Signs and Symptoms

Recognizing the Prodromal Symptoms of Psychotic Disorders

While each person’s prodrome is unique, there are some common themes to look out for.

Early signs and symptoms can include any of the following:

Unusual Thinking

  • Confusion about what is real and what is imaginary

  • Suspiciousness or paranoid thinking

  • Feeling that your ideas are or behaviors are being controlled by outside forces

  • Unrealistic ideas of special identity or abilities

  • Preoccupation with the supernatural

Perceptual Disturbances

  • Sensitivity to sounds, easily distracted by background noises

  • Hearing things that other people don’t hear

  • Seeing things that others don’t see

  • Smelling, tasting, or feeling unusual sensations that other people don’t experience

Negative Symptoms

  • Wanting to spend more time alone

  • Not feeling motivated to do things

  • Trouble understanding conversations or written materials

  • Difficulty identifying and expressing emotions

Disorganized Symptoms

  • Trouble with attention

  • Neglect of personal hygiene

  • Odd appearance or behavior

  • Laughing at odd or inappropriate times

  • Problems with communication: vague, confused, muddled, racing or slow speech, difficulty staying on track or getting to the point