Anxiety is more than just "the jitters." It's an entire experience, with mental and physical symptoms that can be so severe that at times you may feel as though you're going crazy, and that your brain isn't working as it should.
With symptoms like auditory hallucinations (hearing things that aren't there), derealization (feeling like you've lost touch with reality), and depersonalization (feeling as though you're on the outside, watching yourself), it's no wonder that so many people fear they're becoming schizophrenic. Rest assured, anxiety is not schizophrenia, and they are in no way related to the same disorder.
Stop "Going Crazy" From Anxiety
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Anxiety Disorders With Schizophrenia-Like Symptoms
All anxiety disorders have the potential to make you feel as though your mind is starting to fail you, and that you're losing touch with reality. If you haven't yet, make sure you take my anxiety test to get a better idea of what these disorders are and what you can do to treat them.
The two anxiety disorders most commonly associated with schizophrenia fears are panic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder. This occurs for several reasons.
Both panic disorder and schizophrenia have:
- Trouble thinking
- Trouble speaking
Both obsessive compulsive disorder and schizophrenia have:
- Unusual, recurring thoughts.
- Unusual, recurring behaviors.
- Intense drive that isn't easy to explain.
But anxiety is not schizophrenia, and there are two very easy ways to tell the difference:
First, those losing touch with reality because of schizophrenia often have no idea they're losing touch with reality. That's because their brain is essentially not functioning correctly, and so it is unable to even process the changes that are taking place.
Second, changes tend to be gradual, and they never go away. Those with schizophrenia may occasionally have a rare moment of clarity, but without medication their minds struggle to regain control of themselves. So not only are they unaware that these changes are happening, they also do not get a break from the symptoms for long enough to wonder what's happening to them.
This isn't a complete list, of course. Only a trained mental healthcare professional can diagnose your mental health. But those with schizophrenia are often unable to notice and verbalize their condition and do not get any breaks in between symptoms. Those with anxiety do.
Why Do Those With Anxiety Fear Schizophrenia?
One of the things many people with anxiety forget is that a fear of going crazy is a symptom of anxiety. It's not a reaction to anxiety (ie, you have anxiety and so you're worried you're going crazy). The fear is actually caused by anxiety itself, because anxiety causes the mind to believe in worst case scenarios.
Anxiety can cause issues with thinking, trouble with reality, lightheadedness, and other symptoms that may cause you to think something is wrong with your brain. But anxiety a completely different condition, and one that has a much better long term outlook.
How to Reduce Anxiety
Schizophrenia is very difficult to treat, and researchers are still trying to discover why it occurs and what is the best way to manage it. On the other hand, anxiety is always treatable. You simply need to find the right method of treatment - one that works well for you, and one that you're willing to commit to.
I've worked with many people that feared they had schizophrenia, and help cure them of their anxiety symptoms. Start with my free 7 minute anxiety test. The test is a great tool for examining your symptoms and discovering how to cure them.
Click here to begin the test.
Author: Micah Abraham, BSc Psychology, last updated Sep 28, 2017.