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What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves.  Schizophrenia is categorized as a "psychotic" disorder.  The term "psychotic," in its scientific sense, is not as it is regarded within communities or portrayed in media as someone who is "crazy" or "whacked out."  Psychotic refers to a break from reaility as evidenced by the experience of hallucinations and delusions.  While Schizophrenia is more rare than other psychological disorders, its symptoms are usually debilitating.

Hallucinations are the most common symptoms of Schizo-phrenia, and can involve all of the sense organs.   Indicating a break from reality, hallucinations entail sensory perceptions that are not real.  The most common hallucination is auditory, hearng things that are not really there.  The second most common is visual hallucinations, seeing things that are not there.   Other hallucinations include somatic (feeling things on the skin or within the body that are not there); gustatory (tasting things that are not there); olfactory (smelling things that are not there).

Symptoms of Schizophrenia
Treatment for Schizophrenia
Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30. In rare cases, children have schizophrenia too.

The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories:
(1) Positive, (2) Negative, and (3) Cognitive.

People with positive symptoms may “lose touch” with some aspects of reality.

Positive symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Thought disorders (unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking)
  • Movement disorders (agitated body movements)

Negative symptoms: “Negative” symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors.

Negative Symptoms include:

  • “Flat affect” (reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone)
  • Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
  • Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities
  • Reduced speaking

Cognitive symptoms: For some patients, the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia are subtle, but for others, they are more severe and patients may notice changes in their memory or other aspects of thinking.

Cognitive symptoms include:

  • Poor “executive functioning” (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention
  • Problems with “working memory” (the ability to use information immediately after learning it)

Source:  NIMH

Antipsychotic medications are usually taken daily in pill or liquid form. Some antipsychotics are injections that are given once or twice a month. Some people have side effects when they start taking medications, but most side effects go away after a few days. Doctors and patients can work together to find the best medication or medication combination, and the right dose.


Psychotherapeutic approaches are helpful after patients and their doctor find a medication that works. Learning and using coping skills to address the everyday challenges of schizophrenia helps people to pursue their life goals, such as attending school or work. Individuals who participate in regular psychosocial treatment are less likely to have relapses or be hospitalized.

Coordinated specialty care (CSC)

This treatment model integrates medication, psychosocial therapies, case management, family involvement, and supported education and employment services, all aimed at reducing symptoms and improving quality of life. The NIMH Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) research project seeks to fundamentally change the trajectory and prognosis of schizophrenia through coordinated specialty care treatment in the earliest stages of the disorder.

Source:  NIMH
Schizophrenia Brief Assessment
The brief Schizophrenia/Psychosis Assessment is not intended to provide you with a diagnosis.  It can be used to provide you with further insight into whether you should seek counseling.  You should not use the assessment alone to make a determination.  It is just one tool to add to all the factors you can consider in deciding to seek treatment.

Assessment Source:  Mental Health America (MHA)
Schizophrenia Brief Assessment