How Do I Know If I Have Schizophrenia Disorder?
If you are reading this article, that means you have taken steps to identify yourself whether you have schizophrenia disorder. The signs and symptoms you experience sounds similar to what a schizophrenic may experience.
Do you have it? Maybe.
First of all, no online test or quiz out there should be an official diagnosis for this mental illness.
It’s important to understand that not all common symptoms like voice hearing are definite schizophrenia cases. Only a medical doctor and clinical psychologist can diagnose schizophrenia. Otherwise, you can’t be sure.
Let me share with you the early stages of schizophrenia. Perhaps you’ll be able to relate to all or some of the symptoms associated with this mental illness. Then, decide if you need to pursue further medical assistance.
Do note that one does not need to experience all symptoms to be schizophrenic.
Can You Be Schizophrenic and Not Know It?
For starters, it may prove to be difficult for schizophrenics to identify schizophrenia. This is because schizophrenics experience hallucinations and delusions that are so real. This renders us the ability to identify between reality and otherwise.
It feels like there is something wrong with our sense of reality. If peoples’ words and actions don’t feel real to us, or if things seem like we’re just “different” than we used to be, we probably do have delusions. The important thing is to identify this quickly and get help from professionals.
How Does It Feel at the Early Stages?
Before my official diagnosis of schizophrenia, I noticed how I was sensitive to sounds and heard voices. I didn’t understand how I was not able to identify that they were my inner head voices. The voices that I ‘heard’ felt like they were other people’s voices.
Feeling confused is an understatement.
I thought I had a hearing superpower where I could hear things from afar. I was also in a depressed state as the voices kept saying negative things about me. I was often very irritated.
Oftentimes, I find my emotions all over the place and I could not keep myself calm. I also thought that my house was bugged by hearing devices where my neighbours were able to hear my subconscious mind.
Common signs and symptoms
These are the most common symptoms of schizophrenia. Per definition, one must have one or more of these symptoms over a period of 6 months to be properly diagnosed :
|Symptom & Signs
|Unwilling to be among loved ones or join social activities. Pushing everyone away from life.
|Suspiciousness and paranoia
|Common stories of others (ie. government, neighbours or God) can hear and control thoughts.
|No emotions of joy or sadness.
|Lack of personal hygiene
|Not wanting to shower or clean up.
|Bad sleeping habits
|Lack of sleep or oversleeping causing forgetful and unable to focus.
|Being unaware of surroundings and unable to act accordingly
|Mismanagement of feelings
|Expressionless or flat gaze. Thoughts and emotions are muddled, do not match each other.
|Lack of motivation, being a recluse, reduction in social activities, don’t feel like talking much.
How Schizophrenia Disorder Might Start Off?
The common early warning signs will include changes in attitude which others might find weird.
Schizophrenics may seem emotionless, unresponsive, lack motivation and tend to isolate themselves from others in the early stages. We may lack hygiene, say eccentric things, have negative thoughts and mismanage emotions. There may only be a very limited amount of tasks that we are able to complete for the entire day.
Our relationship with others may be strained as well as it is tough to care for schizophrenics. There may be suspicions and paranoia as well and we may feel that there may not be enough trust between the people around us.
We may act strangely and feel that there is no one we can trust at all. At times like this, we should rely on the person closest to us or our caretaker.
What if I’m Talking to Myself?
Muttering and talking to ownself may seem as though an individual has schizophrenia. Well, it could be but this may or may not be the case.
People talk to themselves due to stress. Sometimes, it’s a normal behaviour of sorting thoughts out loud. Other mental conditions like ADHD may also be self-talk. For schizophrenics, self-talk could possibly be a way to manage paranoia or just a way to respond to the voices.
As a schizophrenic, I find it better to ignore the voices. When we respond to the voices, I tend to spiral into delusions or hallucinations. This will lead to building unwanted emotions.
When attaching emotions, it will affect moods and cause further unhappiness. Of course, this is easier said than done. It takes a lot of hard work and effort to achieve being zen despite the annoyance of the voices. I am also working towards this daily.
Many schizophrenics do experience self-talking due to auditory hallucinations. This is called subvocal speech where everyone experiences it but in alternative ways.
We may appear to hear voices that others may not hear due to the chemical imbalance in our heads. I have this habit of mumbling to myself at times too, which I am trying to get rid of it gradually.
How to Get Diagnosed
It‘s best to consult a mental health professional for a proper diagnosis. In fact, you can be schizophrenic and may not know it. About 40% of individuals continue living their life without proper treatment.
Before visiting a professional, be more aware of your behaviour. To do so, try keeping a behaviour journal over a period of time (ie. a week). List any changes in your daily routine from the most important to the least important. Do not forget to list how these changes make you feel.
If possible, get someone who knows you best. A friend or family member can help to keep track of any unusual changes in behaviour. Share the information you get about your condition with your doctor for your diagnosis.
Is Schizophrenia Incurable?
Being schizophrenic is tough. It’s a serious mental health condition that can affect how someone thinks, feels and behaves in life. After reading through this post and can relate to the symptoms mentioned, it is important to talk with your doctor right away so that they can diagnose it properly.
Be sure to discuss any signs or symptoms that you may have been experiencing so they can more accurately assess the situation. Just know that if you are really diagnosed with this mental health issue, it is possible to live a fulfilling life.
You aren’t alone.