A female asked:
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what are signs of schizophrenia? my boyfriend initially told me he "heard voices" about a year ago. i never took him seriously because the way he said it made it seem as if he was not really having a problem. he has very unpredictable mood changes, underg

2 doctor answers
Dr. Heidi Fowler
24 years experience Psychiatry
There : There are three types of symptoms with schizophrenia: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms. When a person has positive symptoms they have lost touch with reality. They may experience hallucinations. There are different types of hallucinations. A person may hear voices or sounds coming from inside or outside their head, when there is no objective noise. They may see things that aren’t there, smell things even if there is not an aroma or they may have unusual sensations in their body without a physical cause. Another positive symptom is a delusion. A delusion is a belief that a person has that is not based on reality. For instance if someone has paranoid delusions, they might fear that other people want to harm them even if there is no evidence of this. An individual might think that they have special powers. If the person has a thought disorder it is hard for them to organize their thoughts. The person may speak in a bizarre way that is confusing or unintelligible to others. Negative symptoms can include getting little pleasure out of life; failing to take care of every day functions such as showering, changing clothes or brushing teeth; losing motivation; inability to carry out plans and lessening interactions with others. A person with negative symptoms may have very little facial expression and they might have a monotone voice. They may seem emotionless. Cognitive symptoms might not be as obvious as positive symptoms. They could include problems focusing, memory problems or difficulty understanding what is going on. Illicit drug use can cause symptoms that mimic some of the features of schizophrenia. Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can also share features. People with bipolar disorder can have marked issues with their mood. Anyone presenting with the symptoms discussed above needs a thorough evaluation by a psychiatrist which includes a medical evaluation for possible physical causes of symptoms. These are definately signs of a serious problem. Making comments about "ending it" are of particular concern. If your boyfriend threatens to kill himself, 911 should be contacted.
Answered on Oct 3, 2016
Dr. James Pryor
35 years experience Psychiatry
Questions to ask: My first concern is drug use. If he is reliable that he is not using, then you have to wonder about a psychotic mood disorder. How quickly do his emotions change. Does he not need sleep. Is he doing illegal or at least questionable activities. Or, is he avoidant, paranoid of others. This would help in deciding a treatment plan.
Answered on Sep 15, 2014
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