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Fear of Psychosis/Schizophrenia & Possible Early Warning Signs

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About a year ago I developed severe anxiety and had several panic attacks a day. Over time I developed more and more symptoms such as intrusive thoughts etc. However after quite some time I developed very worrying symptoms that make me think I am developing schiz/psychosis.

I will admit that it is a fear of mine. Most symptoms that I described above no longer happen or happen seldom now. The remaining anxiety I do experience is because of the following symptoms:

Often at night before going to bed I have sounds running through my head, voices of people saying random things or sounds etc. This only ever really happens at night time that I have this. It is not something that happens during the day and it is not every night. When it does happen it often sounds like the voices of people I have dealt with throughout the day replaying in my head.

During the day I sometimes have what I would describe as racing thoughts where I have for a brief moment or so what I think to be a million thoughts/sounds running through my head. It may sound like someone saying something but I can never work out what because it seems to come and go very quickly. However when I am not on my own or out and about during the day this does not happen, usually only if I am doing something mundane.

The last issue that makes me fear is that often before going to bed I often can not seem to control my thinking, I may be thinking about one thing and then as I seem to drift of it as if my mind takes a tangent and I won’t understand how my brain made the connection or how that thought fits in, it may happen in the day,not as severe. Again not if actively engaged.

My family and everyone else that knows me do not seem to be concerned. I was evaluated last week – GAD & OCD. The symptoms I described do not occur all the time and do not happen when I am with others or out and about. Usually only at the times described. They are still a big concern – could GAD & OCD cause this? I am not OCD or irrational in everyday things only in my thinking about this bec of the fear it causes.

Fear of Psychosis/Schizophrenia & Possible Early Warning Signs

Answered by on -

A.

It’s common for people with anxiety to believe that they are developing schizophrenia. As I’ve said many times in this column, it is one of the most common questions that I receive here at Psych Central. People with anxiety disorders tend to believe that the worst will happen to them. In the minds of many people, schizophrenia is the worst case scenario and thus they worry that they’re going to develop it.

The fact that you were evaluated by mental health professionals and were diagnosed with anxiety disorders would indicate that you do not have schizophrenia or a related disorder. Your fears about schizophrenia are likely a symptom of your anxiety disorders. It was likely something that your evaluators recognized and factored into their evaluation and diagnosis.

It’s also important to remember that their opinion is objective. Your opinion, however, is not. Your views are being filtered through fear. Fear clouds judgment which can lead to incorrect conclusions.

Your evaluators likely recommended treatment. Anxiety disorders are highly responsive to treatment. Cognitive behavioral therapy and medication are effective treatments for anxiety disorders.

In the meantime, it’s important to believe in facts. They will help you stay grounded in reality which will ultimately decrease your anxiety. It is factual to state that you were diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and not a psychotic disorder. That should ease your anxiety. Believing in truth and reality is the best way to ease anxiety. That’s something you will learn in counseling.

Treatment will help you tremendously. I hope you will try it.

Fear of Psychosis/Schizophrenia & Possible Early Warning Signs

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist and Assistant Professor of Social Work and Forensics with extensive experience in the field of mental health. She works in private practice with adults, adolescents and families. Kristina has worked in a large array of settings including community mental health, college counseling and university research centers.

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2018). Fear of Psychosis/Schizophrenia & Possible Early Warning Signs. Psych Central. Retrieved on January 17, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2017/07/22/fear-of-psychosisschizophrenia-possible-early-warning-signs/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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