Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that can alter your perception of sight and sound. Early diagnosis of schizophrenia leads to more favorable treatment outcomes. By knowing what to expect during the early stages of schizophrenia, you can learn the signs for when it is time to see a doctor for treatment.

Early Warning Signs in Younger Children

Psychologists call the time before symptoms meet clinical levels of intensity the prodromal stage. For younger children, they may experience delayed motor development and be unable to walk until they are 18 months old. They could also experience delayed speech or language development and may not speak clear phrases until 36 months old.

Children may also have trouble communicating how they feel through gestures or facial expressions. While these issues may be related to something else entirely, a doctor will be able to know for sure if these signs point to schizophrenia.

Early Warning Signs in Adulthood

Schizophrenia usually starts during early adulthood. The most common early stages are nervousness, depression, anxiety, having trouble thinking, lack of self-confidence, social withdrawal, and low school performance. Not everyone will experience these warning signs at the same time.

Sometimes, it can take years before these symptoms start to show. If you have a family member with schizophrenia, it can increase your chances of inheriting it. These risk factors will be taken into account when you see a doctor for a diagnosis.

One study published in Science Direct titled “Active and Prodromal Phase Symptomatology of Young-Onset and Late-Onset Paranoid Schizophrenia” found that men over 35 have fewer negative symptoms during the early stage and are less likely to experience social isolation and a lack of concentration. Some scientists believe that those who develop schizophrenia later in life experience less disorganized thinking and negative symptoms.

When to See a Doctor

It can be challenging to know when behavior changes start and when to start worrying about them. If you are experiencing a pattern of unusual behavior, that is usually a sign you need to speak to a medical professional. Not only can they diagnose schizophrenia, but also see if you have any co-occurring disorders.

These patterns can include worsening job or school performance, having trouble thinking clearly, a decline in self-care, or disorganized speech. It can be challenging for those with schizophrenia to seek help. Any abnormal behavior occurring means it is time to consult a doctor.

Schizophrenia is a challenging mental health disorder that can affect your vision, thoughts, and hearing. It can be hard to tell if the abnormal changes will pass or if they are part of the early stages of schizophrenia. Remembering the early stages of schizophrenia will send you on the right path towards treatment. At Alta Loma, we understand the early stages of schizophrenia, and we are here to help you. Our transformative treatment center in Georgetown, Texas, can provide you with individual assessments, medication management, life skills education, and more. Call us at (866) 457-3843 for more information.