by Barbie Hodge, LCSW
Director of Behavioral Health Sciences
With the recent media spotlighting of the odd behaviors of young celebrities, the word schizophrenia is being thrown around. While I’m not here to diagnose any of these celebrities, many people have been asking about the disorder and how to identify when a loved one or someone they know may be exhibiting symptoms.
Schizophrenia is a very serious mental health disorder, and those that suffer from it find it difficult to differentiate between what is real and what is not. The disorder usually begins to show sometime between a person’s teenage years and his or her 30s, but most often it appears in a person’s 20s. The disorder differs from person to person, so some may experience a gradual onset of symptoms, while others may experience a sudden onset of symptoms. Some may experience severe symptoms, while others may have mild symptoms. Here are some signs and symptoms to look for:
- The person holds a belief, in spite of evidence to support the contrary (Delusions)
- The person senses something as being real, when it was created in his or her mind (Hallucinations)
- The person has disorganized speech (this can be repeating words or phrases, shifting from topic to topic, using made up words, or talk that does not make sense)
- The person has disorganized behavior
- The person displays catatonic behavior (this is usually a reduction in movement or excessive movement)
- The person has inappropriate emotional expressions or emotional expressions that do not match his or her true emotions.
- The person has a lack of drive or motivation
- The person has a lack of interest in their environment or withdrawal from society
- The person is suspicious of others
- The person has poor hygiene
- The person has difficulty focusing
If you believe that someone you know may be experiencing these symptoms or have questions about Schizophrenia, contact one of our mental health counselors at (225) 927-1269.