When it comes to schizophrenia, it’s easy for anyone to open up browser and search the internet for a list and explanations of all of the various symptoms. However, most often that is not really the end goal of the searcher. They want to know what some of the warnings signs of schizophrenia are, not the fully developed constellation of symptomatic expression. The difference may seem slight, and truthfully it is a small difference. However, the difference lies not within the information but the presentation of the information. The searcher needs not a scientific, jargon-riddled, medical research paper, but a description of these warning signs in laymen’s terms that are easily understandable. Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the problems that could be arising in the early periods of the development of schizophrenia that could serve as a preemptive warning to family members, friends, and the individual him or herself.
Signs of Schizophrenia Observable By An Outsider
When referring to an “outsider,” we are talking about a friend or family member who is familiar with the normal behavioral patterns of the suspected person. These following signs must be divergences from the usual mode of operation for the individual and must persist for some amount of time to be considered consistent and constant.
For instance, has the person in question begun disregarding or treating their body in a manner unusual to their regular routine, such as the sudden shaving of the head or hair from other or all parts of the body? Have they become overly interested or have lost motivation in maintaining proper hygiene, such as brushing their teeth, bathing themselves, or wearing the proper clothing? Have they begun staring or making excessive eye contact without blinking? Or perhaps they are blinking far too frequently? These are just some of the possibilities you may have begun to notice, and by themselves they are not conclusive. However, in addition to many of the other changes you may begin to build a case that suggests a visit to a psychologist is in order. Let’s look at some other changes.
The person you are concerned about may possibly have begun sleeping an unordinary amount of time. This could be a number greater than 12 hours per day, or maybe even the opposite has been occurring in which the person barely sleeps at all. They could have developed any combination of depression and melancholy, anxiety and nervousness, or hostility and aggression. This person may exhibit emotions at seemingly inappropriate times, such as laughing at violence, or weeping unexpectedly during a comedy movie. These inner changes can manifest themselves externally in these ways and more, such as beginning to speak differently by using a different set of vocabulary or being very resistant and sensitive to physical contact with other people.
Let’s give an example story to make these signs stand out a bit more for you.
Timothy Displaying Signs of Schizophrenia as Viewed by His Mother
According to his mother, Timothy was doing fine in his education and socializing. He was a 23 year old junior in college with plenty of friends. He lived at home and would bring a barrage of various friends by to play video games and just hang out in general. As usual at the end of the semester, Tim brought home his report card and his mother noticed that his usual straight-A list of grades featured largely B-minus and C-pluses. She had also begun to recognize his need for isolation. Tim would retreat to his room and not exit for long periods of time. His friends no longer visited. Tim wasn’t showering daily any more nor shaving his facial hair. His hair was always unkempt now. One day while he was at class, she entered his bedroom to find two-liter bottles full of urine. This was completely unlike her son, so she used an at home drug-test to determine if drugs was the problem. He passed the test clean and clear… “What is his problem?” This was the question that plagued his mother.
We will return to this story shortly from Tim’s own perspective.
Schizophrenia Signs Experienced by the Individual
The person him or herself will experience these events and symptoms in a completely different manner than an outsider will comprehend. The main difference between the outsider and the individual himself is that the outsider does not have access to the person’s thoughts and emotions.
Before we talk about these signs that a person may notice within himself, let’s continue with Timothy’s story from his own perspective.
Continuing Timothy’s Story
Tim began to become very suspicious of his friend’s motivations. He wasn’t sure if he should trust them or not, because he felt that they were always laughing at him and that they all shared some inside joke about him or had some plan being enacted upon him. So he began to withdraw socially. His fear that his own mother may be involved led him to hiding in his bedroom, not even brave enough to leave to go to the restroom many of the times. His sense of self-worth dropped and he saw no reason to take care of himself, so he stopped bathing and shaving. He felt so depressed that all he wanted to do was sleep. His emotions were blunted and he could feel this reflected on his expressionless face. He also knew his grades were slipping because he was having a very hard time focusing in class, and when it came time to take tests and quizzes he had a difficult time organizing his thoughts and expressing them on paper. Quite honestly, he didn’t even care any more, because he was more alarmed by the increasingly frequent hallucinations he was experiencing.
Notice that some of the external behaviors that are observed by friends and family are actually caused by new thoughts and emotions that are arising in the person. One of the main attributes that inspires these behaviors are delusions, which are essentially thoughts that are based in beliefs that aren’t real. It is very unlikely that a person’s friends, family, and social circle are co-conspiring against him. This is a belief that is not founded in truth but in delusion. These types of beliefs can be compounded and supported by hallucinations, which are also perceptions that don’t truly exist in some fashion, whether completely or partially.
These problems can take precedence and create a sense of despair or apathy, combined with depression, anxiety, detachment fear, or complete unresponsiveness as a mode of escape. All of these new feelings can be confusing, which makes it difficult to focus. A person’s entire set of communication abilities may be disrupted, most notably speaking and language. Disorganized thinking makes it hard for anyone else to understand the individual as they try new words to express their new ideas and emotions, and they often jump from topic to topic making it difficult for an outsider to follow the train of thought.
The early schizophrenia signs are in fact just pieces of the full cluster of symptoms that can appear with fully-developed schizophrenia. There are internal and external signs to be noticed. If you want to learn more of the possible symptoms involved, please read the post here for a larger scope. The purpose of this article is to introduce those concerned that they themselves or one of their loved ones may be developing signs of an impending battle with schizophrenia.