What Are the First Signs of Schizophrenia?

schizophrenia warning signs

Schizophrenia is a complex and often misunderstood mental health condition that affects a person’s thoughts, feelings and perception of reality. It typically manifests in late adolescence or early adulthood. While its exact cause remains unknown, researchers believe a combination of genetics, brain chemistry and environmental factors can influence its development.

Notably, several prominent studies have highlighted a potential connection between marijuana use and the onset of schizophrenia symptoms like delusions and hallucinations. Let’s explore some of the earliest red flags of schizophrenia and things that can trigger it.

Early Warning Signs of Schizophrenia

The early signs of schizophrenia can be subtle and often mistaken for typical adolescent behavior or other mental health issues. Awareness can lead to sooner diagnosis and treatment, which can significantly improve outcomes.

  • Social withdrawal: Preferring to spend time alone, avoiding friends and family, and losing interest in hobbies.
  • Difficulty concentrating: Noticeable declines in academic or work performance due to problems with focusing and maintaining attention.
  • Unusual thoughts: Beliefs that seem odd or unrealistic, such as that someone is watching or controlling you.
  • Suspiciousness or paranoia: Feeling excessively suspicious of others’ motives without a reasonable basis.
  • Decline in personal hygiene: A noticeable neglect of self-care or uncharacteristic appearance.
  • Emotional flatness: Speaking in a monotone or appearing indifferent to situations that typically elicit an emotional response.
  • Incoherent speech: Difficulty organizing your thoughts, rambling or connecting unrelated topics.
  • Hallucinations: Hearing, seeing or feeling things that aren’t there.
  • Delusions: Strong beliefs in unrealistic things, often of a paranoid or grandiose nature.

What Is Marijuana Psychosis?

Research suggests marijuana use can increase your risk of developing psychotic disorders like schizophrenia. High-THC strains may trigger the onset of schizophrenia among those predisposed to the disorder, exacerbating existing symptoms or causing young people to develop the condition sooner than they otherwise would have. There is also an increased risk of addiction when people start using marijuana early in life.

The relationship between marijuana and psychosis is complex and involves several factors, including the age at which marijuana use begins, the frequency and amount of use, genetic predisposition and the presence of other psychosis risk factors.

Recognizing the Need for Professional Help

Identifying and acknowledging the early signs of schizophrenia is the first step in getting treatment. Seek a professional evaluation if you experience any psychosis symptoms. Early intervention can allow you to manage your wellness and improve your quality of life.

At PACE Recovery Center, we understand the challenges associated with schizophrenia and other mental health conditions. Our team provides comprehensive care for young men dealing with substance abuse, behavioral health issues and dual diagnoses. Contact us to learn more about our programs and how we can help you heal.