How to Recognize the Signs of Schizophrenia

treat schizophreniaAbout 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





  1. Recognizing the Signs of Schizophrenia, Schizophrenia statistics and definition, 2015,
  2. What is Schizophrenia?, Schizophrenia treatment, 2015,


Can You Fake Mental Illness?

While you may be thinking, “Why would anyone want to fake a mental illness,” you may be surprised to learn that while mental illnesses have their obvious negatives, they also offer a handful of positives. Some of which are even believed to be worth faking it for.

mental illnessWe see hideous crimes committed regularly in society. There is almost always something horrific in the news that you would think, “Clearly that person must be insane to commit such a horrible crime against humanity.” And so, we watch as they choose to plea insanity. Now, the significance of proving insanity in the court room is that if you are deemed insane you are no longer eligible for the death penalty and cannot be held responsible for your actions in the same way a sane person would be, according to the U.S. Criminal Resource Manual. (1) An obvious draw for completely sane people to want to fake a mental illness, right?

You certainly don’t have to commit a horrible crime against humanity to consider the idea of faking a mental illness. Average people, leading average lives attempt to fake mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety often. Again, you may be asking yourself, “Why?” People with mental illnesses, similar to physical illnesses, receive attention. People want to hear about your struggle and help you cope or even help you overcome your mental illness. People who strongly desire attention may seek it through faking sick, mentally. But is it possible?

According to the Queensland government, “It is extremely difficult to ‘fake’ mental illness, particularly for an extended period of time.” (2) While someone may be able to imitate depression-like or insanity-like symptoms for a short period of time, eventually ones’ true colors will begin to show. In addition, a series of tests have been specifically put in place to weed out any potential fakers when it comes to pleading insanity within the court room.

It is important to note that while people who attempt to fake a mental illness for whatever benefit entices them often has an underlying root cause. They may have a great need for attention from others or enjoy lying and fooling people. Or they simply want an escape from the responsibility of the crimes they commit. Whatever the case may be, it’s important for us to look beyond the failed attempt to deceive.

From the court room to the dinner table and everywhere in-between, you may witness someone who attempts to fake a mental illness. Whether it be insanity, depression, anxiety, or another form of mental illness, there are a variety of benefits that comes with faking it. But don’t be alarmed. Faking a mental illness is extremely difficult, especially for an extended period of time. It turns out, you can’t fake it!

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




  1. Criminal Resource Manual, Perks of pleading insanity, 2015,
  2. Frequently Asked Questions about Mental Illness, Difficult to fake mental illness quote, 2006,
Tom Naratadam

Tom Naratadam, Psy.D., LCPC

Dr. Tom Naratadam chicago illinois

Hi and thank you for choosing me!  Please allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Dr. Tom Naratadam.  I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and both my Doctor of Psychology (Psy.D.) and Masters Degree in School Psychology (Ed.S.) from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology.  I completed my Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) certification in Illinois in 2015.  My professional work experience is diverse and includes work in multiple settings including residential, inpatient, outpatient, community mental health, group private practice, and school-settings throughout the Metro Chicagoland area.

I have worked as an outpatient provider with Dr. Mark Parisi since 2010. In addition to my work with Dr. Parisi and Home Psych Services, P.C., I have worked as a bilingual school psychologist at the Chicago Public Schools – performing extensive diagnostic testing and spearheading group therapy with children and adolescents – and more recently in the private school systems.

I have expertise working in multicultural populations and have conducted numerous workshops on cross-cultural issues related to the Latino and Asian-Indian cultures. My experience also includes several years of assessing and working with children and adolescents who have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Conduct and Mood Disorders, and issues related to adolescent sexuality and identity.  I provide in-office and teletherapy services for Generations and Home Psych Services using secure video teleconferencing technology for the comfort, convenience, added privacy and safety of my clients.

I am proud of his Asian-Indian heritage. I enjoy traveling, enjoying Chicago’s wide array of restaurants, and spending time with his family and friends. I am a non-native speaker of Spanish and have excellent fluency.

Park Ridge, Illinois Testing

Has it been suggested that you or a loved one receive a Psychological Evaluation in the Chicago, Illinois area? If so, you are probably experience a wide variety of emotions. Some people feel ashamed or embarrassed while others become anxious or panicked. Park Ridge, Illinois Psychological Testing is no reason for you to feel uncomfortable. The professionals are merely here to evaluate your needs and help to find a way to solve any problems.

Controversy Over Intelligence Testing

The controversy over intelligence, or IQ, testing is not new to the field of psychology.  The debate has raged for years over exactly what is being measured in traditional IQ tests and what, if anything, do particular IQ scores mean.

IQ testing began as a way of categorizing military recruits and quickly expanded into non-military applications as a means of determining someone’s capacity for success.  Two of the most popular IQ tests, The Stanford-Binet and The Wechsler Intelligence Scales, measure intelligence as a construct composed of both verbal and nonverbal components.  On these IQ tests, respondents are asked to solve different types of problems – some measuring vocabulary, mathematics, and general information skills, others assessing the ability to assemble sequences of pictures to tell a story or determine what is missing from a series of pictures.  The question remains, though, what exactly are these IQ tests measuring?

In an attempt to answer this question, it is helpful to better understand which subtests on the IQ tests factor in most heavily to form the composite estimate of IQ.  On the verbal scale, this is the Vocabulary subtest; while, on the nonverbal scale, this is the Block Design subtest.  The Vocabulary subtest loads heavily on word knowledge and definitions.  The Block Design subtest loads heavily on visual-spatial / perceptual-organization skills.  Many experts believe that IQ tests are unduly influenced by language issues and load somewhat heavily on verbal skills.  For this reason, there have been efforts to devise some IQ tests which factor out the influence of language to give, perhaps, a fairer estimate of intelligence minus the language bias.  One such test that has received much attention and praise is the Comprehensive Test of Nonverbal Intelligence.  Still other IQ tests have recognized that traditional IQ tests do not measure some of the most basic aspects of the human experience – the need to relate effectively to others.  The Bar-On Emotional Intelligence Test was created to measure a construct called Emotional Intelligence, or E-IQ, which is believed to be a strong predictor of interpersonal success.

Still the question lingers of just how meaningful of a construct is IQ?  The answer to this question appears to reside in asking another question which is, “What are you trying to predict?”  There is a vast body of research that confirms that traditional IQ tests are good at predicting how far someone may be able to go in school.  Also, traditional IQ tests are believed to be good predictors of how successful someone might be within a particular vocation.  Clearly, though, IQ testing is shrouded in controversy because there are so many things which predict success or failure in the human experience that traditional IQ tests do not measure – such as, kindness, will to succeed, and willingness to learn.

So, the debate continues…and will likely rage on for years to come.

Understanding Psychological Testing

Psychological tests include a variety of different types of instruments given either through interview or in writing to assess an individual’s personality, intellect, achievement level, or behavior.

Objective psychological tests are those instruments which have “norms,” or a population against which to compare an individual’s test scores. For this reason, objective psychological tests are often referred to as “norm-referenced” tests and include such standardized psychological tests as the Stanford-Binet intelligence test as well as the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory. Objective psychological tests are only as good as their normative base. To ensure the goodness of these instruments, test developers often go to great lengths to ensure that the normative base is large and well-represents both the characteristic(s) being measured as well as the population who might take the test.

Subjective psychological tests, as the name implies, leave the interpretation of test results up to the examiner. In a sense, there is no “right-or-wrong” answer to these tests. In other ways, because these subjective psychological tests do not have forced-choice answers, an individual taking such a test is able to reveal more about himself or herself during the scope of the assessment. There have efforts to standardize scoring of some of the subjective psychological tests; however, for the most part, the interpretation of the results on these tests is left up to the expert judgment of the examiner. Some of the most commonly used subjective psychological tests include the Rotter Incomplete Sentence Blank test as well as the Rorschach Inkblot Test.

Psychological tests are an invaluable part of a qualified mental health professional’s arsenal.

They can assist is decisions regarding diagnosis, treatment planning, and need for special services. However, psychological tests should only be administered, scored, and interpreted by someone qualified through both training and licensure to give these types of instruments. Also, and most importantly, the results of psychological tests must be integrated with information obtained from other sources to give the most accurate picture of what is really going on with an individual.