Schizophrenia affects the way you think, feel, & behave as a result of misinterpreting reality.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects the way you think, feel, and behave as a result of interpreting reality abnormally.
Schizophrenia may result in hallucinations, delusions, and/or disordered thinking and behavior that significantly impacts an individual’s ability to function in daily life. Early intervention is key to prevent serious complications and improve engagement in daily activities and relationships.
Symptoms of schizophrenia typically fall into one of the following three categories:
Psychotic symptoms include losing a sense of reality, perceiving things abnormally, and/or behaving oddly. An individual may experience....
- Delusions: false beliefs that are not supported by facts. (e.g. You think someone is “out to get you.”)
- Hallucinations: hearing or seeing things that do not actually exist.
- Thought Disorder: unusual thinking that leads to disorganized speech (e.g. not answering questions appropriately or putting words together that do not make sense).
Cognitive symptoms include difficulties in the areas of attention, concentration, and memory. An individual may experience….
- Problems processing information
- Difficulty using new information
- Trouble paying attention
Negative symptoms include reduced ability or inability to function normally. This may include…
- Reduced motivation to begin or continue activities which may include personal hygiene
- A lack of emotional expression in speech
- Withdrawing from social events
Causes of Schizophrenia
We don’t know exactly what causes schizophrenia, but here are some common risk factors:
- Genetics: You can have the genes for it, but that doesn’t always mean you’ll get schizophrenia.
- Drugs: Exposure to mind-altering (pyschoactive or psychotropic) drugs during teen and young adult years can increase risk of developing schizophrenia.
- Environmental Factors: Stressors such as living in poverty and exposure to viruses or nutritional problems in utero may play a role in schizophrenia development.
- Brain structure: Some scientists think that differences in structure, function, and neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, may lead to the development of schizophrenia.
It’s important to treat schizophrenia early before it greatly impacts your everyday activities, work, and/or relationships. Some possible treatments include:
- Antipsychotic Medications are designed to affect the brain neurotransmitter dopamine with the goal of controlling symptoms
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is designed to address the cognitive and negative symptoms with the goal to normalize thought patterns and identify early signs of relapse
- Family Psychoeducation & Support involves using your loved ones to help you bond and solve problems together.
- Coordinated Specialty Care (CSC) combines medications with social support to create a team approach for treating psychosis.
- Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) involves a multidisciplinary team with frequent patient contact to reduce risk of hospitalizations and homelessness