Schizophrenia

What is it?

The term “schizophrenia” comes from the Greek word for “fractured mind,” and refers to changes in mental function where thoughts and perceptions become disordered. Most people begin to experience symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations and delusions, between ages 16 and 30. Rarely do people develop schizophrenia after age 45. Onset of Schizophrenia in childhood (before age 13) is exceedingly rare. Schizophrenia affects males and females equally; however, men tend to experience symptoms at an earlier age than women. 

Signs and Symptoms: 
  • Delusions: False beliefs of persecution, guilt, having a special mission,or being under outside control
  • Hallucinations: Most commonly involve hearing voices, but can also involve seeing, feeling, tasting or smelling things. These are perceived as very real by the person but are not actually there.
  • Difficulties in concentration, memory and ability to plan, making it difficult for the person to reason, communicate and complete daily tasks
  • Lack of motivation even for self-care
  • Blunted emotions: Oblivious to the things around them and often reacts inappropriately
  • Withdrawal from contact with others, even family and close friends
Support Strategies: 
  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies
Resources: 
  • Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
  • Mental Health America
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness
  • National Council for Behavioral Health
  • National Institute of Mental Health
  • Schizophrenia.com
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