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What is schizophrenia?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

There are many types of schizophrenia, a malady of the brain that can cause a myriad of symptoms. A few of these symptoms include seeing or hearing things that are not there, a lack of emotion or interest, and problems remembering information. People with schizophrenia are at risk for suicide, and they may harm others. While there is no cure for the disorder, doctors can treat schizophrenia's symptoms by prescribing medications and monitoring the disorder.

Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that often develops in adolescence or early adulthood and affects approximately 24 million people worldwide. People with schizophrenia experience a range of symptoms that may make it difficult for them to judge reality. While there is no cure for schizophrenia at the moment, treatments are available which are effective for most people. Unfortunately, more than 50% of people with schizophrenia do not receive appropriate care.

The name schizophrenia comes from the Greek words 'schizo' (meaning split) and 'phrenos' (meaning mind). It was chosen to reflect the poor connection or "split" between the thought processes (cognition) of a person with the disorder, and other functions of the mind such as emotion and behaviour. There is a common misconception that people with schizophrenia have a "split" or "multiple" personality. This is not true and refers to a different and extremely rare mental illness, dissociative identity disorder.

Continue Learning about Schizophrenia

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What Are Myths Associated with Schizophrenia?
Who Is Likely to Get Schizophrenia?
Who Is Likely to Get Schizophrenia?
If Someone Has the Genes for Schizophrenia, How Likely Is It That They Will Get the Disease?
If Someone Has the Genes for Schizophrenia, How Likely Is It That They Will Get the Disease?
Are There Different Types of Schizophrenia?
Are There Different Types of Schizophrenia?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.