I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety about four months ago, but lately, I have been hearing voices and seeing things that aren't there. I am more antisocial now and I babble and mutter to myself, talking about things coming to get me. I am convinced that there are cameras in my room to monitor me and I sometimes have no idea what just happened. I'm scared and if anyone could help then I would love it. Thank you so much xxx <3
Firstly I am not a medical professional, so can only give you some thoughts and ideas which may or may not be helpful yo you only a qualified psychologist, psychiatrist (or in some areas a social worker) can properly diagnose schizophrenia, I am wondering as you have been diagnosed with anxiety is it possible if medication had been given for this you are experiencing side effects from that. If you feel this is not the case it is also important to remember that even if you have some of the symptoms I am going to list below, it may not mean you have or are more likely to develop schizophrenia as within mental illness and depression/anxiety many of the symptoms can overlap, which again is why a medical professional needs to asses you, as it could be anything bipolar, depression, personality disorders etc A diagnosis of schizophrenia requires that continuous disturbance (i.e. debilitating symptoms) be present for at least six months, including at least one month of certain key symptoms (active symptoms: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, disorganized/catatonic behavior, negative symptoms such as severe emotional flatness or apathy)
SO with that being said there is a huge huge list of possible symptoms that even someone without mental illness may be able to relate to or suffer with, it is also unlikely someone suffering schizophrenia can recognize their own symptoms, so if you are concerned this illness may be effecting you this is one point towards it being less likely so dont read too much in the lists below :-)
Its a huge amount to take in and I dont blame you if you glaze over lol. If you have serious concerns I would suggest discussing it with your DR
Examples of Physical Symptoms A blank, vacant facial expression. An inability to smile or express emotion through the face Overly acute senses- lights are too bright, sounds are too loud. Staring, while in deep thought, with infrequent blinking. Clumsy, inexact motor skills Sleep disturbances- insomnia or excessive sleeping Eye movements- difficulty focusing on slow moving objects Movement is speeded up- i.e. constant pacing Movement is slowed down- staying in bed (in extreme cases, catatonia)
Examples of Emotions The inability to experience joy or pleasure from activities Sometimes feeling nothing at all Appearing desire less- seeking nothing, wanting nothing Feeling detached from your own body (depersonalization) Hypersensitivity to criticism, insults, or hurt feelings
Examples of Mood Sudden irritability, anger, hostility, suspiciousness, resentment Depression- feeling discouraged and hopeless about the future Low motivation, energy, and little or no enthusiasm Suicidal thoughts or suicidal ideation Rapidly changing mood- from happy to sad to angry for no apparent reason (called labile mood) Severe Anxiety
Changes in Behavior associated with schizophrenia Dropping out of activities and life in general Inability to form or keep relationships Social isolation- few close friends if any. Little interaction outside of immediate family. Increased withdrawal, spending most of the days alone. Becoming lost in thoughts and not wanting to be disturbed with human contact Neglect in self-care- i.e. hygiene, clothing, or appearance Replaying or rehearsing conversations out loud- i.e. talking to yourself (very common sign) Finding it difficult to deal with stressful situations Inability to cope with minor problems Lack of goal-directed behavior. Not being able to engage in purposeful activity Functional impairment in interpersonal relationships, work, education, or self-care Deterioration of academic or job-related performance Inappropriate responses- laughing or smiling when talking of a sad event, making irrational statements. Catatonia- staying in the same rigid position for hours, as if in a daze. Intense and excessive preoccupation with religion or spirituality
Examples of Cognitive Problems Associated with Schizophrenia ---- Ruminating thoughts- these are the same thoughts that go around and round your head but get you nowhere. Often about past disappointments, missed opportunities, failed relationships. Becoming incoherent or stringing unrelated words together Lack of insight (called anosognosia). Those who are developing schizophrenia are unaware that they are becoming sick. The part of their brain that should recognize that something is wrong is damaged by the disease. In conversation you tend to say very little Suddenly halting speech in the middle of a sentence Trouble with social cues- i.e. not being able to interpret body language, eye contact, voice tone, and gestures appropriately. Often Difficulty expressing thoughts verbally. Or not having much to say about anything. Speaking in an abstract or tangential way. Odd use of words or language structure Difficulty focusing attention and engaging in goal directed behavior Poor concentration/ memory. Forgetfulness Nonsensical logic Difficulty understanding simple things Obsessive compulsive tendencies- with thoughts or actions Thought insertion/ withdrawal- thoughts are put it or taken away without a conscious effort Conversations that seem deep, but are not logical or coherent
Examples of Delusions The most common type of delusion or false beliefs are paranoid delusions. These are persecutory in nature and take many forms: Overpowering, intense feeling that people are talking about you, looking at you Overpowering, intense feeling you are being watched, followed, and spied on (tracking devices, implants, hidden cameras) Thinking that someone is trying to poison your food Thinking people are working together to harass you Thinking that something is controlling you- i.e. an electronic implant Thinking that people can read your mind/ or control your thoughts Thinking that your thoughts are being broadcast over the radio or tv Delusions of reference- thinking that random events convey a special meaning to you. An example is that a newspaper headline or a license plate has a hidden meaning for you to figure out. That they are signs trying to tell you something. Religious delusions- that you are Jesus, God, a prophet, or the antichrist. Delusions of grandeur- the belief that you have an important mission, special purpose, or are an unrecognized genius, or famous person. Delusions that someone, often a famous person, is in love with you when in reality they aren't.
Examples of Hallucinations Hallucinations are as real as any other experience to the person with schizophrenia. As many as 70% hear voices, while a lesser number have visual hallucinations. Auditory hallucinations can be either inside the person's head or externally. When external, they sound as real as an actual voice. Sometimes they come from no apparent source, other times they come from real people who don't actually say anything, other times a person will hallucinate sounds. When people hear voices inside their heads, it is as if their inner thoughts are no longer alone. The new voices can talk to each other, talk to themselves, or comment on the person's actions. The majority of the time the voices are negative. Visual hallucinations operate on a spectrum. They start with the over acuteness of the senses, then in the middle are illusions, and on the far end are actual hallucinations.
I hope this has helped you <3