Schizophrenia Warning Signs & Treatment Options

by Nancy

Mental conditions impact the lives of more than fifty-one million people across the U.S. every day. Schizophrenia is one of the more serious of these conditions. It is important to take action and seek treatment options right away when you or a loved one shows signs of suffering from schizophrenia. It is not always easy or simple to recognize the warning signs of this mental condition, however.


Schizophrenia causes confusion, an altered sense of reality, excitement and conversely even fear. Many schizophrenics mask their symptoms with self-destructive actions such as drug or physical abuse. Other people present symptoms as simply being excitable hyperactive personality traits, some of which are actually enjoyable to other people. Recognizing the warning signs of schizophrenia in its early stages is crucial to mitigating its effects and therefore leading a happier, more fulfilling life. Read ahead for important information about schizophrenia warning signs and the treatment options available today.

What Is Mental Illness?

Mental illness is a health-related condition causing emotional, thought or behavioral patterns to change in adverse manners. There are two main categories of mental illnesses. The Any Mental Illness (AMI) category includes mental illnesses affecting daily life and functionality in mild to severe ways. The Serious Mental Illness (SMI) category includes mental illnesses affecting daily life and functionality in serious to severe ways. Mental illnesses in the SMI category lead to the inability to participate normally in regular life activities such as work, social gatherings, managing finances and more.

Examples of AMIs include recurring anger, loneliness, moderate anxiety, hoarding and more. Examples of SMIs include psychosis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), urges to commit self-harm and multiple personality disorder. Another example of a SMI is schizophrenia.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is considered a SMI because in severe forms and when left untreated it leads to dangerous behavior. Schizophrenic behavior is dangerous to the person with the disorder and in some cases dangerous to others. This disorder, which impairs approximately one percent of the people in the U.S., is chronic even when treatable to varying degrees. The degrees to which it is treatable depend on several factors including how quickly the issues are discovered and subjected to treatment options.

Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common formation of the disorder. Reality to people suffering from paranoid schizophrenia is corrupted and seen from a perspective where people, and even places and things, are involved in separate or coordinated efforts to do the sufferer some type of harm. A corrupted sense of reality is present in all forms of schizophrenia, however, regardless of type or severity. The majority of danger lies in this mental illness causing the sufferer to act out in ways harmful to themselves or others as a reaction to what his or her mind truly believes is a threat, or an actual situation. There is also real danger from feelings of isolation, depression and harmful tendencies being exacerbated by schizophrenia. Treatment is effective when acted on early enough in the development of the disorder. It is essential to first recognize the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia before being able to seek treatment options.

Challenges Recognizing Schizophrenia Warning Signs

The signs of extreme schizophrenia often mean the condition is too advanced to treat in a way where normal life is plausible. This is one of the reasons it is crucial to recognize the signs and symptoms of this mental illness as early as possible. What are the early signs and symptoms of schizophrenia and why are they challenging to recognize?

Early signs of schizophrenia are most frequently noticeable during later teenage years into the early thirty’s. Males are more likely to develop schizophrenia at an earlier age than are women. This does not mean the signs in either gender are actually easy to detect, however. The prodrome for schizophrenia, or early warning stages, often parallels reactions to unexpected life situations. It also parallels what could be normal developmental changes, such as a teenager suddenly changing his or her core group of friends or experimenting with drugs/alcohol.

Signs & Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Signs and symptoms indicating the early onset of schizophrenia include a sudden change in sleep habits or a core group of friends/associates. Unexpected drug or alcohol use or disassociation with every day activities and emotions are also early signs of schizophrenic onset. As time progresses, so do the signs and symptoms.

For example, disassociation leads to unemployment, which leads to depression, which leads to harmful thoughts. More intensely, a seriously affected schizophrenic is prone to blaming external sources for all these changes. In the mind of a severe schizophrenic, even an airplane flying over his or her house might be seen as a spy looking for information on an otherwise innocuous life. The passing of this misconstrued plane overhead then leads to misplaced isolationism, loss of friends and income and eventual depression or worse. Additional signs and symptoms of schizophrenia include:

  • Hearing voices.
  • Losing organization skills and/or focus on every day activities.
  • Withdrawing from human/social interactions.
  • Difficulty processing or absorbing even basic information.
  • Abnormalities or shiftiness in physical movements, eye contact.
  • Sleeplessness & restlessness leading to random wandering onto stranger’s properties or into traffic.

Treatment Options for Schizophrenia

While treatment options are effective and available, there is no absolute cure for schizophrenia. This form of mental illness is treatable, however, and options are available to mitigate its damaging affects. Treatment options implemented during the early stages of the condition have a better chance of mitigating the condition so the sufferer is able to live a mostly normal life. Schizophrenics are capable of getting better instead of worse. Most sufferers experience schizophrenic episodes as opposed to a constant occurrence of symptoms. Educating a schizophrenic about available treatment options between episodes helps teach him or her skill sets useful for resisting and reducing symptoms when full episodes do occur. Other treatment options, some more aggressive and some more self-help oriented include:

  • Taking applicable prescribed medications such as atypical antipsychotics (AAP), second generation antipsychotics (SGAs) and/or serotonin–dopamine antagonists (SDAs).
  • Participating in psychotherapeutic & cognitive behavioral training sessions.
  • Manage your stress through professional counseling and/or psychological support.
  • Manage your stress through healthy nutritional intake & consistent daily exercise routines.
  • Contact support through this company online.
  • Utilize resources such as this prevention resource online.
  • Take your diagnosis seriously and act accordingly as quickly as possible.