Schizophrenia or Depression?
Hi. I’m 15, and I think I have schizophrenia. I show way too many signs for schizophrenia (or a similar mental illness) not to be a concern. I commonly think things that don’t want to think. I have a terrible short-term memory and commonly forget to do my schoolwork and other important things (chores, obligations, etc.). I randomly get angry at my parents over the dumbest, smallest things then forget what it was about later. I have really bad sleep problems. I used to be an optimistic extrovert who had a lot of friends, but now I’m a cynical, pessimistic, introvert who only likes to be around certain people. I’m a really smart person, but I failed last school year because of my memory and lack of motivation to do anything. Finally, I just sit around in my mess of a room and do nothing to even show some enthusiasm towards anything. My (divorced) parents don’t think there’s anything wrong with me, but I do. They refuse to get me in to see someone, but I have to know what’s wrong. Please help.
A. You are primarily concerned about the possibility that you have schizophrenia. While it is impossible to provide a diagnosis over the Internet, depression may be a more accurate representation of what you are experiencing. I cannot rule out the diagnosis of schizophrenia via the Internet but your symptoms seem more in line with depression than they do with schizophrenia.
I believe that your symptoms are legitimately concerning. You are experiencing problems and want help. Your parents should have you evaluated by a mental health professional. Even if your parents are correct about their belief that you have ADHD, it’s clear that you still need help working through these problems. That is why it is important that you undergo an evaluation and subsequently enter treatment.
I would recommend the following: inform your parents that you wrote to us at Psych Central. Tell them why you felt compelled to write to us which, as I understand it, is because you are experiencing troublesome mental health symptoms, you’re not certain how to address them and you want help. Next, ask them directly to have you evaluated by a mental health professional. If they continue to refuse, then go to the school guidance counselor, or a trusted faculty member, and report your symptoms. Perhaps they could convince your parents to have you evaluated by a mental health professional.
I want to commend you on your insightful observations about your own mental health and your open-mindedness. Many people experience mental health problems but for a variety of reasons, deny that problems exist or refuse to seek help. You are proactively attempting to seek help. At this point, your biggest challenge will be to convince your parents that you need help. You have to be your biggest advocate. I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog
Randle, K. (2013). Schizophrenia or Depression?. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 31, 2015, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2013/09/13/schizophrenia-or-depression/