Identifying schizophrenia: 4 symptoms to look out for

Is it just erratic behavior, or is it something more serious?

This is a question you might be asking yourself if you suspect a loved one has a mental illness. And while schizophrenia symptoms can often mimic those of other conditions, like bipolar disorder, there are several things you can look out for that should raise a red flag. If you learn how to identify signs of schizophrenia, you have a better chance of getting a loved one the help they need.

1. Hallucinations

Schizophrenia is often characterized by auditory or visual hallucinations. Essentially, the person is seeing or hearing things that are not there. Hearing voices is a common symptom of schizophrenia.

2. Delusions

Delusions are similar to hallucinations, but they are beliefs that are not grounded in reality. For example, a paranoid schizophrenic might believe that the government is tapping his phone or that his neighbor is constantly spying on him through a window.

3. Word salad

"Word salad" is a common theme for schizophrenics. This is when a person has very jumbled or mixed-up speech patterns that result in unintelligible phrases, sentences or remarks.

4. Lack of emotion

Another way to identify signs of schizophrenia is to consider whether or not the person appears emotionally invested and connected to others. Schizophrenics are often out of touch with their emotions and don't have the capacity to feel empathy or sympathy for others.

While you can't force a schizophrenic to seek help, if you think a loved one might be in danger, contact a medical health professional to discuss the possibility of treatment.

Source: Mayo Clinic

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