Schizophrenia Symptoms and the Impact on Everyday Life
Symptoms for schizophrenia vary and their impact on everyday life can range from troublesome to life-altering. Work, school and home life can all be affected by schizophrenic symptoms. Even the early signs of schizophrenia can impact school and social life.
Initially, when schizophrenia signs and symptoms begin, it’s not obvious what they are. Often these schizophrenia symptoms occur during adolescence and are mistaken for normal teenage behavior or perhaps depression or another mental illness. The earliest symptom of schizophrenia may be cognitive impairment and this can occur at a young age. Other early symptoms include:
- Change in friends or social isolation
- Difficulty at school
- Sleep problems
- Difficulty telling reality from fantasy (information on hallucinations and delusions)
- An increase in unusual thoughts, perceptions and suspicions or paranoia
- Odd manner of thinking and speaking
Effects of Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia at Work and School
These early schizophrenia symptoms can easily result in a failure to thrive at school. The person may push away all their friends and become withdrawn, no longer willing to take part in things they once enjoyed, like sports or music. The cognitive impairment and difficulty thinking may result in a drop in grades.
Once a person gets older, the symptoms of schizophrenia tend to become more pronounced as schizophrenia becomes a full-blown illness. At this point, signs and symptoms of schizophrenia include:1
- Psychotic symptoms (hallucinations and delusions)
- Disorganized (confused or incoherent) speech
- Unusual behavior or postures
- Catatonic behavior
- Inappropriate or lack of mood
- Muscle immobility or stupor
- Excessive, pointless muscle activity; repetition of movement or speech
The specific cluster of symptoms any one person has varies depending on the type of schizophrenia.
These schizophrenia symptoms often make working impossible and can lead to periods of joblessness and even homelessness. However, there may be times when the person is in remission (not suffering from schizophrenia symptoms), where life can resume as normal.
The Effects of Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia at Home
Behaviors of schizophrenia can also severely impact home and social life. The tendency to withdraw from others and exhibit inappropriate mood behaviors can make relationships difficult. When hearing voices or being delusional, the person with schizophrenia is likely not able to participate in home and family life and chores. In fact, a family often starts to revolve around the person with schizophrenia because schizophrenia symptoms take so much effort to manage from all involved. (What it's like living with schizophrenia?)
Unfortunately, even if the schizophrenic doesn’t withdraw from others, others may withdraw from her due to the severe symptoms of schizophrenia.
Management of Schizophrenia Symptoms in Everyday Life
It’s important to remember though, those negative outcomes tend to present themselves when the person is not being treated for their schizophrenia symptoms. Once treatment for schizophrenia is undertaken and the schizophrenic and those around them learn how to manage the illness, outcomes are much more positive.
Last Updated: 14 July 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD