Schizophrenia has never quite been understood by the medical profession, according to Dr. Michael Bengston of Psych Central, and was once thought to be an illness caused by demonic possession. The ailment continues to confound medical professionals and wreak havoc in the victim’s family.
Schizophrenia usually rears its ugly head during the early twenties when unusual behavior begins to appear. According to Dr. Bengston, the following symptoms signal the condition:
1. Social isolation and withdrawal
2. Irrational, bizarre or odd statements or beliefs
3. Increased paranoia or questioning other’s motivations
4. Hostility or suspiciousness
5. Less emotional
6. A lack of motivation
7. Drug or alcohol dependency
8. Insomnia or oversleeping
9. Strange manner of speaking
10. Allowing personal appearance and hygiene to deteriorate
Because they experience depression, nearly a third of all schizophrenics will attempt suicide and 10% will succeed within 20 years of the onset of the illness. But they rarely tell anyone that they plan to take their own lives. Those who suffer the most risk are young males under the age of 30, some of whom imagine hearing voices that tell him to harm themselves, which is referred to as auditory command hallucinations. Those with false beliefs are termed delusional.
Schizophrenics are often paranoid and have been known to install multiple locks on their doors and routinely check them. Some even refuse to talk on the phone. Their behavior and beliefs are usually irrational or illogical and they fear that others are out to get them or want to lock them away.
Alcohol, nicotine and drug abuse is another indicator that the schizophrenic is attempting to self-medicate, which hampers treatment and recovery.