The early symptoms of schizophrenia

A diagnosis of schizophrenia shatters the family as it is a chronic mental condition of great disturbing features, has no cure and has periodic flare ups. The family is subjected to never-ending anxiety, long drawn disturbances, and has to make permanent commitment towards looking after the patient. This needs great endurance and an unending amount of patience.

However, an early detection and proper treatment which involves medication and its uninterrupted administration, counseling, rehabilitation and managing periodic episodes ensures an active, productive, and socially acceptable life. Importance of an early diagnosis cannot be overemphasized. Awareness of the initial signs are a prerequisite to early detection. Some of the early signs that can easily be noticed and common are:

  • Hearing, smelling or seeing something that isn’t there: The patient periodically mentions that he is hearing voices which nobody else hears.
  • Feeling indifferent to very important situations: Patient does not exhibit any reaction to the news of any untoward events.
  • A change in personal hygiene and appearance.
  • A constant feeling of being watched: The patient will often mention that he is being watched and spied.
  • Deterioration of academic or work performance: This is easily noticeable, especially doubts would have been raised in the family.
  • Inability to sleep or concentrate: The patient would be complaining about not sleeping well or not able to concentrate in studies or his work. Certainly, complaints would start registering.
  • A change in personality: The household notices that the patient is, in some-way-or-another, looking different these days.
  • Peculiar or nonsensical way of speaking or writing and strange body positioning: This would be noticed certainly but may not be linked to schizophrenia in the early days especially, if this comes very early.
  • Increasing withdrawal from social situations: The patient would look rather quiet and withdrawn. They might to respond to questions about their asocial behavior.
  • Irrational, angry or fearful response to loved ones and inappropriate or bizarre behavior.
  • Extreme preoccupation with religion or occult: One may be religious but their increased preoccupation should be of concern.

An awareness of the symptoms is very important in early detection. It is, however, easier said than done in today’s busy lives and small families. A larger presence of people would definitely increase the chances but correlating these to schizophrenia is still a problem.