What is psychosis?
Psychosis means a serious lack of connection to reality. It is characterized by experiences such as delusions, paranoia, and hallucinations. It does not indicate violence.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder characterized by two types of symptoms, positive and negative symptoms. It is a chronic condition that is typically treated with medication and therapy. The onset of symptoms is typically in late teens or early 20s for men and typically in the 20s or 30s for women; however, onset can begin at any age.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
How common is schizophrenia?
Approximately 1% (or 1 in every 100 people) of the adult population has schizophrenia. This means that over 3 million adults in the United States live with schizophrenia.
Who develops schizophrenia?
A person of any age, gender, race/ethnicity, or socio-economic background can develop schizophrenia. The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown but it is probably caused by a combination of genetic, psychological, and environmental causes.
Schizophreniform disorder exists on the schizophrenic spectrum and is characterized by schizophrenic symptoms (hallucinations, delusions, or disorganized speech); however, it must develop rapidly and be present for a shorter amount of time than schizophrenia (less than 6 months if not treated).
Schizophrenia is a serious psychotic disorder characterized by positive and negative symptoms. It is a life-long condition that causes significant functional impairment. However, it is a treatable condition and many people live in recovery with schizophrenia.
Delusional disorder is a rare psychotic disorder characterized by the presence of delusions without other schizophrenia-like symptoms, such as hallucinations, disorganized speech, or flat affect.
This diagnosis is given when an individual is experiencing symptoms of psychosis or schizophrenia but the symptoms do not meet the full criteria for schizophrenia or another disorder. This diagnosis may also be employed temporarily so that the diagnostician can obtain further information before making a diagnosis.
A variety of medications may be used to treat these disorders, including antipsychotics.
Therapy can help manage symptoms and improve relationships for people living with a psychotic disorder.
It is vital for people living with a serious mental health condition to educate their family and loved ones about their disorder in order to form a stable support system around them.
Lifestyle changes such as sleep hygiene and avoiding drugs and alcohol can help manage symptoms of a psychotic disorder.
If the person is experiencing a severe episode or is unable to function, they may need to be temporarily hospitalized until their condition is more stable.
If an individual's symptoms are unresponsive to other treatment, your doctor may recommend ECT. Contrary to popular depiction, ECT is not a treatment to be afraid of. It can cause significant side effects, though, and should be carefully considered with your physician.
In this video by Living Well With Schizophrenia, several people diagnosed with schizophrenic spectrum disorders share what they wish more people understood about their condition.
I don't know anyone with schizophrenia. They're all locked away in hospitals. Many people have the impression that schizophrenia is must rarer than it actually is. 1 in every 100 people experience schizophrenia. That means that it is extremely likely that you have interacted with someone with schizophrenia at some point in your life, even if only briefly. This misconception is exacerbated by the fact that many people think that schizophrenia is always an obvious condition, but this is not always the case. Many people with schizophrenia live "normal" lives, and their mental health struggles are not readily apparent unless you know them intimately.
Schizophrenia means having a split personality or multiple personalities. Having multiple states of consciousness/multiple personalities is characteristic of dissociative identity disorder (DID), a disorder in which early childhood trauma prevents the individual's personality from integrating into one sense of self. Schizophrenia, on the other hand, is a psychotic disorder characterized by disorganized speech and behavior and abnormal perceptions of reality; furthermore, trauma is not a necessary element of a schizophrenia diagnosis. Before schizophrenia was well understood, it was sometimes perceived as a "split personality" which is where this misinformation comes from.
Schizophrenia is actually demonic possession. Some people experiencing schizophrenia may behave bizarrely or have religious delusions. This does not mean that they are experiencing demonic influence, though. If you are Catholic and are concerned about a loved one, it is important to speak to a priest who is experienced in mental health.
People with schizophrenia are violent. Violence is not a symptom of schizophrenia or psychosis. Though people who commit violent crimes may be in a state of poor mental and emotional wellbeing, this does not mean that they have a diagnosable mental disorder or that a mental disorder is the cause of their actions.
People who commit violent acts usually have schizophrenia. People who experience schizophrenia are more likely to be the victims of violent crimes rather than the perpetrator, especially if the person is homeless or vulnerable. This is yet another reason why mental health treatment interventions are so important to people's wellbeing and protection.
A person with schizophrenia can never function. Every person with schizophrenia is different. Some may work full-time jobs, while others may work part-time or not work at all. Just like with any other health condition or disability, it all depends on their individual circumstances and treatment. It is likely that people with schizophrenia or another serious mental illness worship at your church, shop at your grocery store, and live in your neighborhood.
Hosted by bipolar Gabe Howard and schizophrenic Michelle Hammer, this podcast offers a first-hand look into life in recovery from serious mental illness.
Content warning: This podcast contains mature content. It is not appropriate for children. Parents are advised to make an informed decision before allowing teenagers to listen.
When she was diagnosed with schizophrenia, she was told her prognosis was bleak: she would never have close interpersonal relationships and would work only at a menial job. Now, she is married with children and has worked as a professor, lawyer, and psychiatrist. Read her astonishing journey of recovery in her own words.
This personal account of caring for her son who lives with schizophrenia, from the frightening onset of symptoms to diagnosis to treatment, invites the reader into one woman's struggle with family, mental illness, and her Christian faith.
Developed by schizophrenic Rachel Star Withers, this journal is for anyone who lives with psychotic symptoms. "Nothing has ever taken away my hallucinations but I have been able to get used to them. They are always there... usually just chilling." -Rachel Star Withers
This memoir brings you along Jonny's journey living with schizoaffective disorder and finding hope to live a meaningful life.
Hosted by schizophrenic Rachel Star Withers with advocate Gabe Howard, this podcast offers a first-hand account of living with schizophrenia and navigating life with one of the most stigmatizing and misunderstood disorders in the world.
Content warning: This podcast contains mature content and content of a sensitive nature.
Hearing Voices of Support is an online initiative to reduce prejudice, promote acceptance and recovery, and improve quality of life for people living with schizophrenia and related brain disorders.
Students With Schizophrenia empowers people living with schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders worldwide through service, support, and outreach.
Schizophrenic.NYC is an advocacy project and clothing line founded and designed by schizophrenic Michelle Hammer to change the perception of the mentally ill population amongst New Yorkers.