People who are schizophrenic are stereotyped as being easy to identify fit the basic stereotype of someone with compromised mental health. They hear things that aren’t there. They have difficulty distinguishing what is real and what isn’t, to the point that even perceived sensory stimuli may not be real. Emotional responses are typically viewed as being askew, such as laughing when crying is more appropriate. True, these are all signs of someone having schizophrenia, but there is so much more to the disease than this. Not every schizophrenic is a stark-raving lunatic, even though a good amount of them actually are. The mental health damage that schizophrenia can bring can often be more subtle than that.
According to research, among the more subtle signs of developing schizophrenia (and possibly psychosis, as well) would be interpreting background noise as coded messages. These can include anything from the white noise that you get on a television to that odd buzzing noise that some radios make while scanning for an appropriate channel. Conspiracy theorists, by and large, have been adding interpretations to that sort of stuff for many years now. While some of them are undoubtedly schizophrenic, not all of them have fractured mental health. Still, recent research point to these “interpretations” as being a sign of someone developing schizophrenia.
Supposedly, the tendency to extract information from meaningless data is a stepping stone to the mind developing an internal “reality” of unreality. This is not the only sign of poor mental health, of course, but studies show that it can be a good indicator. It should be noted that the research did take into account just how much information could actually be extracted from background noise. The test was conducted and arranged such that the test subjects were guaranteed to pick up certain selected words. Once checked decades later, the ones that picked up more information than what was designed to be picked up had all developed some form of schizophrenia.
The trouble with schizophrenics is that it can be very easy for the signs to be turned inwards and stay only within the patient’s own mind. Hearing voices in one’s head, both a symptom and side effect of schizophrenia and psychosis, can easily be kept from other people. In fact, there are experts who believe that most patients are quite adept at keeping this symptom to themselves for years. More often than not, the stigma of being branded as insane because of this alone is enough to keep someone from openly admitting to the problem. As such, they develop an innate talent for hiding this information from others, if only to keep the chances of being forced to seek treatment minimal.
Yes, the stereotypical image of a schizophrenic may well be a very accurate portrayal of the problem. However, that does not mean everyone who is schizophrenic is going to show the signs in an outward manner. In fact, most of the signs can easily be turned inwards and there is a surprisingly high number of patients who are talented at hiding the problem from others.