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Understanding the First Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia

symptoms of schizophrenia

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It would be fine if you were in your 30s but still believed in the Tooth Fairy. The problem of course is that you wouldn’t have any teeth to leave under your pillow. Unless something traumatic happened, and thankfully likely won’t. You can believe in whatever you like as long as it’s not harmful to others – or yourself. Schizophrenia is a very serious mental illness and it’s best to catch the initial decline of a person’s cognitive processes. This makes understanding symptoms of schizophrenia helpful, and fortunately there’s great research into the disorder along with schizophrenia medications.

Schizophrenia drugs like Abilify and Latuda are excellent for managing schizophrenia. Rexulti is another that is often indicated for treating schizophrenia with depression, and are widely used with other detailed therapeutic approaches.

Psychosocial interventions are most common and between therapy and medication doctors are able to help many people with schizophrenia keep it more under control. It is nice when people can lead more normal lives and not be putting themselves in danger due to extreme delusions and drugs like these ones would have offered huge improvements to people who suffered from schizophrenia in the past. Most schizophrenics begin to experience symptoms from their late teens to early 30s, so having a good basic understanding of symptoms of mental illness in young adults is a good to have when assessing individuals.

Here is a look at what are positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia look like and what should lead you to see your doctor as soon as possible or lead you to dismiss completely.

Growth Spurt – Brain Spurt

Teens go through a growth ‘spurt’, at some point during their teenage years. Some grow a lot in the earlier teen years, some have their growth spurt just as they’re getting ready to leave high school. Some add a few inches, some add many more. Some people add 10” in just a year like Chicago Bulls legend Dennis Rodman did, who is one example of many of the biggest known growth spurts of all time. Many are professional ball players just like Rodman.

Most growth spurts are nothing like that, and in the same way most brains develop normally during these growth spurts. But for people with schizophrenia symptoms, it may be different. No matter what age it happens there’s a lot of changes going on in the body during puberty and it just so happens there’s a lot of changes going on in the brain at this time as well.

Before we get it into symptoms of schizophrenia the basic explanation of what causes schizophrenia is that researchers believe the frontal cortex of the brain develops improperly for some people in their youth.

An interesting note is that more women who develop schizophrenia in their late 20s or early 30s, and it’s widely believed that the female hormone estrogen has neuroprotective effects for women when they are in their late teens and early 20s and the hormone levels are at their highest.

Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia

We talked about how it’s helpful to begin mental health treatment for schizophrenia as early as possible, so what are the negative symptoms of schizophrenia? They are quite different to positive symptoms of schizophrenia and include lack of emotion, small emotional range, inability to plan and follow-through with activities, poor personal hygiene, social withdrawal, and decrease in talkativeness. The last two are often very telling and can be signs that offer the best chance for early intervention because it’s often such a marked change for someone around this age.

Loss of motivation and information processing abilities can be early symptoms of schizophrenia too, and when people are referred to physicians these doctors know that because of the potential severity of becoming schizophrenic they will initiate very thorough diagnoses methods to ensure that theirs is correct. If so, it is fairly standard to prescribe any of the 3 schizophrenia medications we listed earlier.

Positive Symptoms

So, what are positive symptoms of schizophrenia then? It’s these ones that will be more likely to put the person in harm’s way and are often a greater cause of concern for family members and / or caretakers. Positive schizophrenia symptoms include:

  • Falsely held beliefs usually due to a distorted perception or experience (delusions).
  • Thought disorder plus difficulty organizing and expressing thoughts.
  • Disorganized behavior with unusual and inappropriate behavior.
  • Movement disorder with agitated or repeated movements or Catatonia (non-moving and non-responsive).

Positive symptoms often respond more successfully to antipsychotic treatment and Risperdal is an excellent medication here.


IMPORTANT NOTE: The above information is intended to increase awareness of health information and does not suggest treatment or diagnosis. This information is not a substitute for individual medical attention and should not be construed to indicate that use of the drug is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. See your health care professional for medical advice and treatment.


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