What is schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how the brain works. People with schizophrenia experience psychosis, which means they can have serious problems with thinking clearly, emotions, and knowing what is real and what is not.
This can include hearing or seeing things that are not there (hallucinations), and having very strange beliefs that are abnormal or not true (delusions).
Having psychosis often makes a person want to keep away from other people. They may have problems understanding other people’s emotions, and may feel depressed or irritable.
Other illnesses similar to schizophrenia include schizoaffective disorder and schizophreniform disorder.
While there is currently no cure for schizophrenia, it can be treated effectively with medication and psychological treatment.
What causes schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is caused by a chemical imbalance and other changes in the brain. It tends to run in families, but the environment may also play a role.
While it affects men and women the same, symptoms tend to start earlier in men than in women. It's rare in childhood.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
Each person may feel symptoms differently. These are the most common symptoms:
False beliefs not based on reality (delusions)
Seeing, hearing, smelling, or feeling things that are not real (hallucination)
Disorganized speech and behavior
Lack of emotion
Feeling like someone or something is out to get them (paranoia)
Withdrawal from others
These symptoms can make it very hard to function in the world and take care of yourself. People with this illness are usually not violent.
The symptoms of schizophrenia may look like other problems or mental health conditions. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.