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What Does Paranoid Schizophrenia Look Like

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What Schizophrenia looks like

An individual with high-functioning schizophrenia is someone who can conceal their dysfunctional behaviors in public settings and maintain a positive public and professional profile while exposing their negative traits to the family behind closed doors.

A look into the ordinary life of a schizophrenic shows that there are days when all is well, but then sometimes an individual may have an entire active manifestation for about a week. There are certain triggers, such as stress, that may cause one to relapse again.

The infrequency of symptoms is what cause schizophrenics to be low functioning. The fear that they can hurt themselves, or walk into a busy street or even engage in public disorder is the everyday challenge.

What Kind Of Symptoms Might People With Schizophrenia Have

People with schizophrenia may have a number of psychotic symptoms. These symptoms can come and go in phases, or they can happen only once or twice in a lifetime. When the illness begins, psychotic symptoms are usually sudden and severe.

During psychotic phases, the person may still understand parts of reality. He or she may lead a somewhat normal life, doing basic activities such as eating, working and getting around. In other cases, the person may be unable to function. Symptoms during psychotic phases include:

  • Seeing, hearing, feeling or smelling things that are not real .
  • Having strange beliefs that are not based on facts . For example, the person may believe that people can hear his or her thoughts, that he or she is God or the devil, or that people are putting thoughts into his or her head.
  • Thinking in a confused way, being unable to make order out of the world, shifting quickly from one thought to the next.
  • Having emotions, thoughts and moods that do not fit with events.

People with schizophrenia also may:

  • Have a lot of energy or be overly active, or become “catatonic,” a state in which the body becomes rigid and cannot be moved.
  • Talk in sentences that do not make sense.
  • Not wash or groom.
  • Cut themselves off from family, friends and the outside world.
  • Be unable to function in school, work, or other activities.
  • Lose interest in life.
  • Be very sad or have mood swings.
  • Have dulled emotions.

Increased Access To Treatment For Schizophrenia

Access to treatment will increase once communities realize the value of mental health treatment. They will realize that most of us can be helped through different treatment options that will be available to us. They will realize that not providing mental health services is more costly than ignoring the problem. Even the most impoverished person with schizophrenia will be able to treat their schizophrenia regardless of financial status.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling.

Schizophrenia is a severe and debilitating brain and behavior disorder affecting how one thinks, feels and acts. People with schizophrenia can have trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy, expressing and managing normal emotions and making decisions. Thought processes may also be disorganized and the motivation to engage in lifes activities may be blunted. Those with the condition may hear imaginary voices and believe others are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts or plotting to harm them.

While schizophrenia is a chronic disorder, it can be treated with medication, psychological and social treatments, substantially improving the lives of people with the condition.

A moving presentation by Dr. Kafui Dzirasa on Schizophrenia
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Schizophrenia affects men and women equally. It occurs at similar rates in all ethnic groups around the world. Symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions usually start between ages 16 and 30.

Learn more about childhood-onset schizophrenia from this expert researcher:

Find answers to more questions about Schizophrenia in our Ask the Expert section.

Articles On What Is Paranoid Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and Diagnosis ...

Paranoid schizophrenia, or schizophrenia with paranoia as doctors now call it, is the most common example of this mental illness.

Schizophrenia is a kind of psychosis, which means your mind doesn’t agree with reality. It affects how you think and behave. This can show up in different ways and at different times, even in the same person. The illness usually starts in late adolescence or young adulthood.

People with paranoid delusions are unreasonably suspicious of others. This can make it hard for them to hold a job, run errands, have friendships, and even go to the doctor.

Although it’s a lifelong illness, you can take medicines and find help to stop symptoms or make them easier to live with.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Schizophrenia

Is residential teen treatment necessary?

That depends on a teens condition, and the severity of their disorder. We recommend intensive therapy, especially during the onset of the illness, for teens with schizophrenia. This is because residential treatment focuses on maintaining close supervision and encompassing support as therapists and doctors work with teens to treat their symptoms, provide teens with understanding and support, and prepare them to live life by managing their illness.

How will a diagnosis of schizophrenia affect my teens life?

Every case of schizophrenia is a little different. Because the disorder happens on a spectrum, how your teens life will change is entirely dependent on the symptoms they exhibit and how those might change.

Milder forms of schizophrenia can still come with codependent disorders like anxiety or depression and dealing with them can mean that your teen might feel encouraged to become a recluse at times. A social life can be very difficult with schizophrenia, but its never impossible. Some teens are actually relieved to discover that they have schizophrenia, because having a name for it is worse than spending a good portion of their life struggling with thoughts and feelings they cant place or understand.

Real People Real Emotions

Psychiatrist Samuel Keith, MD, expressed the plight of a person with schizophrenia very well:

“Real people with real feelings get schizophrenia. One should never underestimate the depth of their pain, even though the illness itself may diminish their ability to convey it.As one of my own patients told me, ‘Whatever this is that I have, I feel like Im a caterpillar in a cocoon, and Im never going to get the chance to be a butterfly.’

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When A Parent Has Experienced Psychosis

… What kids want to know

Children have a lot of questions when someone in their family is sick. When children don’t have answers to their questions, they tend to come up with their own, which can be incorrect and scary!

When a family member has had psychosis, it can easily become a secret that nobody talks about. All children need some explanation and support, geared to their age, to help them understand this disorder.Each parent and child’s first conversations about psychosis will be different. How you address the subject will depend on the child’s age and ability to manage the information-you know your child best. This brochure will help prepare you to take the first step in discussing this disorder with your child.

Talking About Your Diagnosis

What Is Schizophrenia Like?

People with schizophrenia may feel reluctant to talk about it with people they dont know well. Sharing ones mental health condition may feel risky, particularly if the response of the other person is in question. Those who are managing this disorder may wonder how to tell someone you have schizophrenia. While there is no predetermined way to do this, it can be helpful to gauge their understanding of the condition. Often when people have knowledge about a condition, they are better able to respond to it appropriately and with compassion.

Teach people how to help you when you are experiencing a flare-up with your symptoms. Most people want to help and may simply need to be educated about how to do that. Whom you share your personal information with is entirely your decision. You can share or withhold your medical and mental health information with whomever you would like.

It can also be helpful to enlist the assistance of someone you trust to help you share information about your diagnosis with others. Schizophrenia support groups can be a great way to do this. Meeting up with others who manage a similar condition can help in identifying coping strategies and methods of communicating about it with others.

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Better Treatment For Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia, though severe, is becoming increasingly treatable. Schizophrenia treatment options are expanding and some day nearly everyone with schizophrenia will lead a better quality life. Scientists are forming new types of drugs and treatments that will one day greatly mitigate the effects of this illness on its sufferers. Nearly everyone will receive some form of relief from the devastating voices and delusions which now control their lives. These newfound medical advances will form the groundwork of our eventually resurgence from the depths of psychosis. We will one day be thrust onto the world stage, free from the most debilitating effects of our illness.

What If I Am Not Happy With My Treatment

If you are not happy with your treatment you can:

  • talk to your doctor about your treatment options,
  • ask for a second opinion,
  • get an advocate to help you speak to your doctor,
  • contact Patient Advice and Liaison Service and see whether they can help, or
  • make a complaint.

There is more information about these options below.

Treatment options

You should first speak to your doctor about your treatment. Explain why you are not happy with it. You could ask what other treatments you could try.

Tell your doctor if there is a type of treatment that you would like to try. Doctors should listen to your preference. If you are not given this treatment, ask your doctor to explain why it is not suitable for you.

Second opinion

A second opinion means that you would like a different doctor to give their opinion about what treatment you should have. You can also ask for a second opinion if you disagree with your diagnosis.

You dont have a right to a second opinion. But your doctor should listen to your reason for wanting a second opinion.


An advocate is independent from the mental health service. They are free to use. They can be useful if you find it difficult to get your views heard.

There are different types of advocates available. Community advocates can support you to get a health professional to listen to your concerns. And help you to get the treatment that you would like.

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service


You can find out more about:

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The Breaking Point That Turned Into A Blessing

When I got out of jail, the judge said I had to go to a state psychiatric hospital. I was really nervous, but I talked to a psychiatrist there who made me feel comfortable. For the first time, I opened up about what I was experiencingthe voices, the paranoia. She said, You are battling schizophrenia. I didnt even know what that meant.

She suggested that when I got out of the hospital and off the treatments I was taking there, I try a new treatment for schizophrenia.After weighing the risks and benefits, we both agreed the treatment, given through monthly injections, might help control my symptoms.

Meanwhile, I was doing better at the hospital. I made friends, and gained insight into my illness. During the week, there were movies, cooking classes and education sessions about my diseasebasically, activities to help people like me get back into society. I learned about schizophrenia and what some of my triggers were.

All told, I stayed there for three months. It was hard, especially when my birthday passed, but I tried to have a little faith, and when doctors told me they were going to send me home in November 2011, that felt like a big triumph. There was light at the end of the tunnel.

I will never forget what I went through, or what it took for me to get here. I dont take any of it for granted. I consider myself an advocate for people who dont have a voice.


Its Easy To Live In Denial

Guide to Schizophrenia

Even though your loved one isnt functioning well, isnt meeting their own expectations in life, and is using alcohol or drugs to cope, they may not see theres a problem.

Because of the natural urge to protect those you love, families can stay in denial, as well.

Its often the college that sends a young adult to the hospital for the first time because of erratic behavior or an overdose. The parents get involved only because the college requests their child be evaluated by a psychiatrist.

Families often dont seek help on their own, says Dr. Bowers.

They may continue to struggle try to understand their loved ones symptoms. Or ignore those symptoms until they escalate, sometimes into violent behavior.

But early, continuous treatment is critical, she stresses. Without help, a young adults problems will continue especially if they use drugs or alcohol.

If you find them up all hours of the night, or painting their room black, or too irritable without their meds, or scaring their little sister, call the doctor, she says. And encourage them to keep their appointments.

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Future Schizophrenia Cultural Identity

As impossible as it may seem, we will begin to form our own cultural identity. We will form new types of artistic expression never before seen or experienced. This will have started with the likes of Louis Wain, Vincent Van Gogh and Wesley Willis, and will end with a legion of others yet to be discovered. Our unique perspective on life, and the pain brought upon by our illness will become a launching point for new types of artistic expression.

Changes In Behaviour And Thoughts

A person’s behaviour may become more disorganised and unpredictable.

Some people describe their thoughts as being controlled by someone else, that their thoughts are not their own, or that thoughts have been planted in their mind by someone else.

Another feeling is that thoughts are disappearing, as though someone is removing them from their mind.

Some people feel their body is being taken over and someone else is directing their movements and actions.

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What Is Paranoid Schizophrenia Symptoms Causes Treatments

Paranoid schizophrenia represents the most common of the many sub-types of the debilitating mental illness known collectively as schizophrenia. People with all types of schizophrenia become lost in psychosis of varying intensity, causing them to lose touch with reality. Untreated, people with psychotic disorders lose their ability to function in daily life.

S Of The Brain Of A Person With Schizophrenia

This is what Schizophrenia Looks Like

II. Decreased Prefrontal Brain Function

Individuals with schizophrenia, including those who have never been treated, show decreased activity in the prefrontal area of the brain compared to healthy persons without a psychiatric illness. This area of the brain is believed to support such “cognitive” functions as planning, problem solving, flexibility of thinking, and memory. The fact that there is less brain activity in these areas partially explains why people with schizophrenia have problems with cognitive functions.

Brain scans of healthy people are shown on the top. Brain scans of people with schizophrenia are shown on the bottom. Areas in red show areas of the brain that are “active.” People with schizophrenia show decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex compared to healthy people.

III. Enlarged Ventricles in the Brain of People with Schizophrenia

The figure to the left is a brain scan of a healthy person and a person with schizophrenia, respectively. Notice that the unaffected twin in the above picture has larger ventricles than the healthy person in the picture here. Because the genes of twins are very similar, the unaffected twin may have greater brain abnormalities than someone who does not have the illness or any biological relatives with the illness.

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How Do Doctors Diagnose The Type Of Schizophrenia

If the patient is admitted, the psychiatrist talks to them and evaluates their behavior, considers whether any symptoms were triggered by alcohol or drugs, reviews any records from prior admissions, and talks to the family.

Initially, we may only see that the patient is losing track of reality, says Dr. Bowers. We may need more time to see all the symptoms of schizophrenia. These symptoms include:

  • Fixed, false beliefs.
  • Seeing visions or shadows.
  • Suspicion and distrust.

Government regulations require psychiatrists to diagnose a specific type of schizophrenia so that insurance companies get the green light to pay for care.

We hope to see enough symptoms during a three-, five- or 10-day hospital stay to clarify the type of schizophrenia, she says. But we may not see all of them, so the initial diagnosis may not be exactly right.

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.

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