Now, experts talk about schizophrenia as a spectrum disorder. It's a group of related mental disorders that share some symptoms. They're like variations on a theme in music. They affect your sense of what's real. They change how you think, feel, and act.
Types of Mental Health Specialists
Choosing the right doctor and/or therapist to treat schizophrenia and other mental health issues may seem like a daunting task. But, finding the right doctor is an important step towards getting the right treatment. A number of different types of doctors can treat mental illnesses, including the following:
Psychiatrists: These professionals diagnose and specialize in the treatment of schizophrenia and other mental, emotional, or behavioral problems...
Delusions: Mistaken but firmly held beliefs that are easy to prove wrong, like thinking you have superpowers, are a famous person, or people are out to get you.
Disorganized speech: Using words and sentences that don't make sense to others.
Strange behavior: Acting in an odd or repetitive way, like walking in circles or writing all the time, or sitting perfectly still and quiet for hours on end.
Withdrawn and lifeless: Showing no feelings or motivation, or lacking interest in normal daily activities.
People with schizophrenia have at least two of these symptoms for at least 6 months. One of them must be hallucinations, delusions, or disorganized speech. A single voice that offers ongoing comments about your thoughts and actions, or voices that talk to each other, is enough.
There could have been times when you didn't have any symptoms, but the first one would have started at least 6 months ago. And you must have had them for at least a month continuously.
You may have different symptoms at different times, and they may get worse or better -- and it's still schizophrenia.
Doctors may categorize your schizophrenia according to your main symptom to make a diagnosis clearer. But rather than saying you have "paranoid schizophrenia," they would say you have "schizophrenia with paranoia,” for example.
What makes schizophrenia different from some similar disorders in the spectrum is how long you've had symptoms and whether you also have signs of a mood disorder.
When you've had psychotic symptoms for at least a month but less than 6 months, doctors call it schizophreniform. Many people with this disorder go on to have schizophrenia. In other words, schizophreniform is often early schizophrenia.
But for about one-third of people, the symptoms just go away.