How to recognize schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is multifaceted, has many symptoms, and the question of how to recognize schizophrenia has been one of the leading questions in the field of psychiatry for many decades . There are known cases of overdiagnosis, as well as, in fact, the opposite phenomenon, when the correct diagnosis is made with a delay.        

However, at the moment, certain diagnostic criteria have been developed , which are guided by specialists.  

This question is much more important for those whose relatives are at risk. After all, it is the timely appeal to a psychiatrist and receiving the correct treatment that can help cope with a painful condition and prevent its progression.        

Therefore, here we will try to consider those factors that can help in how to recognize schizophrenia at the very beginning of the disease.    

Diagnosis of schizophrenia (according to ICD-10) is based on the allocation of three symptomatic groups: 

1. Productive symptoms

  • Hallucinations: there is a certain image in the human mind (most often – a voice / voices), which are not in reality. The patient can listen to something, look for a sound source, talk with an invisible interlocutor. Voices can discuss a person’s actions, comment on his actions, give some commands. These signs are found in about half of people with schizophrenia.      
  • Delusions of the most varied content: delusions of persecution, attitudes, influences. About 80% of patients with schizophrenia show this symptom throughout the course of the disease.  
  • Disorganization of speech and thinking: thoughts can get confused or cut off, a person falls silent in mid-sentence and then does not remember why he began to say this or that phrase.      
  • The world may seem unreal, sounds and colors are perceived distorted (derealization).
  • The boundaries between the surrounding world and the sense of “I” (depersonalization) are being erased . 

2. Negative symptoms

  • cognitive impairments : disorders of attention, memory, thinking, speech;
  • poverty of facial expressions and expressionless voice; 
  • passivity (there is no spontaneity, willingness to make decisions);
  • autism: a person has difficulty making contact, the circle of communication and interests is narrowed ;   
  • volitional regulation is disturbed: lack of initiative, apathy.

3. Mood disorders

depression with a tendency to self-accusation and suicidal intent can often occur in the early stages of schizophrenia (k Unfortunately, 40% of patients to attempt suicide in the course of life);       

Since the release psychomotor symptoms, so-called catatonia: the rejection of food, silence, until the complete lack of speech, muscle tension, until the total immobility, “frozen” look.      

On what to pay attention in the first place?  

At the beginning of the development of the disease 

  • memory deteriorates,
  • concentration of attention decreases,
  • loss of interest in work, communication with others,  
  • a person strives for loneliness, 
  • ceases to comply with hygiene rules and to monitor their appearance,  
  • lack of initiative appears,
  • the person becomes irritable, apathetic,
  • unusual headaches appear
  • speech and motor skills begin to suffer , 
  • “magical thinking” appears.

Recognition of schizophrenia, especially at the very beginning, is difficult because the sick person himself does not consider himself as such. But it is very important to see a doctor on time. High-quality diagnosis of schizophrenia and timely prescribed treatment and rehabilitation make a person’s life full.      

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