About one in 100 Americans are diagnosed with schizophrenia, a treatable serious mental illness that affects a person’s thoughts, feelings, mood, and overall functioning according to the American Psychological Association (APA). (1) With statistics like that, it’s a wonder why the mass public isn’t more educated about schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is often diagnosed through early adulthood in teens and early 20s and is rarely identified later in life. At first many of the symptoms of schizophrenia may go unnoticed but by knowing what to look for and recognizing signs you can receive early treatment. To help you learn more about this mental illness and how to detect it, here’s how to recognize the signs of schizophrenia.
- Trouble thinking logically. People with the onset of schizophrenia sometimes have trouble thinking logically. This may include making informed decisions, as well.
- Difficulty paying attention. A short attention span, or the struggle to stay focused on one event can be a potential sign of schizophrenia. Because difficulty paying attention is a symptom for a variety of illnesses and disorders it’s important that it is paired with other symptoms as well before concluding schizophrenia.
- Working memory problems. Because schizophrenia is a mental illness it has the ability to impair ones’ working memory, or more commonly known as short term memory. Forgetting recent events like where you set your keys or what you ate for lunch earlier that day are both examples of short term memory.
- Hallucinations. A more serious sign of schizophrenia is experiencing hallucinations. These hallucinations often include hearing voices or seeing things that others do not see.
- Speaking little. If you are typically a chatter box but recently don’t have the desire to speak much, there may be an underlying problem. Speaking little is another sign of schizophrenia.
- Repetitive body movements. Agitated or repetitive body movements are common in those who suffer with schizophrenia. These movements can be seen as repetitive movements being performed over and over again.
- False beliefs. As part of the thought disorder, false beliefs that may seem odd or wrong are believable to you even after loved ones try to redirect your thinking. These thoughts often do not line up with the person’s typical thinking and may make little to no sense.
- Difficult to understand. As a person with schizophrenia struggles to organize their thoughts their speech can become jumbled and difficult to understand. They may even make up meaningless words or stop talking midsentence.
Coping with any mental illness is a struggle, including schizophrenia. But with 1 in every 100 Americans diagnosed with schizophrenia it’s time to better educate the public about what to look for. It’s important to note that treatment helps relieve many symptoms of schizophrenia and many people with the illness continue to lead rewarding and meaningful lives in their communities, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. (2) Learning how to recognize signs of schizophrenia is the first step toward treatment and the start to living that rewarding and meaningful life.
Mark D. Parisi, Psy.D. & Associates, P.C. provides counseling, psychological testing, and psychotropic medication management in Mount Prospect and Chicago – serving surrounding Cook, Lake, DuPage, and Will Counties. They accept most insurance and offer extremely affordable sliding scale rates. Call (847) 909-9858 for a free, no-obligation telephone consultation
- Recognizing the Signs of Schizophrenia, Schizophrenia statistics and definition, 2015, http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/recognizing-schizophrenia.aspx
- What is Schizophrenia?, Schizophrenia treatment, 2015, http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml