In this early phase, people with schizophrenia often seem eccentric, unmotivated, emotionless, and reclusive. They isolate themselves, start neglecting their appearance, say peculiar things, and show a general indifference to life. They may abandon hobbies and activities, and their performance at work or school deteriorates.
The most common early warning signs of schizophrenia include:
• Social withdrawal
• Hostility or suspiciousness
• Deterioration of personal hygiene
• Flat, expressionless gaze
• Inability to cry or express joy
• Inappropriate laughter or crying
• Oversleeping or insomnia
• Odd or irrational statements
• Forgetful; unable to concentrate
• Extreme reaction to criticism
• Strange use of words or way of speaking
While these warning signs can result from a number of problems—not just schizophrenia—they are cause for concern. When out-of-the-ordinary behavior is causing problems in your life or the life of a loved one, seek medical advice. If schizophrenia or another mental problem is the cause, treatment will help.
Are people with schizophrenia really dangerous?
They can be. When a person with schizophrenia is in a psychotic state, they often lose touch with reality, and everything becomes distorted. People with paranoid schizophrenia, when in a delusional state, often believe that others are trying to harm them, or they hear voices sometimes believing it is the voice of God telling them to kill someone because they are really demons. Most people with this illness respond very well with medications, but they should be closely monitored to ensure that they are taking their meds, because often times, when they feel better they start to slack off on taking them. When symptoms start to reappear it can be difficult to get them back on track with their meds, because they start to believe everyone is conspiring against them or trying to poison them with the meds and hospitalization is often required.