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Home » I Fear That I May Be Becoming Schizophrenic

I Fear That I May Be Becoming Schizophrenic

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I don’t even really know where to start. For the past 7 months I’ve been under extreme mounts of stress followed by a few panic attacks, that have left me so emotionally unstable that I feel that I’m teetering on edges of insanity. I’m in constant fear that I might be experience psychosis. I’ve been having hypnagogic hallucinations right before falling asleep that have left me in so much distress. Sometimes I’ll hear a loud sound or different voices that are loud. I’d like to not that I’ve experienced this for most of my life. But since having these panic attacks and just hours on the internet and reading about mental illness it has left me scared that it maybe something more. I’m extremely scared I might be in the beginning stages of schizophrenia. I’ve become hyperaware, I literally am always making sure that I’m not hearing things or seeing things. I just feel so lost and sad all the time I just want to feel whole again. Sorry if this seems a little jumpy I’m just in tears as I type this. I’ve never been diagnosed with anxiety or any anxiety disorder and I fear it may be more than that anyway. I’ve become so afraid of my mind because if I have a weird thought I am constantly ruminating on it and it drives me up the wall. Couple of days ago I literally typed in the same question about schizophrenia 30 different times. I need help but I’m so afraid that the Doctor may confirm my fears. I just don’t know what to do. Is the hyperawareness of sounds, weird thoughts and hypnagogic hallucinations a sign that I’m becoming schizophrenic? I also have a cousin who is schizophrenic and I have an older father so I know I’m at higher risk. I’m in shambles over this. Anything would help. I don’t really know if any of this even makes but please help.

I Fear That I May Be Becoming Schizophrenic

Answered by on -

A.

It’s impossible to give a diagnosis over the internet. The most common questions that I receive here at Psych Central are from people with anxiety disorders who fear that they may be developing schizophrenia. Anecdotally, it seems to be a very common fear, especially among people with anxiety.

It makes sense that people with severe anxiety would believe that they might have schizophrenia. People with anxiety disorders often fear the worst-case scenario. In their minds, schizophrenia is the worst-case scenario. Among the lay public, it is the most frightening of all mental health disorders.

Panic attacks are frightening. Panic attacks cause an extreme state of heightened distress. As you mentioned, it makes you feel like you’re on the “edges of insanity.” That’s how all people feel when they are experiencing panic attacks. Panic attacks are a sign of an anxiety disorder, not a psychotic disorder. Even though it may feel that way, it is not that way.

The idea that you have yet to consult a mental health professional is likely contributing to this problem. I understand that you’re frightened of treatment but you have nothing to fear. Mental health professionals want to help you. Good, effective treatment is available.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders in the world. Highly effective treatments exist that can help you immediately, relieving your distressing symptoms. When you think about it, it’s nonsensical to suffer with a highly treatable condition. The sooner that you seek treatment, the sooner you will feel better.

Nothing that you have written in your letter would indicate schizophrenia. You mentioned hypnagogic hallucinations before falling asleep. Those are a normal part of falling asleep but we often only remember them when we are having trouble falling asleep. If we have them, then immediately wake up, we remember them. If we have them and then fall asleep, we don’t remember them at all.

If I could interview you, I would want to know why you are experiencing so much stress. What is causing you to feel this way? Stress has a cause. You are obviously worried about something. Did something recently change in your life? What are you worried about? It’s important to know what is causing these problems.

Even if it’s difficult, make it a priority to consult a mental health professional. Once you have the initial meeting, you will likely quickly begin to feel better. You will see that it is not a frightening experience. Treatment can begin as soon as the first session. That means that you will likely leave your first session with less anxiety and a solid treatment plan for the future. You will be on your way to recovery.

One of the best ways to reduce anxiety is to focus on reality. Staying grounded in reality is an important element in reducing panic and fear. Obviously, that is easier said than done which is why it’s important to consult a mental health professional. They will know how to help you. They have received explicit training to help with these types of problems. You should not wait another day. Make an appointment immediately. I wish you the best of luck. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

I Fear That I May Be Becoming Schizophrenic

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. (2019). I Fear That I May Be Becoming Schizophrenic. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 8, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2019/09/15/i-fear-that-i-may-be-becoming-schizophrenic/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 14 Sep 2019 (Originally: 15 Sep 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 14 Sep 2019
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.