Schizophrenia is considered a chronic brain disorder, meaning it’s present for life and has no known cure. Although signs and symptoms vary from person to person, common symptoms include having paranoid, delusional thoughts, seeing or hearing things that don’t exist through hallucinations, and having an exaggerated or distorted perception of reality. Other symptoms are:
Schizophrenia is rarely diagnosed in children or teens, even if some early signs or symptoms can be seen. In most cases, symptoms first appear in early adulthood. Symptoms vary in severity, going into remission or becoming more severe over time.
Researchers don’t yet know exactly what causes schizophrenia, but they do believe that genetics, brain chemistry, and environment may play a combined role in its development. Certain factors increase your risk of developing the disease, including:
Because people with schizophrenia typically lack awareness about their condition, it’s often up to family or friends to help them seek the treatment they require to live a full, productive life. Psychiatric treatment can be the difference between life and death for someone with schizophrenia. If left untreated, people with this brain disorder are more likely to self-harm, develop anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorders, become depressed, isolate themselves from others, abuse alcohol or drugs, or think about or attempt suicide. Along with other supports, psychiatric therapy helps patients cope with stress, identify impending relapse signs, learn social skills, and develop the life-management skills they need to become self-sufficient.
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