Prodromal schizophrenia is the early stages of schizophrenia and isn’t always recognisable. Schizophrenia is usually very difficult to detect in its early stages before the hallucinating or exhibiting of odd behaviour. It can be extremely stressful for someone to find out they have schizophrenia and even just as difficult for a loved one, especially when the diagnosis comes out of the blue.
Prodromal schizophrenia usually occurs one to two years before the onset of psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and paranoid delusions. There aren’t any specific symptoms people usually have during this stage but anxiety, difficulty making decisions, social isolation, attention and concentration problems are what people usually report to have started with.
There has been three types of groups in prodromal schizophrenia:
- Attenuated positive symptom syndrome (APS)
APS features problems with perception, communication and unusual thoughts that aren’t quite at the stage of schizophrenia. The symptoms usually have to occur week by week for a minimum of 6 weeks and get progressively worse over the course of 12 months to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
- Brief intermittent psychotic syndrome (BIPS)
In addition to APS, people with BIPS also experience regular but not consistent psychotic thoughts. If experiencing hallucinations or bizarre beliefs for a few minutes a day for at least 6 weeks, and for no more than 12 weeks.
- Genetic risk plus functional deterioration’ group (G/D)
People with G/D are not currently psychotic but have a sibling, child or parent that has been diagnosed with a psychotic disorder or have in the past themselves been diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder. People who in the past year they have had substantial declines in work, school, relationships, or general functionality in daily life are considered to be part of this sub group.
Many people consult a doctor during any of these prodromal stages. The only problem doctors find is that these symptoms are often found in other psychiatric and medical conditions. If you or someone you know are suffering from unusual behaviour, absences from work and school, Social withdrawal or frequent reprimands then these are significant symptoms of the start of schizophrenia. If you have noticed any of these symptoms then I would recommend consulting a doctor about them, even more so if you have a family member with schizophrenia or any another major psychiatric disorder.
Schizophrenia have many early warning signs which include:
- Extreme reaction to criticism
- Social withdrawal
- Deterioration of personal hygiene
- Forgetful; unable to concentrate
- Oversleeping or insomnia
- Flat, expressionless gaze
- Inability to cry or express joy
- Inappropriate laughter or crying
- Odd or irrational statements
- Hostility or suspiciousness
- Strange use of words or way of speaking