Which came first, the Sz or the stress

I’m grateful that we have so many here sharing, and I’m glued to these postings.

I’ve traced back through my life, and I only see episodes that impaired my life coinciding with extreme stress in my life, like I’ve had psychotic Sz episodes only when

I got a divorce
My Mom died
My Dad died - this one lasted 2 years

does stress trigger your episode, or are you psychotic all the time. Like these teens and 20s diagnosed with Sz, did something stress you out first, or do you know?

I’m wondering if the stress of my life and my job plus my genetic groundwork from my biological mother now is causing me to have Sz episodes. Trying to figure this out as I’d like to go back to work, but not have the stress and the episode, that is my theory and my goal

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According to my parents something happened, it wasn’t big, but it threw me into almost 2 days of solid incoherent melt down.

I was told there was screaming, hiding in the closet in terror, peeing myself, not eating, just freaking out and hiding. I was not able to calm down at all until I just passed out and slept solid for over a day. When I woke up, I was told that I couldn’t really understand what was being said to me, I was sort of teetering around like a drunk and I was slow to answer questions or react to stuff around me.

I was 5 years old when that happened. I pulled out of it and got back to being my sunny/ hyperactive self, but a few years later it happened again,… and again and so on…

Then my trip through the diagnosis maze began. I was having a lot of problems while growing up, but no doctor wanted to say the “S” word about one so young. So I was given many labels as I grew up.

But then puberty hit, there was a house fire, and it was all down hill from there. I was in a slow crumble until 17 when I was involuntarily committed after an incident that got the police involved. (I basically kidnapped my 6 year old kid sister from her little school because I was afraid they were brain washing her and turning her against me)

Then I started through the hospital/ group home maze. It took a while to get out of that one.

I’m stable and med compliant, I have a job, but I still have my voices, I still have hallucinations flare up, I still have my disorganized thinking. Stress does cause it to get worse.

Stress is an amazing thing, both motivator and destroyer.

@NiceHat I never hear you mention any negative symptoms. Those are the ones I am fighting off the hardest. My few tiny voices, the imaginary cat I see out of the corner of my eye all the time, the wavy walls and other visuals… these are nothing compared to the negative symptoms.

Sliding into negative symptom and turning back into the non-coherent, poverty of speech, poverty of thought, poverty of ability, word salad, empty, emotionless piece of furniture I once was, wishing I could die to get out of the negative swing… I fear that. It’s a very motivating all consuming fear.


thank you for sharing. I don’t believe I have significant negative symptoms that impair my daily life. I am quiet, shy, think more than I talk, or think before I talk. I don’t think I have negative symptoms that impair my life, I think they enhance it.

I just suffered my first word salad episode, that was worse than anything like bush - george bush = arbor vitae = my vagina bush. I felt is more like dementia, like I wanted my brain to tell me arbor vitae bush, and instead my brain said George Bush. It was like my brain wasn’t doing the correct database query or getting back the right result.

I did have the paranoia, like somebody trying to kill me, following me, and I did think there were messages on the TV or radio just for me, but not until this last episode, when my father was dying.

I flipped out in a screaming fit one day when my exhusband wouldn’t stop masterbating, and was doing it infront of me, but at that time people told me that was normal :slight_smile:

so, I’m glued to these postings, thank you all for sharing your experieces. Recently my diagnosis changed to psychotic disorder not specified.

I was in the marching band in college, marched in the rose bowl parade. if I was paranoid and afraid, hearing voices, I couldn’t have done that. Never diagnosed with Sz until age 45.

I’m wondering if this psychosis is an autoimmune disorder of some type, I’ve had other autoimmune issues

I want to add to my own posting

at my last appointment I was laughing about my vagine George Bush word salad. I don’t have it now, I just remember this stuff from before and was trying to explain it. She insisted I must still have it but be managing it better. I don’t think so.

and for the voices, I don’t hear anything. my brain pulls the wrong values. my brain also works by itself, so like when I’m working on an issue at work, it’s like there’s a back half of my brain still cranking away trying to solve the problem, like fix a software bug. sometimes I’ll wake up at 2am and have figured out the answer. but when I’m stressed, or sometimes after a 40 mile bike ride, i have brain fog, cannot concentrate on anything.

I am testing my stress theory on job interviews and long bike rides 40+ miles. it seems if I do a long ride in 80 degree heat or above, I get brain fog, word salad, which escalates to an episode, especially if my family is giving me additional stress.

well, if you lookup the terminology a psychosis can be caused by many organic illnesses, like a multiple scleroris leason, lupus, lymes disease. a psychosis can be had with bi polar disorder, a psychosis that lasts 6 months is called schizophrenia.

it seems like if they cannot figure out what the hell it is, and it lasts a long time, it’s schizophrenia by default. they don’t really know what Sz is, but a psychosis is the same symptoms (hallucinations, delusions, somebody trying to kill you, voices) across all other diseases.

I know now that the things I would say were strange that happened to me when I was very young was an early onset of Sz. The psychosis symptoms got worse through high school and I had my breaks at 17, 22, 24. I would say stress adds fuel to the fire but I am almost constantly in some state of psychosis with varying degrees of severity. Frequently I am able to still function while having delusions or hallucinations. But the last few months things have been getting out of my control and my normal means of coping is not as effective as it once was.

If specifics help your curiosity; I experienced physical and sexual abuse through most of my childhood, an unstable home and I was made to help pay bills and start earning for the family at 15. At 17 once my brothers were old enough to take care of themselves I left and started living out of friends homes or with strangers. There was more abuse experienced as a result of my poor decisions during this time and I eventually landed myself in a hospital for attempted suicide. After my recovery I got a serious job and got my life back together, since then the psychosis symptoms have been much worse but manageable until recently.

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Stress came first… When I was little it was after my parents divorced, I got obsessed with the two murders of of children in the uk and I then became convinced people were watching me through cracks in the walls and were going to kill me. I was always socially awkward and anxious but that ramped it up.

When I hit puberty was the next one I went through phases of seeing faces in the walls, a man sitting at the end of my bed weeping and mum putting salt across the door, sage etc I thought I was psychic or cursed.

I became a high achiever at the same time, stress and pressure was put on me because we didn’t have many high achievers in my year, that I think was the start, became terrified of an invisible force (I hadn’t formed my delusions yet), was up until 4am each night and waking up at 7 leaving for school at 7:30. Hiding in the bathrooms at school when i should have been in lessons. Then my uncle committed suicide and my first delusion formed. I may have been sexually assaulted or in an abusive relationship a little later at the time I knew what happened, but now I can’t remember exactly I’ve been told I suppressed it, I get nightmares and memories but can’t tell if it’s real or not. So it was a downhill spiral form there on out. That summer I hid in my room, didn’t go out, retreated into m world.

Then I was admitted that was the end of the line, I retreated completely.

I’m on the right meds now, like James, I still hear voices and delusions have stuck, but they exacerbate when I’m under stress and that often leads to loss of insight. I think it definitely has an impact, and I think it’s been proven to do so. My nurse says it’s common for that to happen.


For me stress comes first, otherwise I function fairly okay. If you search for autoimmune on this forum there are numerous other posts about the possibility of a correlation there. In fact someone posted just yesterday about it.

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yes for me too, stress comes first

I think its been shown you have to have the predisposition/genes for sz. But then you have to have the stress to
crack it open. I think this explains why some twins get sz and in some pairs only 1 is affected.
If you have good coping skills you can head off a break from stress.

Growing up can be very stressful. I think that’s why it can show up in your 20s or before, just as you have to get a job and move out of your parents house.
Living in a city can be stressful and bring sz on.  
But if you’re just helping out with the family farm, ranch or store, you may have less breaks.

I can be fine for years and a big stress will give me a bad relapse.
But other people survive major life changes without a sz break.
So I think the sz comes first, then the stress can set it off.


Stress, or more specifically, TRAUMA, induced my sz.

That was wonderfully put. Now I’m thinking of it like…

The light switch is always there, it’s the stress that turns it on.

Thank you for that.


Yes read that somewhere. I have Multiple Sclerosis too.
But sz is way worse in my opinion. There were MS relapse days I could only lay on the couch and not move and my vision was affected.
But at least I was not being mentally tortured like a sz relapse.

I tried several MS meds, they don’t know what causes that either.
But it has definite relapses just like sz. The happy part is that just
like my sz it eventually went into remission and I can go about my
day. I have constant numbness in one leg but you just learn to live with
it and by the time you’re 50 most people have their aches and pains so
you’re not alone and you can complain to each other and laugh.

Constant paranoia is a little harder to hide, so again sz is worse!

I used to have fear that the light switch would turn on unexpectedly!
It took pdocs a while growing up to brand me with the scarlet “S”

But my doc always monitored my stress and would try to help come up with solutions.
But you have to monitor your own stress and some problems have no solutions.
I’m lucky that I listen to music that helps a lot and keeps my mind off things.

But having God in your life or a higher power can help more.

I like that too, the light switch is always there and the stress turns it on. I think that is exactly the case.

I used to have what I thought were like panic attacks from too much stress. but the panic attacks have now escalated to psychosis episodes, much worse now, but the I’m 48 now too.

That made me smile. I know a lot of docs who do NOT want to put the scarlet S on a kid. But looking back, I wish I would have know what the hell was happening to me sooner.

Then my parents would have had more accurate information to go on rather then all those years of meds and effort for illnesses I didn’t have.

I think a great amount of stress may have led to Depression and Schizophrenia. The symptoms didn’t really hit me until after the major stress was over.

the stress is over and then it hits, that’s right, I am the same way.

I think I can help clarify and answer your question.

Schizophrenia can be triggered by stress. Predisposed people with susceptibility genes are not in a good place- it is said that people with these genes need only something to tip the scale and drive them insane. This is just textbook basic stuff from abnormal psych.

I had birth trauma and trauma at the time of my onset, so my case is just wtf.
I have two schizophrenic living relatives, it runs on the paternal side of my family
I was a blue baby, I had water in my lungs and was sent right into the ICU and stayed there.
I experience some symptoms as a prepubescent boy.

Stress is the number one cause of relapses. Highly expressed emotion in families causes stress. Some people get on meds or recover without meds and are fine, just fine until something freaks them out. I know a naturally recovered person whose old buddy killed his wife and then killed himself. 3 day long relapse. I am recovered on meds and finals week scared me to death on saturday. 3 hour relapse.

You need antianxiety meds perhaps- my doctors talked to eachother and decided that I needed one. I just finished my first year on meds and I made all A’s and an A- last semester and finished finals today, I felt very confident and would bet I made all A’s again. I did in fact freakout last semester during midterms and that was when I called my doc and precribed me a little xanax for midterms, then he talked to my shrink and they upped my dosage and have me on it indefinitely.

It’s easier to get a script for a benzo if you are fit or highly functioning. They usually dont like giving them out, they’re discouraged by the medical community and actually charged 25 cents per perscription themselves (like that matters to their incomes hah). I am intimidating looking, quite muscular and my psychiatrist talked to my shrink and knows about my scholarship and grades and all of that stuff and was like heres 90mg of xanax, you get a bottle every month. I was like “that sounds like alot” and he said “just take it as you need it, you dont have to take as much as prescribed but im giving you it in case”.

I usually just take 1mg twice a day, once in the morning and once in the late afternoon. Im prescribed 1mg every 6 hours but I take on every 8 instead. I took 3 for a few days in a row for finals but other than that I am careful to be super addicted.

Before I developed schizophrenia, I was constantly stressed out. I didn’t know how to cope with stress and it consumed me.

Stress frequently causes me to have psychotic episodes. I’ve had to learn how to get rid of stress and minimize stress so that I don’t have more episodes. It is a work in progress for me.