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Fear of Being Schizophrenic

by Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

First of all I want to apologize if my English is bad. I developed extensive fear of having/being on the onset of schizophrenia (and psychosis in general) after I read medical articles on the internet about symptoms of schizophrenia. I noticed that I sometimes hear “voices” in my head, more precisely in my mind, usually when I’m lying in the bed and waiting to fall asleep. Now I know of hypnagogic states and hallucinations and visions in half-sleep state, but my “voices” (which I do not actually hear, as if someone talk to me, but like inner speech in my mind) and closed-eye visualizations of vivid images sometimes occur when I’m aware that I’m still awake, sometimes even during the day, usually but not exclusively when I’m tired. I can describe my “voices” as thoughts of random (often nonsensical) short sentences or words that are usually non-related to the topic I think of at that moment. They come unexpectedly, I feel like I’m not choosing what is going to be “said”, but I know they are just thoughts and that they are produced by certain processes in my brain, even if I don’t understand how and why, and is having this condition sign of loss of mental health. I don’t believe that someone is controlling my mind, or that someone is putting those thoughts in my mind, or that I’m reading other people’s minds etc. I do not talk to these voices because I do not consider them to be entities which you can talk to. One of other problems I consider potential symptom of psychosis is that I often have very random and nonsensical inner speech, which I stop as soon I realize I’m having it. I am also occasionally paranoid, more precisely I get very anxious if there is any possibilities for something bad to happen to me, and I just can’t put those catastrophic thoughts out of my head, even being aware that they have low chances of happening. I have lot of irrational thoughts which I recognize as irrational. I was diagnosed OCD several years ago after I was being frightened for a months of possibility that I am bisexual (I could not explain to myself whether certain emotions I feel toward men were homosexual impulses or not, or whether I like these feelings and impulses or not). Now other therapist agrees that I have OCD but says that I also have borderline personality disorder. I occasionally doubt in my diagnosis and seek reassurance. I also sometimes doubt that maybe I did not exposed my problem to therapist on appropriate way, or that my therapist do not want to tell me my accurate diagnosis because I could be frightened of the fact I’m having/developing psychosis. The problem and anxiety is bigger if I more often think about “developing schizophrenia” ad vice-versa. I can feel ok for long periods of time, but suddenly one of those “voices” just appear in my head and I get really upset and I get anxious for days.

I know that there are lot of differences in between “my case” and typical schizophrenic/psychotic case, and I’m aware of my history of (predominantly obsessive) OCD, but I just can’t help myself to overcome this problem and live without these unusual worries. My therapist has prescribed me Rissar – 2mg; Rivotril – 2mg; and Cipralex – 10mg for dialy use .Thanks in advance.

You have been thoroughly evaluated by mental health professionals who believe that your symptoms are characteristic of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Though I do not have all of the details of your case, it seems that their diagnosis of OCD, rather than schizophrenia, is accurate.

Individuals with certain types of OCD are overly concerned with the possibility that they have a serious health or mental health disorder. Individuals with that type of OCD often focus on what they consider to be the “worst” health or mental health disorders. Schizophrenia would fall into that category.

If you have not done so already, I would recommend speaking to your therapist about your fear of developing schizophrenia. In all likelihood, it’s a symptom of OCD. It is important that your therapist knows about how strongly you fear developing schizophrenia.

OCD tricks the mind into believing things that are not true. In that way, it can be an insidious disorder because it significantly disrupts one’s ability to see reality clearly. Thankfully you are participating in treatment. I wish you well. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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