I don't know what to do?

Submitted by twitchhavok, September 12, 2012

I'm afraid that I might have some symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hearing voices calling my name when there is no one there, thinking that people are staring at me, or talking about me all the time, I see shadows flit over the corner of my vision and I panic when I see them, having a hard time expressing things to people etc etc. But I don't want to bring it up because when I told my parents several years ago when I was a teenager (I am now 19) that I was hearing voices they said it wasn't a problem and that I was over reacting. Am I?

Hi Twitchhavok, Based on what

Hi Twitchhavok,

Based on what you describe, I doubt you would meet the criteria for a diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, I don't think your symptoms should be ignored or minimized and you may meet the criteria for another disorder. I don't think you are overreacting.

Schizophrenia often has a gradual progression in its development. Since the typical age of onset is early 20s (for males) and late 20s (for females), at 19, I think you should definitely have an evaluation by a psychiatrist or psychologist.

You mentioned that the voices call your name. With schizophrenia, the voices that are heard typically carry on a "running commentary" (i.e., it or they talk comment on your actions, etc.), have conversations with each other, or tell you to do things. If the voices you hear are doing any of those things as well, then that is very serious.

If you are still covered by your parents insurance, I encourage you to talk to them about having an evaluation. It is far better to diagnosis and treat this now than wait for it to get worse, especially since these symptoms have been present for several years. If, by chance you do have (or do develop) schizophrenia or any other psychotic disorder, early treatment can improve the prognosis significantly.

If you are no longer under your parents' health insurance, I encourage you to get an evaluation on your own. If you have health insurance, check with them for a list of providers. If you don't have coverage and money is limited, then contact a local mental health agency. Community and county mental health agencies often provide services at a sliding fee or may at least be able to help you know your options.

I hope this helps!

Dr. Cheryl Lane