Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier
WebMD

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine
WebMD

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion
    WebMD

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community
    WebMD

    Community

    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Schizophrenia Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

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

Schizophrenia and Suicide

Schizophrenia is a chronic, disabling mental illness characterized by a wide range of symptoms, including: abnormal thinking loss of contact with reality hallucinations It is strongly linked to an increased risk of suicide attempts and completed suicides. Among people diagnosed with schizophrenia, an estimated 20% to 40% attempt suicide. From 5% to 13% actually complete the act of suicide. Compared to the general population, people with schizophrenia have a...

Read the Schizophrenia and Suicide 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

69X75_Depression.jpg
Article
Mental Health Psychotic Disorders
Article
 
Schizophrenia Medications
Article
bored man resting chin on hands
Article
 
vincent van gogh
Article
paranoia
Slideshow
 
Schizophrenia What Increases Your Risk
Article
mother and daughter
Article
 
boy hiding under blanket
Article
male patient with doctor
Article
 
romantic couple
Article
businesswoman working at desk at night
Article