Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health condition that causes a range of different psychological symptoms, including:

hallucinations – hearing or seeing things that do not exist

delusions – unusual beliefs not based on reality which often contradict the evidence

muddled thoughts based on the hallucinations or delusions

changes in behaviour

Doctors often describe schizophrenia as a psychotic illness. This means sometimes a person may not be able to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from reality.

Why does schizophrenia happen?

The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown. However, most experts believe the condition is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is thought certain things make you more vulnerable to developing schizophrenia, and certain situations can trigger the condition.

Who is affected?

Schizophrenia is one of the most common serious mental health conditions. About 1 in 100 people will experience schizophrenia in their lifetime, with many continuing to lead normal lives. Schizophrenia is most often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 35. Men and women are equally affected.

There is no single test for schizophrenia. It is most often diagnosed after an assessment by a mental health care professional, such as a psychiatrist. It is important that schizophrenia is diagnosed as early as possible, as the chances of recovery improve the earlier it is treated.

How is schizophrenia treated?

Schizophrenia is usually treated with a combination of medication and therapy appropriate to each individual. In most cases, this will be antipsychotic medicines and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Many people recover from schizophrenia, although they may have periods when symptoms return (relapses). Therapy and treatment can help reduce the impact of the condition on your life.

Living with schizophrenia

If schizophrenia is well managed, it is possible to reduce the chances of severe relapses. This can include:

recognising signs of an acute episode

taking medication as prescribed

talking to others about the condition

Most people find it comforting to talk to others with a similar condition.

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health condition that causes a range of different psychological symptoms, including:

hallucinations – hearing or seeing things that do not exist

delusions – unusual beliefs not based on reality which often contradict the evidence

muddled thoughts based on the hallucinations or delusions

changes in behaviour

Doctors often describe schizophrenia as a psychotic illness. This means sometimes a person may not be able to distinguish their own thoughts and ideas from reality.

Why does schizophrenia happen?

The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown. However, most experts believe the condition is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. It is thought certain things make you more vulnerable to developing schizophrenia, and certain situations can trigger the condition.

Who is affected?

Schizophrenia is one of the most common serious mental health conditions. About 1 in 100 people will experience schizophrenia in their lifetime, with many continuing to lead normal lives. Schizophrenia is most often diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 35. Men and women are equally affected.

There is no single test for schizophrenia. It is most often diagnosed after an assessment by a mental health care professional, such as a psychiatrist. It is important that schizophrenia is diagnosed as early as possible, as the chances of recovery improve the earlier it is treated.

How is schizophrenia treated?

Schizophrenia is usually treated with a combination of medication and therapy appropriate to each individual. In most cases, this will be antipsychotic medicines and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).

Many people recover from schizophrenia, although they may have periods when symptoms return (relapses). Therapy and treatment can help reduce the impact of the condition on your life.

Living with schizophrenia

If schizophrenia is well managed, it is possible to reduce the chances of severe relapses. This can include:

recognising signs of an acute episode

taking medication as prescribed

talking to others about the condition

Most people find it comforting to talk to others with a similar condition.

About the author

Maya Expert Team