What are the symptoms? continued...
Symptoms usually start when you are a
teen or a young adult, but they may start later in life. They may appear
suddenly or may develop slowly. You may not be aware of your symptoms.
Negative symptoms usually appear first. They may be hard to recognize as
schizophrenia, because they are similar to symptoms of other problems, such as
depression. Positive symptoms can start days, months,
or years after the negative symptoms.
Early signs of
schizophrenia may include doing worse in school, thinking that people are
trying to harm you, or having changes in your personality, such as not wanting
to see people.
These signs don't mean you have schizophrenia. But
if you notice these signs, see a doctor.
How is schizophrenia diagnosed?
Your doctor will
ask you questions about your health and about any odd experiences you may have
had, such as hearing voices or having confusing thoughts. You will have a
physical exam. Your doctor also may suggest tests, such as blood tests or
imaging tests, to see if your symptoms may be caused
by another health problem.
How is it treated?
help your symptoms, and counseling and therapy help you change how you think
about things and deal with the illness. Treatment may last a long time.
When you have your symptoms under control, you are in recovery. Recovery
usually is a lifelong process. In the recovery process, you learn to cope with
your symptoms and challenges, find and meet your goals, and get the support
you need. Your recovery depends upon a partnership between you, your doctors,
and others who are important in your life.
People who have schizophrenia often stop
treatment. This may be because they don't understand that they have an illness
or because the medicines cause side effects. When treatment stops, symptoms
usually come back (relapse) or get worse. A relapse might happen right after
treatment is stopped or months later. A later relapse makes it hard to see that
stopping the medicine was the cause. During a relapse, some people who have schizophrenia may need to spend time
in a hospital.