So I was sleeping on a road trip and I had to wake up to go to the restroom at a gas station we stopped at. I walked in like a zombie and the cashier sheepishly said hello to me. I took it that he was nervous and then my brain started coming up with some scenario that he was being held hostage by someone, told not to call the police and was somewhere in the store. As I was going to the restroom I sort of convinced myself that this was actually happening and I started to get kind of nervous. Later I realized that the only reason the cashier seemed nervous was because I walked in like I had just risen from the dead. Which got me worried again thinking I'm starting to develop some form of schizophrenia. I'm 16 years old and have been diagnosed with OCD in the past. I know this is a better question for a professional but I figured this would give me a quick reassurance for concern or if that was just an ocd sort of thing. I will be talking to a doctor and my parents afterward I just trust stack exchange's opinion for now. Thank you

  • $\begingroup$ I think it is not constructive for this site, when you ask the question like this although you know better. If it stays like this and even gets upvoted people might think they can come here with their mental health problems. But I think you can easily edit the question so that it applies to a broader group of people. Maybe something like "Is it common for OCD-diagnosed people to have hallucinations like in schizophrenia?" or "Are OCD-diagnosed people more likely to develop schizophrenia?" or "Are schizophrenic people aware of their hallucinations?" $\endgroup$ – awakenting Aug 3 '16 at 12:13
  • $\begingroup$ @awakenting I have edited the question title to better reflect the intent of the site's usage. Thank you for your constructive feedback. $\endgroup$ – AJB_1070179 Aug 3 '16 at 18:12

As someone who has had OCD since the age of 12, I can assure that this sounds very much like an OCD symptom. It is likely that you walked into the store "like a zombie", and at the time, did not consider your personal appearance, assuming only that the store owner was acting strange. However, if you had been aware of the way you were acting, you would have likely picked up on this instantly and dismissed it. Unless we are salient to our own features, we are unaware of how others are perceiving us. Your ability to gauge your salience was likely decreased due to just waking up from your nap.

As an OCD sufferer, I've definitely had bouts where I was concerned I was developing schizophrenia, only to realize later that I was hyper-aware of every little "sign" that pointed in that direction. If this is an ongoing worry of yours, confirmation bias will likely amplify the most ambiguous of symptoms related to losing your mind.

Let's get a little further into schizophrenia, however. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual - IV (yes, the old one, though the symptoms have not changed much) states:

Characteristic symptoms:

Two or more of the following, each present for much of the time during a one->month period (or less, if symptoms remitted with treatment).

  1. Delusions

  2. Hallucinations

  3. Disorganized speech, which is a manifestation of formal thought disorder

  4. Grossly disorganized behavior (e.g. dressing inappropriately, crying frequently) or catatonic behavior

Negative symptoms:

  1. Blunted affect (lack or decline in emotional response)
  2. Alogia (lack or decline in speech)
  3. Avolition (lack or decline in motivation)
  4. Imapaired communication (due to hearing voices)
  5. Social or occupational dysfunction: one or more major areas of functioning, work, interpersonal relations, self-care, are markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset.

Significant duration: Continuous signs of the disturbance persist for at least six months. This six-month period must include at least one month of symptoms (or less, if symptoms remitted with treatment).

If signs of disturbance are present for more than a month but less than six months, the diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder is applied. Psychotic symptoms lasting less than a month may be diagnosed as brief psychotic disorder, and various conditions may be classed as psychotic disorder not otherwise specified.

First and foremost hallucinations and delusions are NOT something that you are able to identify. Schizophrenia leaves the sufferer out of touch with reality. The sufferer believes in their hallucinations and delusions with every fibre of their body, they don't simply think that they are hallucination or becoming deluded. That being said, no, you are not developing schizophrenia. If you were, you wouldn't know it, and once you found out that you had it, you'd be the last one to know.

Note "positive" and "negative" symptoms, are not "good" and "bad". Think of a positive symptom as an addition to one's life (the addition of delusions), and a negative symptom as something that's being taken away from one's life (motivation). If you read further down the DSM criteria, you will see that "one-off" events like this do not substantiate a diagnosis of schizophrenia. However, a brief psychotic episode is still possible, possible, but extremely highly unlikely based on the fact that you have a great amount of insight (self-knowledge) of what was going on with you in the store.


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