12 Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe and chronic mental disorder that interferes with a person’s ability to recognize reality, think clearly, manage their emotions, make decisions, and socialize. It is a complex disease affecting approximately one percent of the US population, primarily men. It typically manifests symptoms in the late teens to early twenties for men and between the twenties and thirties for women. The cause of schizophrenia cannot be pinpointed to one cause but there are certain things that generate a higher risk of being diagnosed with it. Genetics are known to be a causative factor in schizophrenia, although it is a combination of genetics and environmental factors that result in the diagnosis. It may be caused by a virus or an incident occurring in the womb. Brain chemistry, specifically certain neurotransmitters, may play a role in schizophrenia. Substance use, especially taking hallucinogens during the early teen years may contribute to the onset of schizophrenia.

1. Thoughts or Experiences Out of Touch with Reality

People with schizophrenia have experiences and thoughts in their daily life that are not based in real life. The ideas they have are intrusive and cannot be voluntarily controlled. These notions include beliefs and feelings about their worlds that are simply not true. Auditory and visual disturbances can emphasize the false beliefs a schizophrenic has. The classic example of this often seen in movies and television shows is a patient with voices telling them what to do. Auditory disturbances often coincide with beliefs a patient may be experiencing. Patients can have entire experiences that are not based on real life. For example, a patient may be walking down a quiet street and suddenly hear footsteps behind them. Turning around, they may even see someone running toward them. This seems like a threat and the patient becomes afraid and believes that this vision means to harm them. The false visions lend themselves to fear that create an entire experience that is out of touch with real life.