Schizophrenia is a serious disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and acts. Someone with this mental disorder may have difficulty distinguishing between what is real and what is imaginary; you may feel embarrassed or feel alienated; and may have difficulty expressing normal emotions in social situations.


Contrary to public belief, this mental disorder is not a split personality or multiple personalities. Most people with this disorder are not violent and do not cause danger to others. The disorder is not caused by childhood experiences, lack of proper parenting or lack of willpower, nor is the symptoms identical for each person.

The mental disorder affects about 1% of the world population. In the United States a person in a hundred (approx. 2.5 million), has the disease. One with the disorder does not respect race, culture or economic boundaries. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 13 to 25 years. However, some symptoms may appear even earlier. There are more men having this disorder than women.


What causes schizophrenia?

The cause of it is still unclear. Some theories about the cause of this disease include: genetics (heredity), biological (chemical imbalance in the brain); and / or viral infections and possible immune disorders.



Scientists recognize that the disorder tends to run in families and that the person inherits a tendency to develop the disease. Schizophrenia may also be caused by environmental events, such as viral infections, or situations of high stress, or a combination of both. This disorder appears when the body undergoes hormonal and physical changes, such as those that occur during puberty in adolescents and young adults.



Genetics helps determine how the brain uses certain chemicals. People with this particular mental illness have a chemical imbalance in the brain (serotonin and dopamine) which are neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters allow nerve cells in the brain that send messages to each other.
The imbalance of these chemicals affect the way a person’s brain reacts to stimuli – which explains why the person with schizophrenia may feel overwhelmed by the information received by the senses (loud music or bright lights) that other people can easily controlled. This problem of processing different sounds, sights, smells and tastes can also cause hallucinations and delusions.


What are the early signs of schizophrenia?

The signs of this disorder are different for each person. Symptoms may develop slowly over months or years, or may appear suddenly. The disease can appear and disappearing in cycles of relapse and remission.


Behaviors that may be early signs of schizophrenia include:

  • Hearing or seeing things that are not there
  • A constant feeling that you are watching
  • Way of speaking or writing that is unique or does not make sense
  • Body positions that are rare
  • Feeling indifferent to important situations
  • Impairment of study or work
  • Changes in hygiene or appearance
  • A personality change
  • Increased insulation socials situations
  • Irrational, bitter or fearful responses to loved ones
  • Inability to sleep or concentrate
  • Inappropriate or unusual behavior
  • Extreme concern about religion and the occult.

If you or your loved one experiences several of these symptoms for more than two weeks, seek help immediately.


What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?

A professional medical or mental health may use the following terms when discussing the symptoms of this illness.

Positive symptoms are disturbances that are “added” to the personality of the person.

  • Illusions-false ideas individuals may believe that someone is spying on them, or that they are someone famous.
  • Hallucinations-seeing, feeling, tasting, hearing or smelling something that does not really exist. The most common experience is to hearing imaginary voices that give commands or make comments to the individual.
  • Speech and thought upset-changing from one subject to another, in a way meaningless. Individuals can create their own words and sounds.

Negative symptoms are capabilities that are “lost” from the personality of the person.

  • Social alienation
  • Extreme apathy
  • Lack of motivation or initiative
  • Lack of emotional response


What are the different types of schizophrenia?

  • Paranoid person feels extremely suspicious, persecuted, or feelings of grandiosity, or feel a combination of these emotions.
  • Disorganized, the person is often incoherent in speech and thought, but may not have illusions.
  • Catatonic – The person is alienated, silent, negative and often assumes very strange body positions.
  • Residual – Person no longer experience delusions or hallucinations, but does not feel motivation or interest in life.
  • Schizoaffective disorder, the person having both symptoms of the disorder and mood disorder higher such as depression.



If you suspect that someone you know is experiencing the symptoms of this mental issue, encourage them to visit a medical or mental health immediately. Treatment time-as soon as the first episode, can mean a better outcome in the long term.


The new generation of anti-psychotic medications help people with schizophrenia to live fulfilling lives. It helps to reduce the chemical imbalances that cause this illness and reduce the possibility of relapse. Like all medicines, HOWEVER, anti-psychotic drugs should be taken only under the supervision of a mental health professional.


There are two classes of anti-psychotic medication mayors:

  • Conventional anti psychotic-effectively control the “positive” symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions and confusion of the mental illness.
  • New generation anti-psychotics (also called atypical)-treated both positive and negative symptoms of this disorder, often with fewer side effects.

Side effects are common with anti-psychotic drugs. They range from mild side effects such as dry mouth, blurred vision, constipation, drowsiness and dizziness that usually disappear after a few weeks, even the most serious side effects such as having problems with muscle control, walking, tremors and movements uncontrollable facial (ticks). The new generation drugs have fewer side effects. However, it is important to talk with your mental health professional before you make any changes to their medicine as many of the side effects can be controlled.