How to know if i have schizophrenia

When It Happens and Early Warning Signs

Written by WebMD Editorial Contributors

Schizophrenia usually takes hold after puberty. Most people are diagnosed in their late teens to early 30s.

What Is the Typical Age of Onset for Schizophrenia?

Men and women are equally likely to get this brain disorder, but guys tend to get it slightly earlier. On average, men are diagnosed in their late teens to early 20s. Women tend to get diagnosed in their late 20s to early 30s. People rarely develop schizophrenia before they're 12 or after they're 40.

The Turning Point: Adolescence

An interaction between something in your genes and something in your environment probably causes the disease. Researchers still have a lot to learn about it, but it's likely that many things play a role. Some, like exposure to a virus or malnutrition (according to one theory about causes), might have happened while you were still in your mother's womb. For vulnerable individuals, cannabis use can increase the risk of developing psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

No one knows exactly why it usually crops up in late adolescence, but there are many theories.

Your brain changes and develops a lot during puberty. These shifts might trigger the disease in people who are at risk for it.

Some scientists believe it has to do with development in an area of the brain called the frontal cortex. Others think it has to do with too many connections between nerve cells being eliminated as the brain matures.

Hormones also play a major role in puberty. One theory is that women get schizophrenia later than men because they go through puberty earlier and the hormone estrogen might somehow protect them. Know how to recognize the signs of schizophrenia in teens.

Early Warning Signs of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia can be hard to diagnose for a few reasons. One is that people with the disorder often don't realize they're ill, so they're unlikely to go to a doctor for help.

Another issue is that many of the changes leading up to schizophrenia, called the prodrome, can mirror other normal life changes. For example, a teen who's developing the illness might drop their group of friends and take up with new ones. They may also have trouble sleeping or suddenly start coming home with poor grades.

Some research suggests that if a doctor strongly thinks someone is getting the disorder while still in this early phase, low doses of antipsychotic medication might delay it. More studies need to be done to know whether these drugs work for young people at risk for the disease. Cognitive behavioral therapy, family therapy, and social skills training appear to have clearer benefits for them, at least in the short term, when used early on. Learn more about the prodrome phase of schizophrenia.

How Many People Have Schizophrenia?

About 3.5 million people in the United States are diagnosed with schizophrenia. It affects about 1.1% of the world’s population.

Characteristics of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a syndrome. People with schizophrenia have several types of symptoms:

  • Hallucinations.  You hear voices or see or smell things that others say aren't there. The voices might criticize or threaten you. They might tell you to do things you otherwise wouldn't.
  • Delusions. You believe things that aren't true, even when others show you proof or share facts that explain why your beliefs are wrong. Delusions can seem bizarre to others.
  • For example, you might think that the TV is sending you special messages or that the radio is broadcasting your thoughts for everyone to hear. You might also feel paranoid and believe that others are trying to harm you.
  • Thought disorders. You might have trouble organizing your thoughts, and you might speak in a way that's hard for others to understand. Perhaps you stop talking in the middle of a thought because you feel like it’s been taken out of your head. This is called thought withdrawal. Another type of disordered thinking, called thought blocking, happens when someone has a sudden stopping of their flow of thinking and as a consequence they may become silent until a new thought enters their mind.
  • Movement disorders. You might move your body over and over again as if you're upset, or you might stop moving and responding. Doctors call this catatonia.
  • Negative symptoms. Maybe you speak in a dull, flat tone, have trouble following through, lack interest in your daily life, and find it hard to keep up relationships. You might appear to be depressed. But while sadness, tearfulness, and other symptoms point to depression, so-called negative symptoms more likely point to a problem with the way the brain works.

Read more about the symptoms of schizophrenia.

Late-Onset Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia can develop later in life. Late-onset schizophrenia is diagnosed after the person is 45. People who have it are more likely to have symptoms like delusions and hallucinations. They’re less like to have negative symptoms, disorganized thoughts, impaired learning, or trouble understanding information.

Doctors think genetics may be to blame, just as it is with early-onset schizophrenia. They also think late onset might be a subtype that doesn’t affect the person until the right trigger appears. People with cognitive, vision, or hearing problems, or those who are suspicious, isolated, or reclusive may be more likely to get it.

Early-Onset Schizophrenia

It’s rare for someone younger than 13 to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, but it can happen. In young children, early-onset schizophrenia often causes:

  • Talking delays
  • Late or unusual crawling
  • Late walking
  • Unusual movements like arm flapping or rocking

Parents of teens might notice:

  • Not spending as much time with friends and family
  • Drop in school performance
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Bad mood
  • Depression
  • No motivation
  • Using drugs or alcohol
  • Odd behavior

Teens are less likely to have delusions but more likely to have visual hallucinations. Find out more on early childhood schizophrenia symptoms.

Recognizing Schizophrenia Symptoms in Teens

Written by Annie Stuart

Schizophrenia can be hard to spot in teens. Sometimes it can be tough to see the difference between ordinary teenage moodiness and signs of more serious illness, although this disease usually begins in late adolescence or young adulthood.

It helps to know what symptoms to watch for and when you should check with your doctor.

What to Look For

Symptoms in teens can come on gradually over days, weeks, several months or more. This is called the prodromal period. The early symptoms of schizophrenia can sometimes look like those of other problems such as anxiety or depression.

Especially at first, symptoms may look like the stuff of typical teen years: bad grades, changing friends, trouble sleeping, or irritability.

But there are some early warning signs in teens that show up as changes in thinking, emotions, and behavior.

Changes in Thinking

  • Lack of concentration or being able to follow a train of thought
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren't real (hallucinations)
  • Confusing TV and dreams with reality
  • Strange ideas that may not make sense (for example, thinking that parents are stealing things or that an evil spirit possesses them)
  • Paranoia -- thinking that people are after them or talking about them
  • Dwelling unreasonably on the past

Changes in Emotions

  • Being extremely moody or irritable
  • Angry outbursts
  • Severe fearfulness or anxiety

Changes in Behavior

  • Unblinking, vacant expression
  • Awkward or unusual movements of the face or body
  • Talking to themselves, using odd speech that you can't understand, or making rapid shifts in topics
  • Inappropriate responses, such as laughing during a sad movie
  • Trouble "reading" social cues in others
  • Problems making and keeping friends
  • Becoming more and more isolated
  • Poor personal grooming and self-care
  • Substance abuse
  • Threatening behaviors

When to Call a Doctor

If you notice symptoms like these, your teen needs to be checked by a doctor right away. That's especially true if anyone on either side of their family has had schizophrenia. 

The doctor will ask your teen questions about their thinking and behavior, possibly perform a brief physical exam, and give them blood or urine tests to make sure there isn't another medical condition or drug abuse problem that’s to blame.

For a schizophrenia diagnosis, the symptoms have to last for at least 6 months and don’t seem to be due to another medical or psychiatric condition. Sometimes it takes longer than 6 months to make a confident diagnosis, based on how symptoms appear over time.

Your family doctor can refer you to a psychiatrist who works with teens. A psychiatrist has special training in how to diagnose and treat schizophrenia.

If your teen has the condition, a combination of treatments may work best. These might include medication and individual and family therapy.

The diagnosis can be tough news to hear. But with the right treatment, people with schizophrenia do go to college, hold jobs, and have a family life.

Schizophrenia - American Medical Clinic

Medical Clinic

St. Petersburg, embankment of the river Moika, 78.

+7 (812) 740-20-90


Schizophrenia is a mental disorder in which there is a breakdown of thought processes and emotional reactions. The disease does not cause disturbances in consciousness and does not change many intellectual processes, however, with its prolonged course, perception, memory and attention are disturbed. nine0004

Lack of treatment leads to a complete loss of a sense of one's own "I", the loss of the integrity of a person's personality. In order to avoid this, it is necessary to diagnose the signs of schizophrenia in a timely manner and start treatment as soon as possible.

Symptoms of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia develops for a long time and imperceptibly for the patient. The first signs appear when a person is sure that he is completely healthy.

Early symptoms of schizophrenia:

  • Isolation from society, unsociableness.
  • Indifference to yourself, friends and family.
  • Emotional coldness.
  • Gradual loss of interest in everything that previously worried.
  • Sleep disorders.

Adolescents often experience these symptoms during the transition period. However, in any case, take a closer look at your child and consult a doctor if you suspect. nine0004

As the disease progresses, common symptoms and signs of schizophrenia occur:

  1. Psychotic (positive):

    • Hallucinations - the patient sees and hears something that is not there.
    • Nonsense - illogical beliefs in which the patient cannot be persuaded.
    • Disorderly thinking - the patient either speaks too quickly, then stops in the middle of a thought and at the same time names non-existent words. nine0027
    • Unnatural movements - a patient with schizophrenia moves slowly and freezes in an unnatural position, or vice versa moves too quickly and jerkily.
  2. Negative:

    • Inability to express emotions - the patient constantly looks depressed and out of touch with reality.
    • Thought disorder - the patient does not absorb information well, cannot concentrate and forgets everything.

In order to alleviate the situation of the patient, it is necessary to urgently consult a doctor and not push the patient away from himself. Remember that all changes in a person's personality are not his fault, but a manifestation of the disease.

Treatment of schizophrenia

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for schizophrenia. The doctor can only alleviate the course of the disease. However, this is not a reason to put an end to yourself or your loved one. In the UK, people with schizophrenia even find employment, work successfully and lead a normal life. nine0004

From a medical point of view, the ideal solution for the treatment of schizophrenia is the placement of a patient in a hospital. Especially during an exacerbation of the disease. However, it should be borne in mind that hospitalizations are a great stress for a person who is associated with a restriction of freedom. Before doing so, consider possible alternatives.

The main treatment for schizophrenia is drug therapy. After a thorough diagnosis, the doctor individually prescribes a set of drugs that extinguishes the manifestations of the disease. nine0004

In addition to drug therapy, the patient needs professional psychological help and support from loved ones. All this together allows you to minimize the symptoms and provide the patient with the most comfortable conditions for life.

See also

  • Surgeon phlebologist
  • Paid pediatrician
  • Department of Traumatology

Online schizophrenia test, schizophrenia test – Allianz Central Medical Center

How prone are you to schizophrenia? An exact answer can only be obtained at a psychiatrist's consultation - make an appointment with a doctor to understand your mental state for sure.

If you're not sure it's time to seek medical help, take our quiz.


Test results are approximate, indicative. An experienced doctor can both confirm them and refute them. If you are concerned about your mental state, do not put off a visit to a psychotherapist or psychiatrist. nine0004

nine0127 nine0129 No
No. Question Yes No
one I always have someone to meet and spend time with Yes No
2 I believe that life is meaningless Yes No
3 I don't usually ask for help when I'm doing a job. Yes No
4 nine0130 I often tell my friends: “I just had a wonderful time (spent) this time” Yes No
five I have a poor or unsatisfactory sex life Yes No
6 Some people think I'm weird or crazy Yes No
7 When others cry or laugh, I remain calm Yes No
eight nine0130 Wherever I am (at home, on the street or in society), I am always deeply immersed in my thoughts Yes No
nine I am indifferent to praise Yes No
10 nine0130 I am never loving, affectionate or tender Yes No
eleven I do not like to work in a team and I am not suitable for such work Yes No
12 nine0130 I love life and enjoy it Yes No
13 I find it difficult to congratulate people on their birthday, holiday or special date Yes No
fourteen nine0130 If someone scolds me, humiliates me or does not appreciate me enough, I usually ignore it. Yes No
fifteen If someone offends or insults me, I know how to protect myself Yes No
16 I don't have much success with the opposite sex Yes No
17 I like spending holidays in the countryside Yes No
eighteen I would rather fail than struggle Yes No
nineteen I'm fairly focused on myself Yes No
twenty I'm not interested in friendship and new acquaintances Yes No
21 It's not easy for me to laugh or smile Yes No
22 nine0130 I don't like being part of my family, and I am unrestrained Yes No
23 Attending the funeral of people I knew does not affect my emotional state Yes No
24 I feel strong attachment to some people Yes No
25 I know how my friends live, but they don't know much about me and how I live Yes No nine0130
26 I prefer to do what I can do alone rather than work in a group Yes No
27 I have few friends - fewer than fingers on one hand (or none at all) Yes
28 Sometimes I'm just too lazy to do my daily chores Yes No
29 Most conversations bore me or seem boring.
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