Schizophrenia is a chronic mental illness that can cause a range of different psychoses. Diagnosing the disease can be challenging, and paying attention to the age of the patient is one strategy behavioral health specialists use in evaluating symptoms. Although schizophrenia can happen at any age, there are certain points in life that it is more common to see the illness than others.
Typical ages for schizophrenia diagnosis
Schizophrenia occurs in men in women at different ages. For men, symptoms usually appear during the late teens and early 20s. Women tend to develop symptoms later, in their late 20s and early 30s.
Schizophrenia can be diagnosed in patients at any age. However, it is not common for people younger than 12 or older than 40 to learn that they have the disease.
The prodromal period is a time during which the first symptoms of schizophrenia may be apparent. This usually happens during the teen year, but because the symptoms are non-specific, families and behavioral health specialists do not always recognize them. During the prodromal period, teens who are developing schizophrenia may display these symptoms:
- Change in sleep habits/chronic sleep problems
- Change in friend groups
- Dropping grades
These symptoms can often be considered typical teenage behavior. However, if teens have a family history of psychosis or experience episodes of disordered thoughts or paranoia, a behavioral health specialist may be able to make a diagnosis.
Schizophrenia is a chronic disease without a cure, but it can be managed. Getting an early diagnosis is an important part of successfully managing the disease. Treatment that starts after the very first psychotic episode a person experiences can help to prevent future complications.
If you are concerned about your own symptoms or the symptoms of someone you love, the behavioral health department at Southern Hills Hospital & Medical Center is here to help. To get a referral to a specialist, call our hospital in Las Vegas at (702) 916-5023.