Skip to content

    Schizophrenia Health Center

    Font Size

    Schizophrenia - Topic Overview

    What is schizophrenia?

    Schizophrenia is an illness that can affect your ability to think clearly, manage your emotions, and interact with others. It affects each person differently.

    The way other people react to schizophrenia can make a difference in how schizophrenia affects you. It can make it easier or harder for you to cope with the illness.

    Recommended Related to Schizophrenia

    9 Schizophrenia Myths and Facts

    There's a lot of incorrect info out there about schizophrenia. Some of it is spread by movies or TV shows. Or sometimes people use stereotypes when talking about this mental illness. Get the real story behind some common myths. Myth #1: It means you have multiple personalities. This is one of the biggest misunderstandings about schizophrenia. One poll found that 64% of Americans believe the condition involves a split personality -- which means someone acts like they're two separate people...

    Read the 9 Schizophrenia Myths and Facts article > >

    Most people who have schizophrenia:

    • Hear and sometimes see things that aren't there (hallucinations).
    • Often believe some things that aren't true (delusions).
    • May think that some people are trying to harm them (paranoia).

    With treatment, they may come to understand that these experiences aren't real but are a problem with how their brains work.

    Some people with schizophrenia have paranoid thinking, which causes them to have frightening thoughts, to believe that people or forces are trying to harm them, and to hear voices. Some people think that schizophrenia is the same as a "split personality" (dissociative identity disorder), but that is a different mental health problem.

    Living with schizophrenia can cause many challenges. It's a difficult disease. It changes your life and the lives of your family. But you can live a full and meaningful life if:

    • You are willing to work at helping yourself.
    • You get professional help.
    • You have the support and understanding of your family.

    What causes schizophrenia?

    Experts don't know what causes schizophrenia. It may have different causes for different people.

    • In some people, brain chemistry and brain structure aren't normal.
    • Family history may play a role.
    • Problems that harm a baby's brain during pregnancy may help cause it.

    It is not caused by anything you did, by personal weakness, or by the way your parents raised you.

    What are the symptoms?

    Symptoms of schizophrenia include:

    • Negative symptoms. "Negative" doesn't mean "bad." Negative symptoms are things that are "lost" from your personality or how you experience life. You may:
      • Not care about things.
      • Have no interest or drive to do things.
      • Not take care of yourself, such as not bathing or not eating regularly.
      • Find it hard to say how you feel.
      • Become angry with strangers for no reason and react to others in other harmful ways.
    • Positive symptoms. "Positive" doesn't mean "good." Positive symptoms are things "added" or "new" to your personality or how you experience life. They include:
    • Cognitive symptoms. These symptoms have to do with how you think. They often aren't obvious to you or others. They can include:
      • Memory loss.
      • Not being able to understand things well enough to make decisions.
      • Having trouble talking clearly to others.
    1 | 2 | 3
    1 | 2 | 3
    Next Article:

    Today on WebMD

    vincent van gogh
    Famous faces you may recognize.
    Be aware of these warning signs.
    man with blurred face
    The real truth on this condition.
    dreamy psychodelic house and trees
    Types and causes.
    depressed woman
    Mental Health Psychotic Disorders
    Schizophrenia What Increases Your Risk
    mother and daughter
    boy hiding under blanket
    male patient with doctor
    introverted girl
    Recognizing Suicidal Behavior