Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that is very hard to diagnose. It affects the way a person thinks, processes emotions, makes decisions, and maintains relationships. It’s especially hard to diagnose in teenagers because many of the first signs of schizophrenia in young people, such as bad grades, sleeping too much, or withdrawal from friends, can at first seem like typical teenage problems.

A diagnosis usually results from observing at least two of the following symptoms most of the time for a month, and some mental disturbance over six months: Delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech and behavior, catatonia or a coma-like daze, or bizarre or hyperactive behavior.

Being diagnosed as early as possible improves the chances of managing the illness.