Hello, I am a 27 years old, male, and I have recently battled a anxiety disorder.During that time my worst symptom was Derealization. I overcame this disorder recently with a CBT therapist. But, I am now constantly thinking of this existential things, who we are, what if all is unreal, how we are here , how we evolved and so on….This makes me depressed, and occasionally a bit nervous because I can’t come up with an answer. My question ,and developing fear, is what if this is a prodromal skiz. symptom?

I mention that my anxiety was triggered also when I witnessed a neighbor having a psychosis episode and this got me into some anxiety.

Thank you!

A. It’s very common for people with anxiety to fear that they have other illnesses. People with anxiety issues are particularly worried about developing what they consider to be the “worst” illnesses. Schizophrenia is often the disorder that they fear the most.

It’s important to be cognizant of the fact that you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and not schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a very distinctive disorder. Mental health professionals know the difference between an anxiety disorder and schizophrenia.

In all likelihood, witnessing your neighbor having a psychiatric episode may have increased your anxiety level. I would encourage you to return to your therapist. The therapist helped you once and can likely help you again. Cognitive behavioral therapy is highly effective for most types of anxiety. It forces you to be rational and to focus on reality. It should help to reduce your anxiety. Medication might also be helpful. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle