I do not believe that you have schizophrenia but only an in-person, diagnostic interview could rule out the diagnosis. I suspect, as you mentioned, that your symptoms are more characteristic of a sleep disorder. Individuals with schizophrenia can have hallucinations but they also have delusions which you don’t have. You also do not have any other symptoms associated with schizophrenia. The paranoia is a concern but it is mild and limited to very specific situations.
I think it is also noteworthy that you were able to construct a very logical and well thought out question. This is not true for all individuals with schizophrenia but in some cases their writing is very difficult to read and understand, especially when they are actively symptomatic. Just like language, writing is an expression of consciousness. I had the opportunity to work with individuals with schizophrenia over the Internet as part of a university-based research project. We were testing a new online psychoeducation-based intervention for individuals with schizophrenia and their family members. The participants and I often communicated by writing messages back and forth on a centralized message board. It was interesting to note that when one of the participants began having psychotic symptoms it was usually evident in their writing. I’ve seen other cases of this as well.
My recommendation is that you undergo a sleep study. The best way to do this is to speak to your primary care physician. Ask him or her to refer you to a qualified sleep disorder specialist.
It is also worthwhile to consider having a psychiatric evaluation. I’m primarily recommending this because of your concern about having schizophrenia. A psychiatric evaluation could serve the purpose of ruling out certain psychiatric disorders. It could bring you peace of mind. The psychologist or psychiatrist may also be able to provide you more information about sleep disorders and treatments.
Lastly, you may also want to consider psychotherapy, especially if the idea of having schizophrenia causes you significant anxiety. Psychotherapy can help you deal with that anxiety and any other issues you would like to address.
I hope this answers your question. Here’s a link to a website where you can type in your zip code and find a local sleep center. You can also read more about sleep disorders on that website. Thanks for writing. I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on June 17, 2010.