We have seen through other articles that I have published on this site that, all else being equal, those who experienced a chronically stressful and traumatic childhood are more likely to develop a psychotic condition during their adulthood than are their more fortunate contemporaries who experienced relatively stable childhoods.
However, usually a person does not suddenly become psychotic. Instead, the onset of psychosis is often a gradual process and sometimes individuals may start to show possible signs of incipient psychosis in their teens.
So what are the early warning signs? I provide a list based on the most current research in this area below. However, it is important to realize these symptoms are NOT specific to psychosis, they may also be due to numerous other conditions or set of personal psychosis. Anyone worried they or someone else may be psychotic or may be developing psychosis should seek an expert opinion and NOT attempt an amateur diagnosis based on the symptoms that follow.
Possible Early Signs That A Person May Be Becoming Psychotic:
These signs may be split into six categories as follows:
1) Cognitive symptoms
2) Neurotic symptoms
3) Changes in mood
4) Changes in volition
5) Behavioral symptoms
6) Physical symptoms
Let’s look at each of these six categories below:
– problems with concentration/attention/mental focus
– frequent daydreaming/ retreating into fantasy worlds
– thought blocking (a sudden lapse into silence during conversation due to the mind ‘going blank’. This most frequently occurs when the individual is asked about something that is, consciously or unconsciously, psychologically disturbing to him/her. It is a psychological defense mechanism and form of repression.)
– reduced ability to think in abstract terms
Changes in Mood:
– suicidal ideation
– mood swings
– anhedonia (an inability to derive pleasure from people, events or circumstances – a feeling of emptiness, flatness and numbness)
Change in Volition:
– loss of drive
– loss of interest in events, activities and people that used to interest one
– feelings of apathy and fatigue and a general lack of energy
– social withdrawal
– drop in standard of school/college work
– increase in impulsivity
– increasingly odd/strange behaviour
– weight loss
– poor appetite
– sleep problems
For more information on psychosis, including treatment options, I provide the following very informative and helpful link:
David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).
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