Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic mental disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks and behaves. It is not as common as other mental disorders but is very serious – the symptoms can be disabling.
People who have schizophrenia might have hallucinations (auditory or visual), delusions, disorganized behavior or speech, and impaired cognitive ability. They might believe others can read their minds or are controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them in some way. This can be upsetting and scary both to the person suffering the illness and those around them.
Schizophrenics sometimes talk about unusual or strange ideas, which can make it hard to carry on a conversation with them. They might sit still and not talk or move for hours. Sometimes they come across as perfectly fine until they start talking about their thoughts.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS
The onset of symptoms usually occurs between ages 16 and 30, although in rare cases it might show up in childhood.
The symptoms can be classified into three groups: positive, negative, and cognitive.
Positive symptoms: These are psychotic behaviors that are not typically seen in healthy people and can indicate a break from aspects of reality. They include delusions, hallucinations, movement disorders and thought disorders (dysfunctional or unusual thoughts).
Negative symptoms: These relate to disruptions to normal behavior and emotions and include diminished feelings of pleasure in day-to-day life, diminished expression of emotions, tone of voice or facial expressions, finding it hard to begin and continue activities, and speaking less.