One of the most common and serious of all mental illnesses is paranoid schizophrenia. This mind disorder is a type of psychosis, meaning the sufferer interprets reality abnormally. Someone with paranoid schizophrenia often believes others are out to get him. This paranoia may be bolstered by auditory hallucinations in which the patient hears voices that seem real. This mental illness usually develops gradually. It is more frequent in males than in females. There is no known cure. Paranoid schizophrenia is generally treated with anti-psychotic drugs and therapy, to varying degrees of success.
A person suffering from paranoid schizophrenia often hears voices. These voices are generally negative in nature and may speak directly to the person or about her. The patient may talk back to the voices in her head. She may believe the voices belong to a higher power and, if so directed, may act upon orders given. It is generally difficult for the patient to accept these voices are not real.
Delusions are often a sign of schizophrenia. A patient may frequently suffer from delusions that are paranoid in nature such as believing someone is stalking him or putting poison in his food. Other delusions may be grandiose in which the person may believe he is a king or that he can perform magical feats such as flying or levitating.
A schizophrenic may anger easily. Believing others seek to harm her can be a constant source of anger. Resentment of having the disorder can be maddening for the sufferer, as well. Those who become schizophrenic often show irritability or annoyance over trivial issues, which can escalate to fury. Paranoid schizophrenics may seemingly seek out issues about which to argue due to the warring forces going on in their minds.
Violent behavior sometimes occurs with paranoid schizophrenics. Often this violence is interpreted by the schizophrenic as self-defense as he believes others want to do him harm. Other times violent actions stem from commands given to the mentally ill person by the voices in his head. A schizophrenic may become suddenly violent without observed provocation.
A person with schizophrenia is often anxious. She worries about others harming her, the voices that may be mocking her, and having the disorder itself. Anxious behavior can result in pacing, hand wringing or talking aloud when nobody is there. Schizophrenics are often nervous, especially outside of their normal environment.
One of the first symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia is social withdrawal. Even those who were once very active in the community begin to withdraw from public functions, their friends and even their family. Often this is the first sign someone close to the person has that he is becoming mentally ill. Paranoia naturally pulls the individual away from others whom he interprets as being threatening to him.
Schizophrenics often behave in bizarre ways. They are often reported as having a conversation with someone who is not there or making strange statements when speaking with friends and family. They are often negligent of personal hygiene, unable to sleep, lack energy and may lose a significant amount of weight.
Many schizophrenics contemplate suicide due to the difficulty of living with their mental illness or because they believe they have been instructed to do so by auditory hallucinations. Suicidal thoughts and even attempts often arise when a schizophrenic stops taking anti-psychotic medication.