The beginnings of schizophrenia
Schizophrenia rarely begins before puberty, while when the adult age is achieved, the incidence of schizophrenia rapidly rises. The condition affects both men and women (in 1.4:1 ratio). The majority of cases are diagnosed in older teenagers or in twenty-year-olds, however, the symptoms of schizophrenia may appear in any age.
Although the general incidence is close in both sexes, the average age of schizophrenia diagnosis in men is 15–24 years vs. 25–34 years in women. An early (below 20 years) or very early (below 13 years) onset of disease is associated with its more severe course and worse prognosis than a late onset. The first acute episode of schizophrenia occurs in men usually after the 20th year of life, whereas in women, the first symptoms are diagnosed at approx. the 30th year of life.
The first acute episode of schizophrenia occurs in men usually after the 20th year of life, whereas in women, the first symptoms are diagnosed at approx. the 30th year of life.
A typical age for the first episode is the period between 18 and 25 years of life, in a broader sense – between adolescence and the age of 40.
In case of women, the first episode usually occurs slightly later than in men, which is associated with the neuroprotective (brain protecting) action of female hormones - oestrogen. The first symptoms of schizophrenia, which are later diagnosed as schizophrenia, often occur several months or even years before the first acute symptoms of the illness.
These symptoms are very different – there may be symptoms, found in other mental disorders, such as neurosis and depression. Therefore, there is little point in listing these symptoms, as each of them can occur in any person and at any stage of their life. At this stage, the patient usually denies being ill. For this reason, the person may not want to be treated.
The sooner the treatment is started, the more effective it is. Improvement is achieved during therapy of the first episode of schizophrenia, however, this may take several months. Therefore, psychiatrists may find it difficult to answer the patient's or family's question: "How long will the treatment last until improvement is observed?".
Schizophrenia is rarely diagnosed in children, however, its cases were recorded in five- ans six-year-olds. Child schizophrenia is associated with a severe course and demonstrates higher differences in sex-related incidence - prevailing in boys.