Symptoms: They include: Hallucinations: hearing or seeing imaginary things. Delusions: wildly false beliefs Paranoia: the fear that others are plotting against you. Some signs, such as lack of enjoyment in everyday life and withdrawal from social activities, may mimic depression.
People with schizophrenia may have trouble organizing their thoughts or making logical connections. They may feel like the mind is racing from one unrelated thought to another. Sometimes they have “thought withdrawal,” a feeling that thoughts are removed from their head, or “thought blocking,” when someone’s flow of thinking suddenly gets interrupted.
Who can get Schizophrenia? Anyone can. It’s equally common among men and women and among ethnic groups. Symptoms usually start between ages 16 and 30. It tends to begin earlier in men than in women. Schizophrenia rarely starts during childhood or after age 45. People with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders in their family may be more likely to get it.
How is it diagnosed? There are no lab tests to find schizophrenia, so doctors usually base a diagnosis on a person’s history and symptoms. They will first rule out other medical causes. In teens, a combination of family history and certain behaviors can help predict the start of schizophrenia. These behaviors include withdrawing from social groups and expressing unusual suspicions, but that’s not enough for a diagnosis.