Schizophrenia handwriting examples
Schizophrenia Handwriting | Emerald Isle Health & Recovery Sun City, AZ
Posted on November 7, 2021 at 1:29 pm by Edward Pelletier
What Is the Connection Between Schizophrenia and Your Handwriting
Table of Contents
Schizophrenia is an uncommon mental illness that can seriously degrade your connection to everyday reality. The illness is most well-known for its ability to trigger symptoms of psychosis. However, it can also affect you in a range of other ways. One potential change is a notable alteration of your normal handwriting and schizophrenia handwriting.
What does handwriting reveal about the nature of schizophrenia? Can doctors use changes in the way you write to diagnose this severe condition? Over the past few decades, many researchers have explored these questions. Their findings show that the connection between schizophrenia and handwriting is significant in some ways, but not in others.
Definition of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a complex and chronic mental illness. Doctors identify it by looking for three kinds of problems:
- The appearance of psychosis
- Impairment of certain normal traits and behaviors
- Mental and physical disorganization
Psychosis is marked by hallucinations, delusional thinking and paranoia. These symptoms may appear individually or in combination. They are also known as “positive” symptoms. In this case, positive is not actually a good thing. It means that you are experiencing mental changes that should not be there.
Traits and behaviors that may be impaired if you have schizophrenia include your ability to:
- Express emotions
- Feel pleasurable sensations
Doctors classify these impairments as “negative” schizophrenia symptoms. This means that you are missing mental abilities that should be there.
Mental disorganization symptoms may include things as:
- Confused or jumbled thoughts
- Illogical thoughts
- Disordered or nonsensical speech
Symptoms of physical disorganization may include unusual or strange movements or behavior.
Episodic Schizophrenia Symptoms
The definition of schizophrenia is centered on episodes or outbursts of symptoms. During these episodes, symptoms intensify. Between episodes, symptoms decrease. Not everyone experiences the same episodic schizophrenia symptoms. In addition, not everyone has episodes that last as long or have the same intensity.
Most people experience their first bout of symptoms as late teens or young adults. Men tend to develop the illness at an earlier age than women. In many cases, episodes of schizophrenia become less severe as time passes.
Handwriting and Schizophrenia
Before discussing schizophrenia and handwriting, it helps to understand how the illness affects your body. The strange movements in people with schizophrenia are signs of changes in your normal muscle function. These changes are caused by malfunctions in your nervous system. You cannot control them voluntarily. Researchers refer to such involuntary nerve problems as motor abnormalities.
Abnormalities of this type are a common feature of schizophrenia. Specific problems a person with the illness may experience include:
- Slowed reaction times
- Poor muscle coordination
- Difficulty performing complex tasks
- Muscle spasms and contractions
- Jerky and irregular muscle movements
- An overall reduction of body movements
These nervous system problems actually appear before the classic signs of schizophrenia. In fact, they are often present in childhood. However, motor abnormalities have a wide variety of potential causes. For this reason, their presence does not mean for sure that a child will later develop the illness.
What does all of this mean for handwriting and schizophrenia? Studies show that people with the illness can experience significant handwriting changes. Those changes can alter your normal writing in multiple ways.
Examples of Potential Changes in Handwriting
How exactly can schizophrenia affect your handwriting? Specific changes may include such things as:
- The speed and direction of your writing
- How much pressure you use when writing
- The length of your writing strokes
These are just some examples of the potential changes in your handwriting. Particular changes may or may not occur. In addition, you make experience other kinds of writing alterations.
Can Doctors Use Handwriting to Diagnose Schizophrenia
How unique is the connection between schizophrenia and handwriting? Can doctors use changes in your writing to diagnose the condition? To answer the first question, schizophrenia is not the only mental illness that affects the way you write. The same kinds of changes occur in people with bipolar disorder. In fact, the changes found in the two illnesses are so similar that they are functionally identical.
In a way, this also gives us the answer to the second question. Since the same changes appear in people with bipolar disorder, by themselves they cannot be used to diagnose schizophrenia. That is especially true since similar handwriting changes may appear in additional kinds of mental illness.
Severe Depression and Handwriting Correlation
One example of a similar handwriting change can occur in cases of depression. Like people with schizophrenia, people with depression can develop motor abnormalities. As a result, they can also experience altered handwriting. This alteration can affect the speed and direction of a depressed person’s writing.
The Validity of Graphology and Graphotherapy
Graphology is a form of handwriting analysis that looks for unique clues about your personality. Graphotherapy uses structured handwriting exercises to help you make beneficial personality changes. Are either of these things helpful for people with schizophrenia?
On one level, it seems like this could be a possibility. After all, people affected by schizophrenia do tend to have certain handwriting issues. However, in reality, graphology and graphotherapy are not useful. Why not?
A couple of things will help us answer this question. First, the handwriting changes linked to schizophrenia are not personality-related. Instead, they result from long-standing problems in your nervous system. When doctors analyze handwriting in affected people, they are not looking for personality traits. They are looking for signs of changes in your motor function.
Just as important are the doubtful validity of graphology and graphotherapy in general. Most scientists view these fields as pseudosciences. This means that they sound scientific, but have no basis in provable fact.
How Do Doctors Actually Diagnose Schizophrenia
If handwriting cannot be used to diagnose schizophrenia, what steps do doctors actually take to identify it? The process is complicated. In many cases, the first clear symptom is a bout of psychosis. However, psychosis has many other possible causes. That includes such things as:
- The use of certain drugs
- Physical problems like a brain tumor
- A mental illness other than schizophrenia
Before making a diagnosis, your doctor must rule out these possibilities. In addition, you must be affected by your schizophrenia symptoms for at least half a year.
Potential Pre-Signs of Schizophrenia
A psychotic episode is the most typical sign of schizophrenia’s arrival. However, well before such an episode occurs, certain pre-signs may appear. Things you may notice include:
- A sudden or gradual decline in personal motivation
- Unusually low grades in school
- A drop in work performance
- Unusual relationship problems
None of these pre-signs is definitive. By themselves, they do not point to increased schizophrenia risks. Instead, they are more general warnings that something may be wrong. Only an actual diagnosis can say what that “something” is.
What to Do If You Notice Signs of Schizophrenia in a Loved One
How should you react if you notice signs of schizophrenia in someone? That depends, in part, on the situation. If no immediate danger is present, a good starting point may be talking to your loved one. This will allow you to outline your concerns. It will also give your loved one a chance to respond. Be aware that people with the illness may not realize what is happening to them.
If possible, ask your loved one to see a mental health expert. Depending on your circumstances, this may or may not be effective. In most cases, you cannot make your loved one get help. However, you can do so if they pose a serious threat to their own safety. You can also act if they pose a serious threat to anyone else. It is possible that your loved one will be overtly suicidal or homicidal. If that is the case, seek emergency help at once.
Seeking treatment for mental health issues is always important. That may be especially true for a severe illness like schizophrenia. As a rule, effective treatment involves:
- Supporting services for various parts of daily life
Help from family members is often crucial. The goal is not to cure schizophrenia. Once the disease appears, it will likely remain for a lifetime. However, the right treatment can help keep its effects as minimal as possible.
Schizophrenia has the reputation of being disabling in most people. But in reality, outcomes differ. Some people continue to experience serious problems even after they get help. However, many others return to a stable and productive daily routine.
Seeking Treatment for Mental Health Issues at Emerald Isle
At Emerald Isle, we understand the complexities of diagnosing schizophrenia. That is why we provide detailed evaluations that help uncover the presence of the illness. If you are affected by schizophrenia, Emerald Isle is also an established source for effective treatment. We feature a range of programs for your recovery. That includes both inpatient programs and multiple outpatient options. No matter which program is appropriate, you will benefit from the same customized approach to care. For more information on our resources for schizophrenia, call us today.
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- NPJ Schizophrenia: Unravelling Socio-Motor Biomarkers in Schizophrenia
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- National Institute of Mental Health: Schizophrenia
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Handwriting movements for assessment of motor symptoms in schizophrenia spectrum disorders and bipolar disorder
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What can you learn about a person from handwriting?
The way we write also determines our personality: having studied a person's handwriting, one can determine his character, habits, mindset and even gait to the smallest detail. Graphologist Dmitry Smyslov, in an interview with MIR 24, talked about how, thanks to handwriting, to identify a schizophrenic, find out what Germany a person comes from and why ballpoint pens kill our personality.
Most of us know how to write different letters from early childhood, and this science has remained unchanged for many years, except that the place of “thin feathers” was taken by automatic pens, computers and tablets. nine0005
Despite the rapid growth of technology and the gradual transition to e-learning, copybooks have not disappeared from school desks, paper postcards from stores, and various government agencies continue to generously provide us with paperwork in the form of filling out applications, certificates, invoices, etc. .d.
We almost always write automatically and rarely think about how our hand displays this or that letter, as evidenced by a strong tilt to the right or “jumping” lines. But the handwriting of each person is individual and can tell a lot about its owner. And no, the point is not at all that if you see illegible squiggles in front of you, then a medical worker must have written them, and an exemplary student certainly brought out neat curls. Everything is much deeper and more interesting. nine0005
Came for an interview - be afraid of a graphologist
The doctrine, according to which a person's handwriting is closely related to his individual characteristics, is called graphology. And, although in modern science this teaching is considered as pseudo-scientific, the profession of a graphologist still exists.
Today is a special date for these people: on January 23, the world celebrates Handwriting Day or, as it is also called, Handwriting Day. This date was established by the Writing Instrument Manufacturers Association to remind us all of the uniqueness of handwriting and the uniqueness of each person's handwriting. nine0005
On the occasion of the unusual holiday "MIR 24" I interviewed Dmitry Smyslov, Ph.D. By the handwriting of a person, he can determine a lot: whether he is quick-tempered or calm, quickly makes decisions or, conversely, thinks for a long time and weighs everything in detail.
“Handwriting gives a mold of personality,” Dmitry explains. - This is a feature of the relationship to oneself, to the world, to people. Through handwriting, we can diagnose the potential of a person. But, first of all, we still look at the characteristics of a person's character. nine0005
To understand a person through his handwriting, graphologists are helped by such a concept as a dynamic stereotype.
“Dynamic stereotype is a pattern of accumulation and waste of energy, which is formed in the human brain and is associated with his speech, speed of thinking, his type of response, his gait, his handwriting - it's all interconnected. This stereotype determines how a person functions,” says Smyslov.
The main goal of a dynamic stereotype is to provide our body with the automaticity of such simple and at the same time complex actions as walking, maintaining posture and motor activity, and the work of various muscles. This is our individual plasticity, grace, posture, gestures - in a word, everything that allows you to accurately recognize a familiar person without even seeing his face. nine0005
Handwriting also refers to the dynamic characteristics of the personality. Therefore, a graphologist does not need to look at your face or walk - just a couple of lines written by hand are enough to tell a lot about you.
The services of graphologists are often used by various companies that want to hire new employees. Just imagine: instead of long interviews, now you can immediately weed out unsuitable candidates, simply by giving them a pen and a piece of paper. A couple of lines are enough for a specialist to understand whether you are really as stress-resistant and punctual as it is written in your resume. nine0005
“Some people have this peculiarity: they do nothing until a stressful situation arises. As soon as a stressful situation arises, they are immediately actively involved in the work and are the fastest to do something. They need an adrenaline rush: when they feel the tension, it becomes interesting for them to work. They are very well fixed in handwriting,” says Smyslov.
Sometimes, in order to see how a person behaves in a stressful situation, the employer may ask the candidate to write something on the blackboard with chalk. In everyday life, people rarely keep records in this way, except for teachers. In addition, it is much more difficult to write beautifully with chalk than with a pen, so for a person it is a kind of stress, and personality traits in his handwriting become aggravated, Dmitry assures. nine0005
At the same time, the graphologist pays special attention to how a person writes his own name. These are the words that we write most often, and the way we do this reflects our attitude towards ourselves.
“Very often it can happen that a person has one handwriting, but he writes his first and last name with a different slope, otherwise. Here we can very well see how a person treats himself. For example, there are people of a depressive warehouse who do not accept themselves, push them away. And some do not like to write their first and last names at all, and when they write a document, they suddenly forget to indicate its ownership, ”the expert says. nine0005
Smyslov admits that he often scolds his students at the university if they forget to indicate their authorship on sheets of independent work. After all, when a person signs a document, he thereby takes responsibility for its contents, which means he takes it more seriously, the graphologist is sure.
There was a man, there was a squiggle
It is noteworthy that the letters that we most often write by hand in our life are not even a full-fledged word. We are talking about a signature - the main identifier of each person. It is thanks to the signature that we can confirm our identity, therefore, as a rule, we rarely change it. If a person's handwriting can change slightly throughout life, then the signature is usually more conservative. nine0005
We choose our first signature at the age of 14, when we receive a passport. There are those who take this matter seriously, comparing several options and choosing the best one. But many teenagers do not want to think about it and prefer to copy the signatures of relatives, friends or celebrities.
“A signature is what you represent as a person and what you broadcast about yourself to the world. It is usually believed that this is just some kind of squiggle that can be put. This is very sad,” Smyslov laments. He is convinced that the signature of each person should carry a certain meaning. nine0005
“I remember I was on a business trip in St. Petersburg, after a lecture a listener came up to me and said: “Please tell me about my signature.” She signed, I say: "You are a squiggle." At first she didn't understand. Says, "Is that all you can say?" I answer: "For you - yes." He glanced at the ring finger of her right hand, and there was a golden ring. “Tell me, please, did you have a different signature before marriage?” I asked. She says yes. When she signed with her former signature, there were first and last names! That is, before marriage, this woman had a first and last name, and after marriage she became a “squiggle”! She admitted that she really began to do a lot at home, life, and somehow she completely forgot about herself. So the signature is actually an indicator of our attitude towards ourselves, ”the graphologist concludes. nine0005
According to him, you can tell a lot from the way a person puts their signature on a document. For example, in many statements there is a small window at the bottom where you need to fit your signature - we all had to do this. Someone in such cases reduces the size of their own signature to fit it into the right space, but, oddly enough, there are people who simply cannot bring themselves to do this.
“These people don't know how to adapt, they have to declare themselves all the time. If a crisis, stressful situation arises, and a person does not know how to adapt, you understand what this can be fraught with. First of all, the fact that a person simply does not fit into the new structure, and, accordingly, it will be a very sad story, ”explains Dmitry. nine0005
From scratch: how schizophrenia and oncology change handwriting
Many people are concerned about the question: is it possible to completely change your handwriting? Often we want to write something secretly so that no one recognizes our hand. Before the advent of smartphones, this was especially true for school notes, which we all exchanged with classmates. To prevent handwriting from being recognized, a person usually tries to write with a different hand or forcibly changes the slope of the letters. But it won't take long to write.
According to Smyslov, no one can radically and permanently change handwriting. But there are times when this does happen - however, against our will. nine0005
“I observed this in cancer patients, especially after a person suddenly found out that he, for example, was in the third stage of oncology. Handwriting can change radically, it becomes dramatically senile. All interest in life, in oneself is lost, and the handwriting is completely changed. Old handwriting is associated with hand motility - finger movements become more uncomfortable. This is usually normal in people closer to 60 years old, but this handwriting also happens in young people, ”says the expert. nine0005
In addition to illnesses such as cancer, various brain injuries, as well as some mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, can also affect handwriting. By examining a person's handwriting, a graphologist will probably not give him an accurate diagnosis, but may reveal a tendency to schizophrenia or schizotypal disorder.
The very word "schizophrenia" literally means "splitting of the mind" ("schizo" in Greek - "split", "split", "fren" - mind, thought). This disease is characterized by the breakdown of thought processes and emotional reactions. That is, the world in the head of a schizophrenic is, as it were, split, and it is very difficult for him to “gather” it together. This, as it turned out, manifests itself in handwriting. nine0005
“In order for the world in the head of a schizophrenic not to fall apart, he can begin to do the following. For example, write several words at once or even lines together. The second option: he will write words as usual, but between the lines there will appear, as it were, random dots, dashes. All this will glue these lines together in his brain and, as it were, keep this world in his head so that it does not completely fall apart, ”explains Dmitry.
What is written with a pen…
The popularity of computers and other electronic gadgets is gaining momentum every year. For text communication, we use SMS, instant messengers, and often we are completely limited to funny stickers. This leads to a disturbing question: will we soon stop writing by hand altogether? nine0005
According to Dmitry Smyslov, this sad future is inevitable, and perhaps we will come to it after some time. But few people are aware of the real danger of losing a handwritten letter, the expert believes.
“Handwriting is the socialization of a person. That is, the way we can write speaks about how we have socialized in society. Therefore, it is extremely necessary to teach handwriting in elementary grades,” the graphologist urges.
At the same time, he notes that not every pen is suitable for forming good handwriting. Most of us today write with ballpoint or gel pens, which do not have the best effect on the quality of writing. nine0005
“In 1968, separate writing of letters in elementary grades was abolished in Soviet schools. And from this period, children began to be taught to write not individual letters, but words. Pay attention: those people who passed calligraphy - even now, in our time, their handwriting is very beautiful and correctly structured. When they began to use a ballpoint pen instead of a fountain pen, it turned out that it was much easier to write with a ballpoint pen, but it began to spoil a person’s handwriting very much. This began to manifest itself, including in the behavior of people: they have less attention to detail and more attention to the superficial perception of information. The handwriting became even more average. And an average handwriting is an average personality,” says Smyslov. nine0005
According to him, it is the fountain pen from childhood that forms our attitude towards ourselves as a person, our attitude towards people and the world, develops attentiveness, accuracy and a sense of responsibility. Hand writing is necessary primarily because the intellect in childhood develops along with fine motor skills - through the fingertips.
Another curious fact: different schools adopted their own writing standards at different times, and if you understand them well, you can find out not only the character of a person, but also the place where he was born and raised. nine0005
“Several years ago, I was at a conference in Berlin, where my German colleagues and I discussed the signatures of German politicians,” Dmitry says. - They told me a very interesting thing: it turns out that in the schools of the GDR they taught to write according to our traditions - with a slight right inclination, and in the schools of the FRG they taught to write straight, without an inclination. That is, even by the slope of the handwriting, until 1990, it was possible to determine from which part of Germany a person came from.
By the way, a straight slope means a person's tendency to live according to his internal code of conduct, in connection with which he evaluates himself, other people and his relationships with them. And a slight right inclination is a kind of conformity, a tendency to obey and fulfill the requirements of other people. Completely different mentalities. nine0005
Thus, handwriting is an important stage in the formation and preservation of personal qualities. Write more, keep diaries and do not refuse paper letters and postcards, because all this is your message to yourself and other people. A message to the future, where fountain pens will become valuable artifacts and manuscripts a rarity...
Hysteric or schizophrenic? How to recognize character by handwriting | SOCIETY
AiF-Chelyabinsk correspondent found out what features of handwriting will tell about the character, temperament and personal characteristics of a person. nine0005
Mankind has puzzled over the riddle of handwriting ever since they learned to write. Why does one write like “chicken paw”, while the other diligently displays each letter? Why does one person have letters tilted to the left, another to the right, and a third person generally “dance”? For one, they are clear and bright, while for the other, they are barely visible.
Chelyabinsk psychologist Yana Denisova in her work, first of all, she pays attention to the force of pressing a pencil or pen on paper. nine0005
They cringe even on paper
“Strong personalities usually write and draw quite confidently, their writing looks bright, one feels confident pressure on the paper,” says Yana . - People who are currently tormented by anxiety or fear write unevenly, a little angularly, not caring about the impression that is written.Psychologist Yana Denisova. Photo: From the personal archive
Low self-esteem, disbelief in one's own abilities are reflected in the letter by thin, almost disappearing lines. You won't notice much pressure on the paper. It is also important to pay attention to the location of the text or inscription. The more confident and calm a person is, the more space he allows his text to take up on paper. Such people usually do not respect margins and indents, but place what is written all over the sheet. Insecure people have smaller handwriting, their text does not take up much space, the signature of such a person is also quite compact and discreet. They seem to "shrink". Even on paper. nine0005
Some scholars believe that handwriting reflects human speech. For example, someone who writes large and sweepingly, and in speech, as a rule, is persuasive, knows how to correctly and brightly intonate.
Narcissus can be seen immediately
Someone who cares about praise and admiration can be calculated by the level of accuracy of the text. Even in his writing, he strives to impress others.
“Irregular, with blots, expressive text often belongs to emotional and sensitive people. They have no time to think about external beauty, as they are preoccupied with internal content, continues Yana Denisova . - And if you see a text written carelessly from the point of view of calligraphy, do not rush to draw unflattering conclusions about its author.
Take a piece of paper and move as far away from it as possible: if from a distance the lines look even, then you have the creation of an intellectual. Well, do not forget that representatives of professions who are forced to write a lot (doctors, journalists), handwriting deteriorates significantly over time. This is the so-called "writer's cramp", it occurs when certain muscles used in writing get tired. nine0005
Pathological curls and decorations
According to scientists, handwriting can also indicate various pathologies. For example, trembling handwriting, which is characterized by zigzag lines, may be in people suffering from chronic alcoholism or neurasthenia.
If the handwriting "trembles", but the lines creep over each other, the final strokes of the letters are missing, and there are too large spaces between words, this indicates that its owner is hysterical.Handwriting can indicate certain diseases. Photo: pixabay.com
The so-called "lanterns" - disproportionately large letters compared to the rest in one word - a sign of inflammation of one of the brain regions. Diseases in this case can be very different. This handwriting is also inherent in very old people.
Extra curls, additional lines and embellishments when writing are signs of psychoasthenia (a mental disorder characterized by weakness, impotence, lack of will).
Crooked letters with dots between them are a sign of epilepsy, and a versatile slope of letters and words in a sentence is a sign of schizophrenia. In addition, patients diagnosed with schizophrenia love all kinds of underlining, and also put exclamation and question marks not always where they should be. They also have a certain ornate handwriting. nine0005
Handwriting as speech
“Variation of handwriting often appears in patients, which corresponds to the unnaturalness and theatricality of the movements characteristic of the patient with this disease,” says psychiatrist Pavel Karpov in his work on the creativity of the mentally ill. “Patients with early dementia, distinguished most often by exaggerated isolation and secrecy, consider their experiences so intimate that they even try to encrypt their letter so that an outsider could not penetrate the meaning of what was written, inventing special drawings of letters for this purpose. ” nine0005
French graphologist Adrian Varinar spoke about an unusual case from his practice. Once he studied one autograph, and then told its author that he had an incubation period of insanity, to which he received a lot of objections and indignation. However, a year later this man really went mad and soon died.
An interesting observation concerning the similarity of handwriting and speech in mental patients was made by doctors. A sweeping and large letter looks like a roar and a cry, and a compressed and small one looks like a whisper. nine0005
Write in cursive!
Meanwhile, neuropsychologists are concerned about the general computerization and "gadgetization". Modern children do not write well, preferring "printed communication" using emoticons. But it is prescriptions that develop the brain by influencing certain parts of it, which are responsible for the formation of literate speech and the ability to read, write, drive a car, go in for extreme sports, etc.