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!