We may be aware of schizophrenia as a psychological disorder, that is punctuated with episodes of psychotic behavior and mannerisms; however, what very few may know, is that schizophrenia, before it sets foot with complete intensity has its own signature signs to indicate its onset. This stage where schizophrenia has not developed fully is known as the prodromal stage. A prodromal stage is marked by the influx or the introduction of schizophrenia. We may conclude by the term, that the disorder may be categorized as being in its prenatal stages. This is what, in the actual, is meant by the term prodromal. A stage where one may not claim to be seriously ill, nor certify that they are perfectly alright.
Prodromal schizophrenia generally has its onset after puberty; a period after which the symptoms continue to increase and the normal functioning suffers a beating. The prodromal phase is marked by individuals enduring symptoms that are not specifically indicative of a psychotic disorder. Anxiety, stress, the feeling of being left out, being uncertain about the choices to be made in daily situations, and facing troubles sustaining attention and concentration, are some of the characteristic symptoms. As for children; they may endure ADHD or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Thus, in order to identify the symptoms, it is required that we know about the substrata of the prodromal symptoms.
Prodromal Symptoms of Schizophrenia
The prodromal schizophrenia symptoms are categorized in three stages.
- The first stage is referred to as Attenuated Positive Symptom Syndrome (APSS) that deals with having scary, and often abstract and destructive thoughts, thereby also developing problems with communication, and its thought processes. This may progress and continue to worsen over a period.
- The second stage is called the Brief Intermittent Psychotic Syndrome (BIPS). The features or symptoms specific to this syndrome, is the development of hallucinations. Hallucinations may indicate that the condition is worsening over time. The frequency of not communicating in a normal way also draws attention to the fact that the symptoms be reported and further diagnosed. They generally continue to resurface for two to three months.
- The third and the last stage is known as the genetic risk plus functional deterioration. This is a group in which the individual has been diagnosed with a schizotypal personality or has a genetic risk in terms of any of his blood relation being diagnosed with the same. This works in conjunction with a decline in school, work and a complete deterioration in social behavior.
Abstract and Uncanny Thoughts
This is one symptom that continues even after schizophrenia has completely developed. An individual may conceive thoughts that may not be characterized as practical and realistic in nature. One may start to have uncanny, sometimes scary thoughts; a sign of psychotic behavior.
There may be thoughts that are directed toward one's self-image, where one may have a feeling that he or she is the chosen one, or the special one. One may also claim that they are proficient in reading the minds and gestures of an individual, and predict the future by making eye contact. One may also become overtly suspicious about his or her relatives. A feeling of being spied and tracked on, comes to mind.
Hallucinations is characterized by the individual having visual and auditory illusions. It is a condition where the individual may claim to see something, that in the actual, does not exist. For instance, an individual who endures hallucinations, may state, that there is a snake right in front of her and starts to scream. This is a visual illusion. Someone may sense an illusory presence of someone and begins to have daily conversations. There are many conditions that are fabricated by illusion.
Social withdrawal and the ability of an individual to interact with friends and family members, may decline. The individual may feel disoriented and distant from social groups. He may not pay attention to things that were told to him, or instructions that were given to him. Giving time to groom oneself and making oneself look presentable is a thought that escapes the mind. Activities that were enjoyed by him in the past, no more generate interest in him. His attention and productivity at work or school may also decrease, affecting his overall performance and self-esteem.
These were some of the basic prodromal symptoms of schizophrenia. If any of these symptoms are noticed, it would be advisable to consult an expert and follow the prescribed treatments and therapies. They are best detected in their neonatal stage before they go on to engulfing your life. A point that should be noted is that if your family has a dominant history of schizophrenia, your children may also suffer the risk of developing prodromal symptoms.
More often than not, its premier signs in children are waived as a paradigm shift of personality into becoming a narcissist. However, practitioners and parents overlook the onset of this symptom. This symptom develops into a full-blown personality distortion where the eventual behavior, perceptions and thoughts are gravely affected.