Schizophrenia is a term used to signify a spectrum of disorders that involve a disconnection from reality. Its symptoms include paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. It is a serious but treatable disorder, and patients can live a healthy and fulfilling life. Schizophrenia is also a particular mental health condition that falls under the spectrum mentioned above. According to the World Health Organization, schizophrenia affects approximately 1 in 300 people across the globe. Stages and symptoms of schizophrenia The condition can be broadly divided into three stages. Each of these stages has a different level or intensity of symptoms. Prodrome or onset is when patients have mild symptoms. It can be identified by signs like lack of personal hygiene, anxiety, and social withdrawal. The active stage is when the symptoms are more intense, and the patient has been disconnecting from reality. The following symptoms can be observed during the active phase: Depression Depression is a common health condition that is a cause for concern. Individuals who are depressed and lack trust in others or have misplaced distrust in others can be considered at a greater risk of schizophrenia. Other signs that can be present along with depression include increased pessimism and delusions. Anxiety Anxiety is yet another sign that can be indicative of schizophrenia. It is imperative to keep an eye out for these symptoms in people genetically susceptible to this health condition. Like depression, anxiety, too, can be present along with other signs like misplaced distrust, paranoia, and delusions. Sleep abnormalities Another sign that can indicate schizophrenia in patients is the presence of sleep abnormalities. Patients often experience difficulty falling asleep; once they do, staying asleep is as challenging. Waking up frequently during the night and facing sleep disruption is a problem some schizophrenia patients face regularly. Hypochondria A form of psychosis in itself, hypochondria is one of the symptoms to keep an eye out for. Hypochondria is the insistent and constant worry of developing a health condition. Patients that have schizophrenia are often worried about their health and fear developing any and every health condition that could affect them and their daily life. Their concern for their own life is also why numerous schizophrenia patients feel that their life is threatened by someone. Paranoia Initially, patients can show subtle signs of distrust, suspicion, and paranoia. These signs can be subtle enough that they go unnoticed. Confused thoughts Due to psychosis, schizophrenia patients have difficulty keeping track of conversations or their thoughts. Patients often keep drifting between thoughts and are unable to concentrate. Activities like reading newspapers, watching television, or even conversing with their family becomes difficult. At times, patients might even experience jumbled speech. Hallucinations Hallucinations involve seeing, tasting, smelling, or hearing things that do not actually exist. Patients experiencing them often believe these hallucinations to be true, although others cannot observe the same thing. Brain scans have also shown changes in the speech center of the brain of schizophrenia patients when they hear voices. Therefore, they mistake their thoughts for actual voices around them. Delusions Delusions are common in patients with schizophrenia. These are beliefs that the patients hold with strong conviction believing them to be true. Like hallucinations, delusions might not be based on reality and can affect the patient's behavior. Some of the common delusions schizophrenics have include the belief of being watched or being at harm. In a group setting, they might also believe some people are constantly talking about them or gesturing toward them. Catatonic behavior One of the rare symptoms of schizophrenia, catatonic behavior might strike as an evident symptom. It involves patients adopting strange postures to sit and stand in. It also involves patients sitting in the same position for long periods of time without any movement. Their paranoia adds to this behavioral abnormality and might even cause them to attack someone they fear. Alternatively, they might exhibit periods of intense activity and excitement. At last, is the residual stage, wherein the patient seems to have gotten better. However, more often than not, this is temporary, and the patient returns to the active stage.