Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness, characterised by a loss in the connection between thoughts, feelings and behaviours – often leading someone to lose touch with reality.

Hallucinations and delusions are the most commonly associated symptoms of Schizophrenia.

But aside from the obvious symptoms, are there early warning signs for the condition? In this article we take a look.

Schizophrenia has a profound effect on the mind


It is important to treat any Schizophrenic Spectrum condition at an early stage. They are severe conditions to live with.

Schizophrenia can be defined as:

Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a severe and long-term mental health condition characterised by a range of symptoms, normally revolving around a difficulty in understanding reality, due to changes in the way someone thinks, feels and acts. The condition usually involves a breakdown in the connection between thoughts, emotions and behaviour – leading to psychotic symptoms. While the exact symptoms range from case to case, generally delusions, hallucinations, disorganised speech, catatonia, poor concentration and a lack of interest may be displayed. With the right treatment, support and lifestyle, it is possible for symptoms to be controlled more.

It is possible for symptoms to develop slowly over a number of years. It isn’t always noticeable to begin with.

Sometimes, someone may have Schizophrenia for years before they experience a psychotic event – which is often when the person who has Schizophrenia realises the illness is present.

But it should be noted too that sometimes symptoms can appear abruptly. Circumstances can be different for everyone.

Possible early warning signs

While any worrying sign of potential mental illness should be noted, there are some symptoms that are potentially associated with Schizophrenia.

Here are some of the possible early warning signs of Schizophrenia:

  • Poor personal hygiene and little care for appearance
  • Personality changes
  • Paranoid beliefs
  • Strange rituals
  • Insomnia
  • ‘Bizarre’ behaviour
  • Blunted affect
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor academic performance
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • Strange obsessions e.g. the Occult
  • Deterioration in effort in life, overwhelming feeling of indifference

But, just because someone exhibits some of these signs, it doesn’t automatically mean that they will develop the condition.

The symptoms are similar to those seen in other, typically less severe mental health conditions – like Anxiety or Depression. Yet keeping an eye on symptoms is important, because any mental illness is debilitating.

Therefore, it is very important to look out for any symptom of mental illness.

While in many cases, low mood or anxiety may disappear on its own in a short amount of time, it has the potential to be the start of something more serious.


As discussed, whenever a person has signs of mental illness, it is important to seek help. While it might be nothing, it should always be followed up.

This is even more pronounced in cases involving signs of psychosis, with research showing that early intervention is crucial for the best chance of recovery [1].

See Also


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If you are struggling with your mental health, help is available. With the right support and treatment, you can make a recovery. For information on helplines, or if you are in a state of crisis, please visit our crisis page by clicking on the relevant link for your geographical location (United Kingdom), (United States), (International). You can also see how to get mental health treatment and the process involved by clicking this link.


[1] McGorry, P. D., Killackey, E., & Yung, A. (2008). Early intervention in psychosis: concepts, evidence and future directions. World Psychiatry. 7 (3): p148-156. DOI: