Symptoms of schizophrenia are visible manifestations of the disease, which can be used to judge its occurrence and development. Such a disease is characterized by rather specific signs, but doctors are in no hurry to make such a diagnosis by the presence of initial symptoms. At the same time, you should definitely know what typical signs schizophrenia manifests itself in order to identify and recognize the disease in time and promptly contact a specialist for the necessary treatment.
Most often, it seems to others that the disease is necessarily characterized by the presence of hallucinations and delusions, but the first signs can be completely diverse: the patient's behavior, speech changes, disturbances in the psycho-emotional background are observed. Interests change, obsessive thoughts appear. Often, when talking about schizophrenia, they use the definition "7B", but this is not the same disease.
- The main signs of the disease
- Behavioral signs in schizophrenia
- Negative and positive symptoms of the disease
- Signs by type of disease
- Signs of alcoholic schizophrenia
- Symptoms of the disease according to Schneider
- Features of the symptoms of the disease in children
- Disease detection tests
- Summing up
How to determine the onset of the disease, what symptoms should be paid attention to in the first place? How to understand that a person is sick with schizophrenia and what is the disease expressed in the early stages?
The answers to all these and many other questions can be found by reading the proposed article.
There are many different forms and varieties of schizophrenia. It can be senile or develop from birth. However, each of them has the main, most common symptoms that are characteristic of both men and women, and for an infant, and for an elderly person.
Symptoms of the disease can be quite diverse, but most often the symptoms of the disease are quite easy to notice. The initial stage of the disease can be expressed by unreasonable anger and aggressiveness towards close and dear people, lack of interest and feelings for relatives, cooling of family relations, the emergence of delusional ideas and thoughts. A common symptom of incipient schizophrenia can be expressed in the loss of interests or hobbies that were previously characteristic of a sick person.
In some cases, the debut of the disease is manifested by obsessive fears, thoughts and actions. One of the initial symptoms is also auditory hallucinations, manifested in the form of a voice in the head, giving orders to the patient.
External symptoms of the disease
Often the development of such a disease is characterized by a weakening of various instinctive feelings. Such people may not feel hungry for quite a long time. Lack of appetite is due to the loss of full interest in food. Also, people with schizophrenia can be easily distinguished by slovenliness. A sick person is absolutely not interested in how he looks like himself, or his housing. He ceases to wash and cut his hair, wash his clothes, put his house in order. With developing schizophrenia, it is difficult not to pay attention to the external somatic signs of the disease:
- often patients have a severe headache;
- feeling of heaviness in the back of the head and temples;
- headache causes a feeling of squeezing and burning in the head;
- general weakness of the body;
- restless sleep, insomnia.
The early stages of the disease are often accompanied by sudden and involuntary movements that are not usually characteristic of a person. This can manifest itself in too active facial expressions, slow blinking, twitching of the corners of the mouth, twitching and tremor of the limbs.
Characteristic of this disease is also a violation of the perception of the surrounding world and oneself in this reality. The world of such people seems to be something unreal. It seems to him that he is sleeping and seeing colored dreams, and what is happening around is just a performance. The patient seems to be watching himself from the outside: strangers and strangers may seem like relatives and vice versa. Thoughts and even body parts may feel altered and completely foreign.
This personality disorder is called depersonalization. It includes various phenomena:
- merging with the world;
- the disappearance and reincarnation of psychic consciousness;
- denial of the environment.
Often the onset of schizophrenia is accompanied by obsessions and compulsions, as well as hypochondriacal complaints. The manifestation of obsessions in this case is distinguished by a huge force of coercion. This is expressed in the fact that the sick perform various strange rituals, without feeling any shame at all. Such symptoms are characterized by sluggish schizophrenia.
On the basis of such a disease, various phobias often arise. In patients, the emotional component disappears with such fears: they can calmly talk about them, even if the attack of fear is caused by ridiculous phobias - fear of letters, or something similar. Lack of intimate shame can also be one of the manifestations of the disease.
Speech and thinking disorders
One of the hallmarks of schizophrenia, which characterizes any form of the disease at any stage, is a violation of thinking and speech function. Often this state is expressed in the failure of thoughts. Also, this may be due not only to a violation of thought processes, but also to memory problems in the patient: he may forget what he wanted to say and why he started his speech at all. The thoughts of such people are confused, interrupted, and they feel the lack of meaning and logic. Other characteristic symptoms can be noted:
- it is difficult for the patient to absorb large amounts of information;
- vocabulary is reduced;
- the rate of speech is noticeably reduced;
- speech becomes incoherent with long pauses;
- there is a tendency to symbolism and abstraction;
- new intricate words appear in the conversation.
Delusions and hallucinations
More formidable main and distinctive signs of such a disease are visual and auditory hallucinations, as well as delirium. These symptoms usually characterize the second stage of the disease. In schizophrenia, auditory pseudohallucinations most often predominate. Usually patients hear certain voices inside their heads that exist only in their inner world. Often, the very thoughts of patients begin to sound so clear that they are perceived as the voices of an invisible interlocutor. At the same time, true hallucinations also overcome a person - he hears sounds, words and even individual phrases from the outside and does not doubt their reality at all.
Voices can comment on what is happening with the patient, argue among themselves, have long conversations. They can be both quiet and loud, but in any case they are unpleasant for the patient. Particularly terrible in this regard are imperative hallucinations, when voices begin to command the patient and give him various orders. By obeying non-existent commanders, people with schizophrenia can cause irreparable harm to themselves or their loved ones.
Signs and symptoms of hallucinations in schizophrenia are:
- the feeling that the person is listening to something;
- conversations with an imaginary interlocutor or with oneself;
- feeling that a person sees or hears something that does not exist;
- sudden and unreasonable laughter;
- distraction of attention, the inability of the patient to focus on anything.
A delusion or delusion is a persistent perverted belief that is not amenable to correction and understanding by other people. Delirium in most cases accompanies schizophrenia and is often a manifestation of psychosis during an exacerbation of the disease. Characteristic of such a state is that the patient cannot be persuaded, he is completely sure of the correctness of his absurd judgments, no matter how ridiculous they are.
There is a certain classification of delusions in schizophrenia, depending on the content of beliefs: delusions of jealousy, persecution, grandeur, attitude, religious or hypochondriacal delusions. Such mental disorders really pose a danger both to the patient himself and to the people around him, since the patient, under the influence of delirium, can commit unpredictable acts. In delusional states, the following behavior of the patient is characteristic:
- sudden appearance of bizarre interests;
- drastic change in lifestyle;
- excessive passion for esotericism, religion, mysticism;
- the appearance of thoughts of persecution, manic ideas.
If symptoms such as delusions or hallucinations appear, the patient must be urgently hospitalized in order to determine the cause of their occurrence and the presence of psychosis, since such signs can occur not only in schizophrenia. A correct diagnosis is the key to a speedy recovery.
All symptoms in schizophrenia are divided into negative, positive, otherwise productive, and cognitive. Clinical negative signs are the most characteristic for making a correct diagnosis. Many of them with a full description have already been given above. Therefore, now briefly dwell on each group of symptoms.
Negative signs are certain features and personality traits that the patient loses when the disease spreads. These include:
- apathy - emotional rigidity, indifference, complete detachment from everything;
- autism - isolation of the patient, withdrawal into his inner world, degradation in social terms;
- ambivalence - duality, splitting in the emotional sphere, the feeling of two opposite feelings for the same object;
- abulia - a complete or partial violation of the will, which is characterized by a significant drop in activity, up to complete inactivity;
- thought disorders - paralogical, broken thinking, symbolism and reasoning.
Positive symptoms are secondary signs of the disease that have arisen in the course of the development of the disease. These include:
- crazy ideas;
- disorganization of speech and thinking;
- depersonalization and derealization.
Cognitive symptoms include depression accompanied by suicidal tendencies.
There are many different forms of schizophrenia: hebephrenic, hypochondriacal, catatonic, manic, neurotic, paranoid, psychopathic or psychopathic, progressive, chronic, latent or overt, acute or latent. Depressive or disorganized, negative, postpartum, quiet, febrile, malignant or manic, nuclear and fur coat, borderline, poor in symptoms and alcoholic. All of them have both common features and specific, characteristic of a particular form. For example, simple schizophrenia of a mild degree is characterized by the slow development of the symptoms of the disease. And the exacerbation of the disease manifests itself in a completely different way. Next, consider the symptoms of the most common types of schizophrenia.
Paranoid schizophrenia is characterized by overt hallucinatory reactions combined with delusions. Most often, the patient has auditory, visual, gustatory and olfactory hallucinations. Voices of a threatening or commanding nature sound in the head. Delusional ideas are characterized by the presence of delusions of attitude, persecution, influence, reformism and high origin.
At the same time, emotional disorders and thought disorders are not dominant in this form.
The hebephrenic form is usually characteristic of adolescence and young age. At the same time, patients behave foolishly, grimace, unnaturalness prevails in the face and emotions. Most often, by their behavior, such patients resemble a child, they are inadequate and unpredictable, their thinking is broken, their speech is incoherent, it is dominated by swearing or diminutive words.
The catatonic form of the disease is characterized by catatonic stupor and catatonic excitation. Often it is dominated by negativism or automatism, mutism, stereotyping, mood lability, catalepsy. Catatonic stupor is manifested by muscle rigidity or strong tension, freezing in one position for a long time. Catatonic excitation is a sharp exit from a stupor, manifested by a strong unproductive overexcitation.
Alcoholic schizophrenia is an alcoholic psychosis that has arisen on the basis of chronic alcoholism. Most often, it manifests itself in the form of "delirious tremens", the main symptoms of which are auditory, tactile, visual hallucinations and a delusional state. The following symptoms often indicate the occurrence of alcoholic schizophrenia:
- increased anxiety and irritability;
- depressive state;
- increased body temperature, its sharp changes;
- senseless and emotionless expression on his face.
Often such a patient can be calculated by the eyes. They are dominated by insane brilliance.
The famous psychiatrist Kurt Schneider developed his classification of the symptoms of the disease. Schneider's symptoms, or the so-called symptoms of the first rank, in his opinion, distinguish this disease from other mental disorders. These include:
- delusional ideas that involve the impact on the patient of external forces;
- the impression that someone is affecting the thoughts, or stealing them from the patient's head;
- a feeling of sounding thoughts in the head, the impression that their content is fully accessible to others;
- the presence of voices talking to each other, commenting on what is happening with a person, his thoughts and actions.
At the same time, you should be aware that the reliability of the diagnosis in the presence of these symptoms is questioned, but all of them are taken into account in the diagnosis of schizophrenia at the present time.
Childhood schizophrenia is a disease that occurs in young children or adolescents and presents with the same symptoms as in adults.
This disease most often occurs in boys and girls at the age of seven, although in some cases it manifests itself in children under one year old.
The most common symptoms of having schizophrenia in childhood are:
- auditory and visual hallucinations;
- impaired thinking;
- disorganized behavior;
- appetite and sleep disorders, insomnia, nightmares;
- learning problems;
- inability to concentrate.
Signs such as delusions and hallucinations, as well as thinking disorders, are difficult to detect in preschool children.
Childhood schizophrenia is a fairly rare disease. Moreover, boys have twice the risk of developing this disease than girls. This is explained by the fact that male schizophrenia is younger than female by about five years.
Adolescent schizophrenia most often occurs against the background of the fact that society does not accept a teenager. It is precisely at this moment that they are involved in society, a teenager may become addicted to alcohol or drugs, bad company. The main signs of teenage schizophrenia are:
- the predominance of negative emotions over positive ones;
- violations of intellectual thinking;
- decreased mobility, loss of strength.
In more severe forms, there are hallucinations, delusions, depressive disorders with suicidal tendencies are very common.
Currently, there are many different tests, thanks to which you can check yourself and find out about the possible presence of this disease. The simplest and fastest test for schizophrenia is the mask test.
Everyone has a very good idea of the theatrical mask. It has two sides: convex, which it appears to others, and concave, which is worn directly on the face. The test asks you to carefully look at the moving mask and answer two questions:
- Coronaviruses: SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19)
- Antibiotics for the prevention and treatment of COVID-19: how effective are they?
- The most common "office" diseases
- Does vodka kill coronavirus
- How to stay alive on our roads?
When answering questions, it is important to discard logic and common sense and be guided only by sensations.
Of course, the mask only rotates in one direction, and has a bulge only on one side. However, it is the correct answer to both questions that makes it possible to assume that a person has a tendency to develop and develop schizophrenia.
The brain of a healthy person is trying to complete the picture as it should be in reality, because a priori a face cannot be concave. The brain of a schizophrenic, in turn, works a little differently. He is unable to analyze the image and complete it to normal. Thus, a sick person sees the picture exactly as it really is.
Also, the famous Rorschach test can help identify schizophrenia - a test with pictures that show ten black-and-white and color blots in which each person sees different images. They are presented in a strictly defined order. Based on these answers, an experienced psychiatrist builds a definite picture of the disease.
Another interesting test for detecting schizophrenia is the Luscher test, in which the patient distributes colored cards in order of the most preferred colors at the moment. This is a short version of the test. The original is seventy-three colors, grouped into different groups, from which it is necessary to choose only those colors that most attract the patient at the present time. Schizophrenics, for the most part, prefer yellow colors, confuse shades, or are generally indifferent to them. And also most often with a negative attitude to red and black.
However, it is not necessary to speak with confidence about the presence of the disease only by tests; only an experienced psychiatrist should conduct an accurate diagnosis.
The symptomatology of schizophrenia, especially at its initial stage, is quite important, since knowledge of the most characteristic signs of the disease will help the relatives and friends of the patient to contact a specialist in time to make a diagnosis. Early diagnosis is the fastest way to recovery.