Under 30

  • Some information on the onset of Schizophrenia
  • Something’s not quite right
  • Here are some early indicative signs of Schizophrenia
  • So What? Why intervene early?
  • Complications
  • What can I do if I think someone is exhibiting the early signs?
  • Help I’m in a crisis situation!
  • ON FIRE Our Program for young Carers.
  • How to Host Your Own Youth Forum
  • Youth Links

Some information on the onset of Schizophrenia

The age of onset for Schizophrenia is usually between 15 to 34 years but the majority of people will be identified as having the illness between the ages of 17 and 20. When people think of Schizophrenia, often the symptoms that come to mind are paranoia, hallucinations, delusions. In fact, the majority of people who suffer, or will suffer, from Schizophrenia usually exhibit early indicative signs of the illness preceding these symptoms.

Something’s not quite right

The ‘something’s not quite right’ phase often precedes Psychosis. Many illnesses have early warning signs before they become full blown, like chest pains before a heart attack. Similarly, schizophrenia also has early warning signs. Often these signs are telltale - deviations from normal thinking, feeling or behavior. This is often known as the ‘something’s not quite right’ phase because family and friends usually notice something different but are unable to pinpoint the problem. For the majority of people this stage could last for up to 2 years.

Here are some early indicative signs of Schizophrenia:

  • Suspiciousness
  • Tension
  • Excessive risk-taking behaviour
  • Palpitations
  • Irritability
  • Memory or concentration difficulties
  • Depressed mood
  • Headaches
  • Mood Swings
  • Decline in functioning
  • Rapid or persistent behavioural change
  •  Intrusive or worrying thoughts
  • Anxiety
  • Appetite changes
  • Deterioration of work and study
  • Loss of energy or motivation
  • Anger
  • Emerging unusual beliefs
  • Withdrawal and loss of interest in socializing
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Hazardous substance abuse
  • Sleep Disturbance

So What?  Why intervene early?

Early intervention is the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness at the ‘something’s not quite right stage’.

Imagine someone who has gone through two years of social withdrawal and disorganised thoughts. This could result in a loss of friends or relationships, disruptions to work or school. Not only would this interrupt development but it can also cause incalculable distress on the individual, their family and friends.

It has been shown that early intervention can result in a more rapid and complete recovery as well as a decreased risk and severity of relapse. This would naturally reduce the impact this illness would have. How can we not intervene early?


Before running off and thinking everyone you know seems to be exhibiting early signs of schizophrenia, keep in mind that these very same signs can also be a natural part of growing up and life events. If you remember, the average age of onset coincides with puberty, transition to the work force, starting a family. It is important to take these other factors into consideration.

What can I do if I think someone is exhibiting the early signs?

  • If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, or simply want more information, you can contact:
  • Your local GP.
  • Your local Community Health Centre which should have a mental health specialist (you can get their number by calling the Schizophrenia Fellowship)
  • The Schizophrenia Fellowship of NSW Inc. on (02) 9879 2600.

Help I’m in a crisis situation!

Please make note of the following numbers to call:
Kids Help Line (24 hour) 1800 55 1800
Life Line (24 hour) 13 1114