Schizophrenia is often a chronic and debilitating mental illness. The
disease can cause you to withdraw from the people and activities in the
world around you and retreat into a world of delusions. Schizophrenia
is a debilitating kind of psychosis, which is an impairment of thinking
in which your interpretation of reality can be severely abnormal.
Psychosis is a symptom of a disordered brain.
Schizophrenia affects approximately 1 percent of the population
worldwide, including more than 2 million Americans. It occurs equally
in men and women. The disorder is rare in children. There's often no
cure for the illness, but working closely with your doctor and other
mental health professionals, you can often successfully manage
schizophrenia -- especially when an early diagnosis occurs.
Fortunately, newer medications are making this poorly understood
disorder more manageable than ever before.
Signs of schizophrenia include:
Two or more of the following for at least 1 week: delusions, prominent
hallucinations for much of the day, incoherence, lack of emotions or
inappropriate display of emotions, bizarre delusions
Trouble functioning at work, in social interactions and with personal
Continuous and progressive signs for at least 6 months.
Generally, schizophrenia causes a slowly progressive deterioration in
your ability to function in various roles, especially in your job and
personal life. The symptoms of schizophrenia vary greatly. You may
behave differently at different times. You may become extremely
agitated and distressed. Or you may fall into a catatonic (trancelike,
immobile, unresponsive) state. You may behave normally much of the
time. In general, schizophrenia has "negative" signs and "positive" signs.
Negative signs may appear early in the disease, and you or others may
not think they need treatment. Negative signs generally accompany a
slow deterioration of function, leading to your becoming less sociable.
Such signs may include...