Schizophrenia and It’s Unique Onset

schizophreniaUnlike other mental illnesses, schizophrenia is unique, as its onset is almost always in young adulthood.[1] While it can happen in childhood or during the teen years, it rarely does, and it almost never happens after 40.1 In fact, many people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia experience the first symptoms and episodes in their early to mid-20s.1 This adds to the fact that it is such a devastating disorder—just as one begins to find their way in the world, exploring personality and relationships, schizophrenia strikes.1

Also, unlike other disorders, its symptoms are scary and troubling.1 With a variety of symptoms and behaviors that revolve around delusions, hallucinations, incoherent speech, diminished expression of emotions, and disorganized behavior, schizophrenia is a serious disorder.1

A hallucination is a sensory perceptions that a person experiences in the absence of relevant external stimulus.1 This means that a person experiences something that doesn’t truly exist, except for in their mind.1 Hallucinations can be visual, auditory, olfactory, gustatory, or tactile.1

A delusion is a persistent, false belief that they hold about themselves or the reality around them.1 Despite what everyone else believes and the evidence, the person believes in the delusion.1 They can be bizarre or not and can involve a number of things: that another person is in love with them, their partner is unfaithful, they are being conspired against, they are being controlled by someone or something else, that something is not right with their body, that they can broadcast their thoughts to others or vice versa, or they could have an inflated sense of worth, power, or knowledge.1

The DSM-5 states, “The peak age at onset for the first psychotic episode is in the early- to mid-20s for males and in the late-20s for females. The onset may be abrupt or insidious, but the majority of individuals manifest a slow and gradual development of a variety of clinically significant signs and symptoms.”1

Also, “Earlier age at onset has traditionally been seen as a predictor of worse prognosis.”1

Unfortunately, many people with schizophrenia lack awareness of their illness.1 This refusal to cope with their diagnosis is part of the symptoms of schizophrenia itself.1 This only makes getting treatment more difficult.1 The treatment process requires a lot of patience and monitoring.1 Many do not like to take their medications on a regular basis, which can worsen the symptoms if stopped abruptly.1

The saddest part is that the DSM-5 suggests that the course of the disorder is favorable in about 20 percent of those with schizophrenia.1 There is a long, hard road ahead of them.1 However, the disease is not a sentence—it is a diagnosis.1 It can be treated, and some can lead successful lives.1

[1] Grohol, J. (2013). Schizophrenia Usually Strikes First in Young Adults. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2013, from http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/12/09/schizophrenia-usually-strikes-first-in-young-adults/

One Comment

  • Whitney

    January 2, 2014, 10:54 am

    Тhere iѕ definately a lot to leаrn about this topic.
    I like all the points уou’vе made.

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