Are schizophrenics aware they are schizophrenic?
Many individuals with schizophrenia are unaware of the symptoms and consequences of their illness. Unawareness of schizophrenia is linked to poorer adherence to treatment and is a risk factor for a range of poorer outcomes.
Lack of awareness of illness and symptoms is a prevalent feature of patients with schizophrenia, with up to 80% of sufferers failing to acknowledge that they have a mental illness.
Patients may be more aggressive and violent during acute episodes. Schizophrenic patients have less insight, experience greater thought disorder, and have poorer control of their aggressive impulses. Comorbidity with alcohol or other substances of abuse is frequent and complicates the agitation and the impulsivity.
It is possible to experience hallucinations while being aware that they aren't real. As with delusions, this would require a meta-awareness of the unreality of what appears to be a real experience.
Patients with schizophrenia can sometimes report strange face illusions when staring at themselves in the mirror; such experiences have been conceptualized as anomalous self-experiences that can be experienced with a varying degree of depersonalization.
Schizophrenia usually involves delusions (false beliefs), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that don't exist), unusual physical behavior, and disorganized thinking and speech. It is common for people with schizophrenia to have paranoid thoughts or hear voices.
People who have psychotic episodes are often totally unaware their behaviour is in any way strange or that their delusions or hallucinations are not real. They may recognise delusional or bizarre behaviour in others, but lack the self-awareness to recognise it in themselves.
The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. Research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make a person more likely to develop the condition. Some people may be prone to schizophrenia, and a stressful or emotional life event might trigger a psychotic episode.
It is possible for individuals with schizophrenia to live a normal life, but only with good treatment. Residential care allows for a focus on treatment in a safe place, while also giving patients tools needed to succeed once out of care.
Some people with severe bipolar disorder have delusions or hallucinations. That's why they may be misdiagnosed with schizophrenia.
When does schizophrenia reveal itself?
The typical age of onset for schizophrenia symptoms is in the 20s, though people may develop other symptoms as early as 9 years before diagnosis. A 2020 study found the average age of onset for schizophrenia to be between 13.78 and 29.28 years.
The Voices in My Head
It turns out that people with schizophrenia are actually hearing their own voices in their heads. This is due to a phenomenon called subvocal speech, which most of us experience in a slightly different way.