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Avatar universal

Afraid of Schizophrenia

I am 41 years old and have anxiety since I was 25.  I was seeing a therapist before but have not in the last 15 years.  I was functional and got PhD in math. I injured my foot two weeks ago and was off from work.  I started to read the life of John Nash while i was home recovering.  Nash had schizophrenia for 30 years but has since recovered.  He won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1994 for this work on game theory.  On last Tuesday I was lecturing and I thought my mind repeat what I said for few times after I said it(at least it seems that way).  I immediately got paranoid about voices in the head as it is a symptom of schizophrenia in Nash.  For the remaining of the day I was fine and I was okay the next two days because I was not focus on it.  Suddenly on Friday I was really worried that I have voices in my head and start looking at the symptoms on the net.  It seems that I have the repetition on on mind after I said said something(if I focus on it).  It seems that if I don't think about it I don't have it and I don't have it if I don't talk.  Now I am obsess about schizophrenia.  I talked to my family(several PhDs and pharmacist) as well as one of my medical doctor friend, and they all think I was having anxiety issues.  The life time risk 1 in a 100 and usually the onset is between 16 to 25 for male.  The CDC states that 9 out of 10 cases occurs before 30 years old.  There is some studies that look at the onset time distribution of 100 male and female with schizophrenia and their conclusions are similar to the CDC.  The studies further concluded that 98% of the male have psychosis before the 35 years old.  I will going to see a therapist this week.  It seems unlikely that onset start at 41 but I am so paranoid about it and focus on it.  
19 Responses
Avatar universal
This looks like the crux of the problem as well as the solution. "I talked to my family(several PhDs and pharmacist) as well as one of my medical doctor friend, and they all think I was having anxiety issues"

They know you don't have it, so you need to find some way to accept that, and because there is no magic meter to test you, accept that agonizing over it and studying it to death will get you nothing - except unhappiness so ask yourself why ruin your life doing that?.
Avatar universal
Thank you for the comment.  The probability of having schizophrenia at 41 is pretty low given a 1% lifetime risk with over 90% onset before 30 years old.   I am going to have to convince myself that I don't have it.  I am feeling a bit better after talking it over with my family members and friends.  I will have to get my anxiety under control with professional help ASAP.  Again thanks!!!
Avatar universal
Probabilities are useless when it comes to individuals, just as it can't predict the next coin toss.  Here's the true test:  if you study Nash, you'll see that he didn't know he had the illness.  When you're truly psychotic you generally don't know it, you think the world you're living in is the real one.  You know it's not.  So I wouldn't worry about that problem, I'd just deal with the anxiety.  Peace.
Avatar universal
Well if the probability is zero then I wouldn't have worry about it but it is not and that is my problem.  I always worry about rare events.  In medicine nothing is 100%.  To be honest I think the chance is pretty low, conservatively estimated to be 1 in 500 or perhaps 1 in 1000.  It is true Nash didn't know he was sick but I read some do.  I hardly can sleep, I keep thinking that I will hallucinate but I don't really know hallucination is.  Anyways thanks for your comment.  Hopeful I feel better soon.  
480448 tn?1426952138
The fear of "going crazy" is a common one in anxiety sufferers.  This has basically become an intrusive thought for you, which is why you need to address the anxiety.  What kinds of treatments are/have you tried for the anxiety?  Learning to change the way you think and react to triggers and thoughts is truly the key to managing anxiety.  It's certainly not easy, but with some help, a LOT of work and patience, you can get to the point where you would easily dismiss an intrusive thought for what it is...irrelevant, and something for your mind to worry about.  For us anxious folks, if it's not one topic, it's usually another.  If it wasn't this, you'd be anxious about something else.  It's not the context or the topic that's at ALL relevant, it's the anxious cycle of thinking/worrying/what iffing that is.

Keep in touch, let us know how you're doing!
Avatar universal
Thank you its always something lately.  I will see a therapist asap.
Avatar universal
These last two days seem to be better.  When I was lecturing in class these two days and I am not focusing on hearing myself it seems that I don't hear myself or repeat in my mind. Also during office hours when I help my students with their work I also  don't seem to hear myself or repeat in my mind.  But when I go home and then sometimes I hear myself or repeat in my mind as if I am checking on if I hear voices.  Sometimes when I laid down and I kept thinking if I am going to hallucinate.  I am having appointment with my regular doctor this Friday and hopefully I can see a therapist by next Friday.  Thank you so much for your comments.  
480448 tn?1426952138
For us anxious folks, idle time is our worst enemy.  What you describe is pretty normal, being more anxious, with heightened awareness of your surrounding and any sensations you're having when you're not as busy and distracted.  Truly, one of the best things we can do to combat our anxiety is to keep ourselves as distracted as possible....even if it's with mundane tasks such as cleaning out a junk drawer.  

Did you make a therapy appointment yet?  If not, I would recommend doing that ASAP, as usually it takes some time to get into see the therapist for the first time.

Keep us posted!
Avatar universal
Thank you so much.  No not yet, I am going to see my GP Friday and he probably refer me to the therapist. Hopefully soon but it can take a couple weeks.  Hopefully my GP can give me some Xanax to calm me down.  I was taking Xanax if I get anxious before.  I took one of the  schizophrenia test on a website and  the result is that I don't have it.  Anyways thank you and have a great day!!!
Avatar universal
" I took one of the  schizophrenia test on a website and  the result is that I don't have it."
Do you believe that test result? If so, can't your anxiety go away.
Avatar universal
I somewhat believe the test.  I felt a little better. I don't really hear myself talk anymore, maybe because the anxiety is a little better.  But last night when I was trying to sleep(but not asleep yet), I heard a sound and thought I see a image in my head.  It got me worried again because I thought I was hearing voices/seeing thing.  I don't have this in the day time.  It just happened once. I am often checking if I am hearing voices or see images throughout the day.  It seems I am looking for symptoms of schizophrenia.  Now I am concern what if I am having EARLY symptoms of the disease!!!

I finally went to my regular doctor yesterday afternoon.  I told him about my concern about schizophrenia.  He look at me with a puzzled are you serious look.  He basically said that he doesn't think i have it because I wouldn't not be able to teach mathematics and heard voices/delusion thoughts and usually start in my twenties. He said I seem fine.  He told me to stop worrying about it.    He did suggest I stop the caffeine and see a therapist for my anxiety.  Still concern about early schizophrenia!!!
Avatar universal
You know there are many diseases that there is a much greater chance of getting on a bus that are fatal? Maybe ask yourself why you are spending so much time focusing on schiz when there are higher mathematical % out there to ponder. Not that you should start worrying about dying of pneumonia from a cold or any of those other diseases.

I don't know much about schiz but here is something I looked up on a schiz site "Symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions usually start between ages 16 and 30. Men tend to experience symptoms earlier than women. Most of the time, people do not get schizophrenia after age 45."
Since you think you are getting it now at 41, and your last sentence says "fear about early schiz" when reality is if you get it now you would be having late schiz instead - this indicates you are definitely chasing a low probability occurrence with your anx mind pretending it had different odds.

btw, a mental health worker said my undiagnosed but mentally ill brother likely didn't have it because by the time schiz are 50  they have a complete mental health breakdown. fwiw, this is just something to think about because that doesn't seem to fit into what you fear since you are already 41 and didn't even have it before (not to mention doc says you don't have it now).

Otherwise get therapy because with your mathematical mind it might be easy for someone to get you to focus that schiz is low probability. There is a limited amount of help you can get from this forum, and you are still self-diagnosing so it is looking like you need to get some one on one instead.

Avatar universal
Thanks for your comments.  Perhaps I was not clear about "early symptoms", I am not saying starting having symptoms at 41 years old is early. I know that over 90% of males would have symptoms by 30 from research literature.  I am concern that I am one of the late onset people and just starting having symptoms(hence early symptoms) at 41. I know that the life time risk of many types cancers are far greater than 1% but somehow I am focus on schizo.  It all started when I was reading Nash's biography.  Yes I will see a therapist soon hopefully within  a week.  
Avatar universal
In the meantime read a biography of someone who doesn't have it to see if that gives you a new focus. I sometimes find myself living and thinking how a movie or a book's character was for a week or so afterward.
Avatar universal
Thanks I will try to focus on positive things.  
Avatar universal
I was feeling better lately and I don't hear sound after I talk anymore.  The more I read about schizophrenia the more I get scared. I  recently read that schizo have negative thoughts about themselves.  Last night when I was in bed I have thoughts that said " I am stupid" for few seconds. Like from the my inner voice/thought.  In the day time when I am busy doing things I am fine.  I am so worried that I have schizophrenia.  Are these negative thoughts associated with schizophrenia?  I know the chance getting schizo at 41 years old is around 1 in 2000 which is very low.  It seems that I am keep looking for and creating symptoms of schizophrenia.  Any comment is highly appreciated!!! I still have not see a therapist yet but I did see my regular doctor and he think I have anxiety and not schizophrenia.  Thank you!
Avatar universal
Please let me know what you think! Thanks.
Avatar universal
Everybody has negative thoughts.  Depressed people by definition are obsessed by negative thoughts.  Schizophrenics live in a delusional world when it acts up.  We've all told you that you don't come close to fitting the diagnosis of schizophrenia, but you keep going on about it.  Get off the internet about this, see a therapist, and learn to control your thinking and find out what's really going on or you're just going to continue to go round and round with this and that's no fun at all.
Avatar universal
This is all I can think about.  From the time when I get up to when I go to sleep since I am on break from teaching probability over Thanksgiving.  Its horrible and I keep Google schizo OCD.  I am experiencing many of the symptoms people talked about online about Schizo OCD.  I am constantly checking if I hear voices/seeing things and negative thoughts about myself.  Also I am checking if I believe I have supernatural power. :(

The only reassurance is when I look at the probability (1/2000, similar to tossing 11 quarters and getting all heads) of having schizo at my age 41.

I don't think my cognitive ability has decreased because I just solved a brain teaser math problem a former student sent me today in a few minutes.  
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