Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling. Schizophrenia is a severe long-term mental health condition. It causes a range of different psychological symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms:
Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30. In rare cases, children have schizophrenia too.
The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.
Positive symptoms: “Positive” symptoms are psychotic behaviours not generally seen in healthy people.
Hallucinations – hearing or seeing things that don’t exist
Delusions – unusual beliefs not based on reality
Muddled thoughts based on hallucinations or delusions
Changes in behavior
Negative symptoms: “Negative” symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. Symptoms include:
“Flat affect” (reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone)
Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities
Causes of schizophrenia
The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown. However, most experts believe the condition is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Schizophrenia is usually treated with a combination of medication and therapy tailored to each individual. In most cases, this will be antipsychotic medicines and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
People with schizophrenia usually receive help from a community mental health team, which offers day-to-day support and treatment.
Many people recover from schizophrenia, although they may have periods when symptoms return (relapses). Support and treatment can help reduce the impact the condition has on daily life.