Your daughter is in a higher age risk group for a first episode of schizophrenia (17- 25years), especially if she has experienced a recent stressful event. Sometimes the onset of Schizophrenia occurs after a person has been experimenting with illegal drugs, but only for those people with a genetically vulnerable predisposition. There may be a family history of mental health problems which is also a risk factor for the diagnosis in other family members. However there are only about 1% of the population who are diagnosed wtih schizophrenia. If she is hearing voices and acting erratically, this is a good reason to be concerned, especially if these voices do “not make sense,” when she talks about them and she does not accept feedback about her behaviour from you and she is very withdrawn. There are a number of symptoms required before a diagnosis of Schizophrenia , would be made by a qualified Psychiatrist. These symptoms would include: problems with self care, daily routines, hygiene, ability to communicate with others, flat affect, irritability and unusual behaviour. If these symptoms are happening it would be good to contact your daughter's General Practitioner to assess her symptoms. The GP is likely to discuss the situation with you and your daughter, review her level of safety at present and decide on a course of action, such as to refer her to a Psychiatrist for speciliazed assessment. Alternatively the GP may refer you to an Adult Mental Health Service in your area for an assessment and if necessary prescribe medication and a hospital admission. This is a very challenging condition to manage for the patient and carers. All Australian states have organizations to support carers in this situation: ARAFMI ( Australian Relative and Friends of the Mentally ill).
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