Schizophrenia is a mental illness that impacts the way someone perceives reality and behaves. It's usually diagnosed in the late teens or early 20s.

The Who, When And Why Of Schizophrenia

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Who

  • Affects men and women equally

  • Rarely affects children under 12

When

  • Early symptoms of schizophrenia start to develop in the mid-teens.

  • It is most often diagnosed in the late teens to early 20s.

Why

  • Children of people with schizophrenia are more likely to inherit it

  • Stress, drug abuse, and pregnancy complications can also play a role

Scenario

Avia is 23 and was fired from her hostess job because she argues with customers and tells them off. She thinks that these customers are actors her mom hires to come to the restaurant and cause problems for her. Avia smokes pot every day, doesn't have a lot of motivation, and has been diagnosed with depression.

Avia's mom is concerned that her depression diagnosis is not right and suspects schizophrenia.

Quiz

What should Avia's mom do?

Nothing

Kick Avia out of the house

Insist she isn't hiring actors

Talk to Avia's psychiatrist with her

Early Warning Signs

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Hallucinations

A hallucination is seeing, hearing, or smelling something that isn't there.

Hallucinations often accompany schizophrenia, but hallucinations alone don't necessarily indicate schizophrenia.

Delusions

Delusions are beliefs that are held on to in spite of evidence to the contrary.

A person with paranoid delusions may believe that friends and family are out to get them.

Poverty of Thought/Speech

Thoughts and speech may be shorter and slower than usual or have a flat tone. Thoughts may be bizarre and speech nonsensical .

Bizarre Behavior

This could include inappropriate laughter, odd or irrational statements, poor hygiene, difficulty concentrating, or carrying on conversations with no one.

Quiz

Hallucinations, delusions, and bizarre behavior always point to schizophrenia.

True

False

Summary

It's important not to jump to conclusions if you or someone you know have early signs of schizophrenia. These symptoms can also be part of other mental illnesses.

Contact a mental health professional for a definitive diagnosis.

Treatments are available.

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This Byte has been authored by

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Deb Dobrich

Learning Experience Designer/Byte Advisor