What is it?

Schizophrenia is a chronic psychiatric disorder, affecting approximately 1% of the population. Patients will experience relapsing episodes of reality distortion (psychosis) and might hear, see, or believe things that aren’t real.

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Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Hebephrenia
- Latent Schizophrenia
- Catatonic Schizophrenia
- Simple Schizophrenia
- Schizoaffective Disorder
- Paranoid Schizophrenia
- Schizophreniform Disorder

Signs & symptoms

Schizophrenia’s symptoms are divided into "positive" and "negative" symptoms. "positive" symptoms are behaviors or thoughts new to the patient, and "negative" symptoms include the diminishing of abilities that the patient used to have.
75% of patients with schizophrenia will go through a prodrome phase before their first psychosis episode. During this period, the patients’ behavior or looks might change, and cognitive symptoms or mood swings might appear.
Positive symptoms include:
- Hallucinations – perceive stimuli that aren’t real, usually hearing voices.
- Delusions – thoughts or strong beliefs that are incoherent with reality.
- Strange postures or body movements.
- Unusual ways of thinking or expressions.
Negative symptoms include:
- Lack of emotional expression.
- Lack of motivation and apathy.
- Social deprivation.
- Diminished ability to feel pleasure.
Cognitive symptoms include:
- Memory deficits.
- Verbal fluency difficulties.
- Concentration difficulties.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis is made via a psychiatric assessment, conducted by a psychiatrist – a medical doctor specializing in psychiatry. This assessment includes questioning, physical exams, cognitive exams, and other tests that might exclude other diseases or conditions.

Treatment

Treatment for schizophrenia includes antipsychotic medications, mainly treating the "positive" symptoms. Psychosocial therapy can help cope with the disease and improve social function and quality of life - including family therapy, group therapy, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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