The Early Stages Of Schizophrenia
The Early Stages Of Schizophrenia
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The Early Stages Of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is one of the most complicated and interesting afflictions in the psychiatric field. Most other mental disorders tend to show up in older patients or at a very early age. When babies and children deal with such problematic disorders, it usually occurs from the first day of life, only they are hard to identify until the child is old enough for it’s behaviors to be recognized as odd.

On a different note, schizophrenia is somewhere in the middle. Its onset is typically during the stage of young adulthood. It rarely (officially) is diagnosed in teens due to the instability of the personality and brain at this time. It’s also not as often diagnosed in people in their 30’s.  They will often have already encountered the onset of schizophrenia in their early to late 20’s.  There is also the peculiarity of late-onset schizophrenia that must be considered.  The first symptoms tend to occur in the early 20’s in men, as well as the late 20’s in women. This is exactly the factor that makes schizophrenia such a harsh condition to live with. Just when young adults are finishing their schooling years and starting a career and a family, a lot of people are hit with schizophrenia when they least expect it. At the same time, the signs and symptoms are quite problematic and very scary for the patients’ families and friends, especially since they never expect them.

How Schizophrenia Arises

Schizophrenia is basically an amalgam of signs, symptoms and behavioral issues that mostly include hallucinations, delusions, speech problems, lack of emotions or unexpected behaviors. These, of course, differ from individual to individual and also depend on the type of schizophrenia presenting itself. Hallucinations represent sensory perceptions experienced without the presence of any stimulation from the external world. This leads to the experience of situations and false inputs that do not really exist. Delusions, on the other hand, are culturally bizarre beliefs about a person’s surroundings, social relationships, metaphysical certainties, and other philosophical conundrums. Whether it comes to down to reality or someone else’s feelings, delusions cause the patients to think strangely about seemingly obvious things.  The non-verifiable aspect of delusions often leave a “what-if” scenario as a possibility which furthers, deepends, and continues the lifespan of the delusion.

An early detection of schizophrenia is almost impossible before hallucinations and delusions step in, because the impending signs of schizophrenia usually are common conditions such as anxiety, depression, and other stress related problems. It is also quite difficult for both patients and their families to accept the diagnosis. The diagnosis is normally given during the prodromal stage of this affliction. This is when the first symptoms show up, yet they are hard to recognize. The symptoms are mild in the beginning, but they gain intensity overtime and the patients start losing their functionality.

How Schizophrenia Grows

This first phase of schizophrenia occurs about a couple of years before the initial arousal of psychotic symptoms. It also displays a few signs, but they are not too relevant as mentioned above. Most commonly, patients experience a mild social isolation, random anxiety and various problems in focusing. Communication also raises some issues and making decisions seems to be quite difficult. In order to underline a potential form of schizophrenia, such symptoms should arise at least once a week and become more severe overtime, lasting for at least six months according to the DSM.

Unfortunately, it is impossible to figure out how these symptoms and signs will evolve without letting them simply play out over the course of the illness. Perhaps they turn out to become a harsh type of schizophrenia, but this is not a general rule. In fact, there are plenty of psychiatric affections that start in the exact same manner but are much more benign illnesses. It is hard to tell if this is a temporary problem or a longterm one at this point in time. As if all these signs were not enough, patients do not even pay attention to the symptoms while they are still mild, making self-reporting to the doctor a further conundrum.  You can’t report what you don’t realize is there!

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20 Comments

  1. Hello people. I’m new at schizlife. I’m seventeen and I was diagnosed with schizophrenia two months ago. I was wondering. Is having delusions about the world not being real common. I was just wondering.

    • Josue, we are very glad to have you. Yes, delusions about the world not being real in some sense is definitely common. When believed in as such, it’s usually called a delusion. But there is also an anxiety condition called “derealization” that causes people to experience the world as if it’s not real, although they may still believe it is real. It’s a very subtle difference, but I point this out to say that yes it is a common delusion.

  2. Thanks for replying. I was just wondering also. I obsess about philosophy and the studies about what’s real like solipsism. Is it also common to obsess about philosophy and wondering if your life is a dream.

    • I think this is very normal for any philosophically inclined person. I’m an introvert and I really struggled and dealt with these concepts from age 19 until now, and I’m over 30. I have an entire library of books on these topics and they are all written by intellectual giants who did not have schizophrenia. It’s a very normal thing for introverts and intellectuals to ponder about. The reason they are easy to obsess about is that there are no answers! I’ll tell you this. If it becomes too scary or too anxiety provoking, just stop thinking about it. You have to enjoy the thoughts, but don’t try to solve the mystery. To put it in a Buddhist manner, sometimes to get the answer, you have to forget the question :)

  3. Thank you so much for replying I love your website. I was also wondering. I obsesse about philosophical questions like solipsism and the nature of reality. I feel like my mind latched onto these questions. Is that also common with people with schizophrenia.

    • Thanks for replying lol I posted the same question twice by accident sorry about that

  4. I think we are nothing more than just brains. Is this a delusion. This thought is giving me a lot of grief.

  5. What you’re talking about is called “solipsism” and a lesser version is commonly known as the “Brain in a Vat” theory, that we are nothing but minds (not brains). I personally struggled with this concept at one point in my life until I read a book called “Ten Philosophical Mistakes” by Mortimer J. Adler who explained the error of solipsism very clearly. What a relief that was. What you’ll find if you read it is that, while consciousness is definitely in the brain, it requires the brain, a body, sensory organs, and external stimuli to generate the activity we experience. We aren’t alone, and we aren’t just brains. It’s a very complex concept that’s confusing. If you are truly struggling with the idea, do some deep inquiry starting with the book I’ve mentioned, and you’ll find some peace about it. In the end though, you need to find a place inside of yourself that is okay with these types of questions. A lot of these questions don’t have answers, so you’ve got to be able to relax in that groundlessness.

  6. Thanks for replying. I also wanted to ask another question. I think that we are our brains. Like we are all brains but in a human shell. Will I find an answer it this in the book you described?

    • Honestly, I don’t remember all 10 of the “mistakes” in the book, Perhaps you’ll find an answer. I think you could take the thought to a more fundamental level and go ahead and say that we are just “consciousness” encased in a brain complex enough to bring forth high intelligence, which is encapsulated in a body that allows it to be mobile and feed itself for survival. But then again, I wouldn’t look at it as a hierarchy like that, but a holarchy, meaning that all of the pieces are equal. We are a mind, a brain, and a body equally. These systems are all co-dependent and on equal tiers. If you want, you could include the whole universe in this idea, and you’d be reaching Buddhist and Hinduism ideas too. You aren’t wrong or right, it’s just a matter of how you want to think about things :) Lots of ideologies have risen from different perspectives on these ideas that have inspired entire cultures and lines of philosophical thought!

  7. Thanks for replying again. You are really helpful and sorry if I’m being bothersome but does the human conscience exist. Like is it scientifically proven to exist. Again sorry for being bothersome but I was just wondering. And again thanks for replying you are really helpful.

    • Well, Josue, I think science is meaningless and non-existent without a consciousness to make the observations, create hypotheses, collect evidence, and prove theories. As Reneé Descartes said, the way we know our consciousness exists is because we actively experience ourselves thinking, feeling, perceiving, etc. You can doubt it all you want, but the doubter obviously exists… See what I mean?

  8. Hello I just wanted to say that this website is very helpful and I appreciate the help that has been given to me. Thanks you so much

  9. Hey I got the book you told me to read. Do you know which part of the book disproves solipsism. And again thanks for all the help.

  10. I don’t have the book on hand at the moment, but I looked up the chapter list online. It’s one of the early ones. I want to say it’s either “Consciousness and its Objects” or “the Intellect and the Senses”. Possibly both. It’s pretty heavy reading, but well worth it. You’re welcome :)

  11. Thank you

  12. Hi! I loved reading this thread. I study a field called transpersonal psychology. I am familiar with this website through looking at schizophrenia in comparison to the concept of spiritual emergence(y). I had two teachers, David Lukoff and Aaron Mishara, co teaching a class on clinical spiritual research. Dr. Lukoff specializes in spiritual emergence, while Dr. Mishara studies schizophrenia – they each presented their work and it was cool to see the similarities and how little is known about the two topics and where they do or don’t meet. I think its really interesting to reframe schizophrenia in terms of spiritual emergency like done on this site, and through my personal experiences I would agree this is accurate. I think its so great Josue, that you have been asking questions to understand the way you are making meaning out of your experience, and I think its so wonderful that Schiz Life has taken the time to give such clear and truthful answers! Y’all are rad.

  13. Hello back again. I’m reading the book you mentioned to me. Is it cool if you can help explain to me why solipsism is false. Again sorry for being a bothersome. It just really scares me. But thanks for the help. I really appreciate it.

  14. Hello :) I stumbled upon your website while researching gluten and psychosis. I am putting all the pieces to this very scary, overwhelming puzzle of my 14 year old son’s life. I have finally found a Dr. in CA (we live in Florida) who has opened my eyes to genetics, gluten & psychosis and stress. Thank you for providing this wonderful information!

  15. Hi, I just found this site while looking for answers. I’ve been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, anxiety, OCD, and slight PTSD that is very minor. For most of my life I have been experiencing very odd things, such as my dolls seeming too lifelike, or seeing extremely frightening things out of the corner of my eye that send me into a mini panic attack. I have a doll that’s very old, and I’ve always believed she was very much alive, possessed by an entity even. I’ve heard people arguing when no one was in the room I thought I heard it from, and I’ve gone to people to ask if they were talking to me, or calling me only for them to look at me weird and say that no, they hasn’t said anything. I’m constantly afraid of people, because I’m always thinking they’re being fake, or that they’re silently judging me, or they really don’t like me. I’ve always come off as weird and mean, when in reality I’m just quiet because I can’t trust anyone. I also have what I call my inner critic, which my mom has always told me is normal, but the more I read on this site the more I’m convinced that it’s really not. When I get upset, or when I’m really depressed I’ve argued with myself silently in my head when this voice in the back of my head tell me to ‘do it’ in regards to smoking or hurting myself. I’ve been very impulsive at times and I end up doing it, but my doctors are aware I’ve hurt myself, they just don’t know about the ‘inner critic’ because I’ve always thought it was normal. I’ve always had trouble hanging onto new relationships too, and I’ve destroyed just about every relationship I’ve been in. I can’t make new friends because the moment I get to like people my emotions flat line, they just turn off like a light switch. This happens when I’m having fun too. I’ve also had the bad habit of laughing when in distressing or depressing situations, I laughed when my grandpa died and I was so close to him. It really bothered me because I couldn’t control it, and I kept screaming at myself internally to ‘stop it’, because it wasn’t the way I was supposed to react, but there was no control.

    I’m 26 and live at home because I can’t keep a job. I’ve tried getting disability, and it’s on the 5 year mark now but I feel like no one believes me or understands. I’m going to try to talk to my doctor and be honest when I see them next. I’m always afraid they won’t take me seriously or play my problems off as not serious, when they are debilitating. Sorry this is so long, I just really want someone to understand and help me.