Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that affects how an individual perceives reality and feels. It is often characterized by the presence of auditory or visual hallucinations, cognitive distortions, and bizarre beliefs. Schizophrenia can be difficult to diagnose, with symptoms often not appearing for weeks or months after having been triggered by a traumatic event. Generally, people with this condition have difficulty making sense of their thoughts and feelings.
Early detection of schizophrenia is crucial in order to help prevent long-term consequences. At the very least, early and accurate diagnosis can lead to the development of appropriate schizophrenia treatment.
What Causes Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia usually starts after an individual has had a traumatic event or series of events. The exact cause is unknown but certain patterns have been identified as “risk factors” for developing schizophrenia. These include:
- Experiencing a psychological trauma, such as being the victim of a violent crime
- A history of mental illness in a close relative
- Having an identical twin with schizophrenia
- Having a parent or sibling with schizophrenia
- Having been born to parents who were heavy drug users
- Exposure to viruses while in the uterus
Unfortunately, it is not always possible to identify all of the risk factors that have led to the onset of schizophrenia. This is why early symptoms detection is so important so that treatment can be started right away.
How to Recognize Schizophrenia in the Early Stages
Typically, schizophrenia symptoms in the early stages are not always easily obvious or recognizable. The presence of confusion, hallucinations, and unusual behaviour can be overlooked by a medical professional or counsellor with insufficient training.
Experiencing these symptoms can be frightening and confusing for an individual who is not familiar with them. It can also lead to the person being misdiagnosed as another condition for years before the correct diagnosis is made.
It is best to seek help before any serious problems escalate so that early diagnosis is possible. Here are 3 ways of recognizing the early onset of Schizophrenia:
1. Distinguishing Between a Common, Undiagnosed Illness and Schizophrenia
Those who are dealing with the early symptoms of this condition can be misdiagnosed as suffering from other problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, or even dementia. For this reason, it is advised to seek immediate advice from your doctor or psychiatrist.
A mental health professional can effectively identify whether you are suffering from a minor illness that has gone undetected or have early symptoms of schizophrenia.
2. Experiencing Hallucinations
Hallucinations can occur in many different ways. A person may not see or hear things that are actually there. They may experience an image or sound in their head that does not exist. They may also have a delusion about something which is happening outside of themselves, such as hearing voices, seeing things that don’t exist, and feeling like they are being watched.
3. Experiencing Cognitive Symptoms
Some people who are experiencing schizophrenia will also begin to notice problems with how they think and reason. These symptoms can include:
- Having difficulty concentrating on tasks such as reading.
- Not being able to make sense of their thoughts and feelings.
- Focusing on irrelevant details and holding onto irrational beliefs.
- Experiencing a lack of motivation or interest in other people, activities or your appearance.
- Difficulty controlling emotions, with feelings such as rage, anxiety or even feeling nothing at all becoming prevalent.
Seeking Schizophrenia Treatment
Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for both the safety and well-being of an individual with schizophrenia. The optimal way in which to go about this is by talking to your doctor for a non-judgmental opinion and advice about your situation. If you have early symptoms of schizophrenia, it is imperative that you seek schizophrenia treatment.