- hallucinations - hearing or seeing things that do not exist
- delusions - unusual beliefs not based on reality which often contradict the evidence
- muddled thoughts based on the hallucinations or delusions
- changes in behaviour
Who is affected?
How is schizophrenia treated?
Schizophrenia is usually treated with a combination of medication and therapy appropriate to each individual. In most cases, this will be antipsychotic medicines and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT).
People with schizophrenia will usually receive help from a community mental health team (CMHT), which will offer day-to-day support and treatment.
Many people recover from schizophrenia, although they may have periods when symptoms return (relapses). Support and treatment can help reduce the impact of the condition on your life.
Living with schizophrenia
If schizophrenia is well managed, it is possible to reduce the chances of severe relapses. This can include:
- recognising signs of an acute episode
- taking medication as prescribed
- talking to others about the condition
There are many charities and support groups offering help and advice on living with schizophrenia. Most people find it comforting to talk to others with a similar condition.
Misconceptions about schizophrenia
It is commonly thought that people with schizophrenia have a split personality, acting perfectly normally one minute and irrationally or bizarrely the next - this is not true.
While there is a link between violence and schizophrenia, the media tend to exaggerate this, with acts of violence committed by people with schizophrenia getting high-profile coverage. This gives the false impression that such acts happen frequently.