Throughout recorded history, the disorder we now know as schizophrenia has been a source of bewilderment. Those suffering from the illness once were thought to be possessed by demons and were feared, tormented, exiled or locked up forever.

One of the most obvious kinds of impairment caused by schizophrenia involves how a person thinks. The individual can lose much of the ability to rationally evaluate his or her surroundings and interactions with others. They often believe things that are untrue, and may have difficulty accepting what they see as “true” reality.

Schizophrenia most often includes hallucinations and/or delusions, which reflect distortions in the perception and interpretation of reality. The resulting behaviours may seem bizarre to the casual observer, even though they may be consistent with the schizophrenic’s abnormal perceptions and beliefs.

Warning Signs:

  • Social isolation and withdrawal
  • Irrational, bizarre or odd statements or beliefs
  • Increased paranoia or questioning others’ motivations
  • Becoming more emotionless
  • Hostility or suspiciousness
  • Increasing reliance on drugs or alcohol (in an attempt to self-medicate)
  • Lack of motivation
  • Speaking in a strange manner unlike themselves
  • Inappropriate laughter
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Deterioration in their personal appearance and hygiene