The Psycho-social aspect
It is generally seen that among genetically vulnerable individuals, those who are exposed to a highly critical or stressful environment are more likely to succumb to schizophrenia than those who are not. The onset of the illness itself is often triggered by a traumatic event in the person's life. The death of a loved one, some deeply-felt failure, rejection or disappointment can lead to schizophrenia in a susceptible individual.
It can be seen therefore that while schizophrenia is related to biochemical irregularities in the brain, external stress, family and social pressures, if intense, can work on a vulnerable individual and lead to schizophrenia. Families carrying a genetic record of past illness are especially susceptible.
Loss of interest and social withdrawal
The person starts losing interest in his work, studies, family and friends. He is unable to concentrate, is irritable or looks vacant when questioned, stops going to work, often spends time wandering aimlessly or doing nothing, looking preoccupied or lost in thought. This is usually accompanied by a sharp fall in academic or work performance, disturbed sleep patterns and loss of appetite. The individual also begins to withdraw into himself, to shun company and social interaction of any sort.
During the 'acute' phase of the illness the patient often hears voices in his head and begins responding to them. He is seen apparently talking to himself but in a disjointed way, often laughing, gesturing ,smiling.
Sometime the patient sees frightening figures, in his fear he may become uncontrollable and be driven to violence, even attempting suicide.