • Negative symptoms: A loss or a decrease in the ability to initiate plans, speak, express emotion or find pleasure.
  • Disorganization symptoms: Confused and disordered thinking and speech, trouble with logical thinking and sometimes bizarre behavior or abnormal movements.
  • Impaired cognition: Problems with attention, concentration, memory and declining educational performance.

Symptoms usually first appear in early adulthood. Men often experience symptoms in their late teens or early 20s and women often first show signs in their 20s and early 30s. More subtle signs may be present earlier, including troubled relationships, poor school performance and reduced motivation.

Researchers believe that a number of genetic and environmental factors contribute to causation, and life stressors may play a role in the disorder’s onset and course. Since multiple factors may contribute, scientists cannot yet be specific about the exact cause in individual cases. Since the term schizophrenia embraces several different disorders, variation in cause between cases is expected.

Treatment can help many people with schizophrenia lead highly productive and rewarding lives. As with other chronic illnesses, some patients do extremely well while others continue to be symptomatic and need support and assistance. After the symptoms of schizophrenia are controlled, various types of therapy can continue to help people manage the illness and improve their lives. Therapy and supports can help people learn social skills, cope with stress, identify early warning signs of relapse and prolong periods of remission. Because schizophrenia typically strikes in early adulthood, individuals with the disorder often benefit from rehabilitation to help develop life-management skills, complete vocational or educational training, and hold a job. For example, supported-employment programs have been found to help persons with schizophrenia obtain self-sufficiency. These programs provide people with severe mental illness with competitive jobs in the community.

Are you seeking a psychiatrist who is passionate about what he does and who takes an integrative and spiritual approach to mental health? Are you seeking a psychiatrist who is comfortable with alternative, holistic, and complementary treatments while having a judicious and conservative approach to psychiatric medications?

Explore my credentials

Board Certified Psychiatry and Neurology

B.A. Magna Cum Laude in Religion from Pacific Union College

MD Loma Linda University School of Medicine

Residency in Psychiatry, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA.

Inpatient Adult Psychiatrist, Kaweah Delta Mental Health Hospital

Primary Attending Geriatric Psychiatrist at the Auerbach Inpatient Psychiatric Jewish Home Hospital

General Adult Outpatient Psychiatrist, Kaiser Permanente

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