Schizophrenia is a severe mental health disorder that impacts the way an individual thinks, feels or behaves. Usually affecting individuals in the age group of 16 and 30 years, schizophrenia can, sometimes, affect children too. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 1.1 percent of U.S. adults have a 12-month prevalence of schizophrenia.
The symptoms of schizophrenia can be categorized into three major types that include, positive (hallucination and delusions), negative (reduced feelings of pleasure and difficulty in sustaining activities) and cognitive (trouble concentrating and reduced ability to use information or executive functioning).
However, a recent research published online in JAMA Psychiatry shares the hidden early signs that might indicate the development of schizophrenia in an individual. It is expected that the results would help scientists recognize the symptoms of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or other non-affective psychotic illnesses early and perhaps even treat these before they manifest themselves.
Detailed map linking personality traits to mental health outcomes
Led by Joseph F. Hayes, Ph.D., and psychiatrist at the University College London, the study examined the data of 1,017,691 army recruits aged 18 or 19 years, procured from the Swedish public domain’s health and personality records. The period for which the data was considered ranged from January 1974 to December 1997. Apart from studying this, the researchers looked at future records of hospitalizations for mental illness and could successfully create a detailed map that linked personality traits to mental health outcomes.
The researchers could discover an important connection between teenage personality traits such as low social maturity, mental energy and emotional stability, and mental illnesses like schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder (BD), and non-affective psychotic illnesses.
Though seemingly vague and broad, these three personality traits were defined in the following manner by the researchers:
- Mental energy: The individual’s ability to focus on things and react swiftly to the events that occur around him/her.
- Social maturity: The individual’s ability to adapt his/her behavior to match the standards set by people around him/her.
- Emotional stability: The individual’s ability to cope with emotions in a healthy way and in proportion to the incidents that ignite them.
Though these findings held true for schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder and non-affective psychotic illnesses, the association between BD and personality traits was found to be slightly complex as both low as well as high level of social maturity could trigger this mental health condition.
Although the findings of the study have been applauded, experts have also pointed out certain caveats. First, it should be noted that it is not necessary that all teenagers who show such symptoms will develop schizophrenia, but those who in time do, would belong to this pool.
Secondly, though personality tests are developed by experts, their biases sometimes creep in unknowingly. Therefore, a medical expert should be careful while using such tests.
Seek treatment for schizophrenia
Several genetic, biological and environmental factors can trigger the development of schizophrenia. However, one can seek help for this mental illness in the form of antipsychotic medications, psychosocial treatments as well as coordinated specialty care.
Support from loved ones can also be of great help to someone dealing with schizophrenia. Helping them get the right treatment, supporting them in their worst times, acknowledging that they have a right to view things in their own way as well as being supportive and kind can serve as a great help.
If you or someone you know is struggling with schizophrenia and is looking for schizophrenia treatment centers in Los Angeles, Sovereign Health can help. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online with one of our mental health experts who can assist you with information on the best schizophrenia treatments in Los Angeles and other states of the U.S.