Signs of Schizophrenia in Young Adults


The onset of schizophrenia usually occurs in young adulthood, with most schizophrenics beginning to experience symptoms when they are between the ages of 15 and 30. According to the World Federation for Mental Health, Australian studies have found that most (more than 75%) of people with a serious mental illness had their first episode before the age of 25, with the highest prevalence found among those in the 18-24 age group. This statistics highlights the importance of mental heath awareness in young adults, so that emerging schizophrenia and other serious mental health disorders can be quickly identified and treated.

Recognizing schizophrenia in adolescence can be difficult, since this is already a time of tremendous change for most people. Serious symptoms of a mental health problem can sometimes be overlooked, making a diagnosis more difficult. Additionally, some research has shown that depression and schizophrenia often begin with similar symptoms, with depressive and negative symptoms prominent before the onset of psychotic symptoms in schizophrenics.

Young adults in this prodromal or pre-psychotic phase of schizophrenia can display a number of different symptoms. These include sleep and appetite disturbances, marked unusual behavior, blunted feelings or feelings that seem inappropriate or unusual to others, speech that is hard to follow, preoccupation with strange ideas, persistent feelings of unreality, and changes in the way things look, sound, or smell.

Identifying schizophrenia early can be important to successful treatment of the disorder, so recognizing these signs of schizophrenia in young adults is important. If you or a loved one have several of these symptoms or are concerned about the possibility of schizophrenia, contact a mental health professional for an evaluation as soon as possible.