For years, Lisa Halpern says she was able to explain away and conceal the early warning signs of psychosis. When she hid in her college dorm room, with towels stuffed under the door and black paper over the peephole, she was just "antisocial." Later, when she was a Harvard graduate student who became unable to read, shower or leave her apartment, she thought she might have a brain tumor.
She didn't tell the neurologist who scanned her brain — and found no tumor — that she was also hearing voices.
"Our best bet to limit the effects of the illness is to identify people early," says Jeffrey Lieberman, a psychiatrist at Columbia University in New York and president of the American Psychiatric Association.