Schizophrenia

  • Medical Author:
    Roxanne Dryden-Edwards, MD

    Dr. Roxanne Dryden-Edwards is an adult, child, and adolescent psychiatrist. She is a former Chair of the Committee on Developmental Disabilities for the American Psychiatric Association, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and Medical Director of the National Center for Children and Families in Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Schizophrenia Slideshow Pictures

Schizophrenia Symptoms

The symptoms of schizophrenia vary in quality and intensity from individual to individual, but delusions or a failure to recognize what is real is characteristic. The delusions of schizophrenia can cause hallucinations in sight (visual hallucination), sound (auditory hallucination), and/or touch (tactile hallucination). Other symptoms of schizophrenia include disordered or confused thought. This can be associated with talking nonsense and disorganized speech.

Quick GuideSchizophrenia Pictures Slideshow: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Schizophrenia Pictures Slideshow: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Schizophrenia facts

  • Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, debilitating mental illness that affects about 1% of the population -- more than 2 million people in the United States alone.
  • With the sudden onset of severe psychotic symptoms, the individual is said to be experiencing acute psychosis. Psychotic means out of touch with reality or unable to separate real from unreal experiences.
  • There is no known single cause of schizophrenia. As discussed later, it appears that genetic and other biological factors produce a vulnerability to schizophrenia, with environmental factors contributing to different degrees in different individuals.
  • There are a number of various schizophrenia treatments. Given the complexity of this disorder, the major questions about the illness (its cause or causes, prevention, and treatment) are unlikely to be resolved in the near future. The public should beware of those offering "the cure" for (or "the cause" of) schizophrenia.
  • Schizophrenia is one of the psychotic, also called thought-disordered, mental disorders and affects a person's thoughts, behaviors, and social functioning.
  • Symptoms of schizophrenia may include
  • While schizophrenia used to be divided into different types of the disorder, it is now considered to have various symptoms of one inclusive disorder.
  • Children as young as 6 years of age can be found to have all the schizophrenia symptoms as their adult counterparts and to continue to have those symptoms into adulthood.
  • Although the term schizophrenia has only been in used since 1911, its symptoms have been described throughout written history.
  • Schizophrenia is considered to be the result of a complex group of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors.
  • Health-care professionals diagnose schizophrenia by gathering comprehensive medical, family, mental-health, and social/cultural information.
  • The practitioner will also either perform a physical examination or request that the person's primary-care doctor perform one. The medical evaluation will usually include lab tests.
  • In addition to providing treatment that is appropriate to the diagnosis, practitioners attempt to determine the presence of other mental illnesses that may co-occur with schizophrenia.
  • People with schizophrenia are at increased risk of having a number of medical problems, other mental-health conditions, committing suicide or engaging in other self-harm, and otherwise dying earlier than people without this disorder.
  • Medications that have been found to be most effective in treating the positive symptoms of schizophrenia are first- and second-generation antipsychotics.
  • Psychosocial interventions for schizophrenia include education of family members, assertive community treatment, substance-abuse treatment, social-skills training, supported employment, cognitive behavioral therapy, and weight management.
  • Cognitive remediation, peer-to-peer treatment, weight-management interventions, and continued medication refinement remain the focus topics for research.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/2/2016

Subscribe to MedicineNet's Newsletters

Get the latest health and medical information delivered direct to your inbox!

By clicking Submit, I agree to the MedicineNet's Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy and understand that I may opt out of MedicineNet's subscriptions at any time.

VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Schizophrenia - Describe Your Experience

    Please describe your experience with schizophrenia.

    Post View 33 Comments
  • Schizophrenia - Treatments

    What treatments have been effective for your schizophrenia?

    Post View 12 Comments
  • Schizophrenia - In Children

    What were your child's schizophrenia symptoms? Please share your story.

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Schizophrenia - Symptoms

    Describe the symptoms associated with schizophrenia in you, a friend, or relative.

    Post View 2 Comments
  • Schizophrenia - Diagnostic Tests

    What tests were used to diagnose your schizophrenia?

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors