Schizophrenic Tendencies


People in the prodromal phase of schizophrenic experience what can be called schizophrenic tendencies--symptoms that are a precursor to schizophrenia, but which are not yet part of active psychosis. Symptoms in the prodromal phase are not specific to schizophrenia; they can be symptoms of other disorders as well, such as severe depression. Not all people with schizophrenic tendencies will go on to develop schizophrenia.

Symptoms of the prodromal phase of schizophrenia can vary from person to person. The most common are social withdrawal, confusion or trouble concentrating, apathy, anxiety, feelings of suspiciousness (to be distinguished from full-blown paranoia), difficulty making choices, and problems with communication and perception. People in the prodromal phase may have unusual or disordered thoughts, possibly even intermittent psychotic thoughts, but are not experiencing the acute psychosis that is a hallmark of full-blown schizophrenia. Although they may experience subtle visual or auditory hallucinations, individuals in the prodromal phase are aware that the hallucinations are not real.

Because schizophrenia is most successfully managed when is it diagnosed and treated early, symptoms of schizophrenic tendencies should be taken seriously. Unusual behavior, social withdrawal, and trouble in work or school may be signs of impending schizophrenia, and should be addressed by a doctor. Individuals with family members who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia should be particularly sure to have any schizophrenic tendencies evaluated by a doctor.