Schizophrenia - Mental Health Disorders - Merck Manuals Consumer Version (2023)

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by loss of contact with reality (psychosis), hallucinations (usually, hearing voices), firmly held false beliefs (delusions), abnormal thinking and behavior, reduced expression of emotions, diminished motivation, a decline in mental function (cognition), and problems in daily functioning, including work, social relationships, and self-care.

  • Neither the cause nor the mechanism of schizophrenia is known.

  • People may have a variety of symptoms, ranging from bizarre behavior and rambling, disorganized speech to loss of emotions and little or no speech to inability to concentrate and remember.

  • Doctors diagnose schizophrenia based on symptoms after they do tests to rule out other possible causes of psychosis.

  • Treatment involves antipsychotic drugs, training programs and community support activities, psychotherapy, and family education.

  • How well people do can be influenced by whether they take their medications as prescribed.

  • Early detection and early treatment improve long-term functioning.

(See also Introduction to Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Introduction to Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders— brief psychotic disorder, delusional disorder, schizoaffective disorder, schizophreniform disorder, and schizotypal personality disorder—are characterized... read more .)

Schizophrenia is a major health problem throughout the world. The disorder typically strikes young people at the very time they are establishing their independence and can result in lifelong disability and stigma. In terms of personal and economic costs, schizophrenia has been described as among the worst disorders afflicting humankind.

Overview of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia - Mental Health Disorders - Merck Manuals Consumer Version (1)


Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the population worldwide, men and women equally. In the United States, schizophrenia accounts for about 1 of every 5 Social Security disability days and 2.5% of all health care expenditures. Schizophrenia is more common than Alzheimer disease and multiple sclerosis.

Determining when schizophrenia begins (onset) is often difficult because unfamiliarity with symptoms may delay medical care for several years. The average age at onset is the early to mid-20s for men and slightly later for women. Onset during childhood Schizophrenia in Children and Adolescents Schizophrenia is a chronic disorder involving abnormal thoughts, perceptions, and social behavior and causing considerable problems with relationships and functioning. It lasts 6 months or more... read more is rare, but schizophrenia may begin during adolescence or, rarely, late in life.

Deterioration in social functioning can lead to a substance use disorder Substance Use Disorders Substance use disorders generally involve behavior patterns in which people continue to use a substance (for example, a recreational drug) despite having problems caused by its use. The substances... read more , poverty, and homelessness. People with untreated schizophrenia may lose contact with their families and friends and often find themselves living on the streets of large cities. The condition can last a lifetime, with poor psychosocial functioning throughout the lifetime in most cases.

Did You Know...

  • Schizophrenia is more common than Alzheimer disease and multiple sclerosis.

  • Various disorders, including thyroid disorders, brain tumors, seizure disorders, and other brain disorders, can cause symptoms similar to those of schizophrenia.

Causes of Schizophrenia

What precisely causes schizophrenia is not known, but current research suggests a combination of hereditary and environmental factors. Fundamentally, however, it is a biologic problem (involving molecular and functional changes in the brain), although certain external factors such as major life stresses or substance use Substance Use Disorders Substance use disorders generally involve behavior patterns in which people continue to use a substance (for example, a recreational drug) despite having problems caused by its use. The substances... read more can serve as triggers.

Factors that make people vulnerable to schizophrenia include the following:

  • A genetic predisposition

  • Problems that occurred before, during, or after birth, such as influenza in the mother during the 2nd trimester of pregnancy, lack of oxygen during delivery, a low birth weight, and incompatibility of the mother’s and infant’s blood type

  • Infections of the brain

  • Cannabis use in early teen years

People who have a parent or sibling with schizophrenia have about a 10% risk of developing the disorder, compared with a 1% risk among the general population. An identical twin whose co-twin has schizophrenia has about a 50% risk of developing schizophrenia. These statistics suggest that heredity is involved.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia may begin suddenly, over a period of days or weeks, or slowly and gradually, over a period of years. Although the severity and types of symptoms vary among different people with schizophrenia, the symptoms are usually sufficiently severe to interfere with the ability to work, interact with people, and care for oneself.

Mental Health Myths PODCAST

However, symptoms are sometimes mild at first (called the prodrome). People may simply appear withdrawn, disorganized, or suspicious. Doctors may recognize these symptoms as the beginning of schizophrenia, but sometimes doctors recognize them only in hindsight.

Schizophrenia is characterized by psychotic symptoms, which include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and speech, and bizarre and inappropriate behavior. Psychotic symptoms involve a loss of contact with reality.

In some people with schizophrenia, mental (cognitive) function declines, sometimes from the very beginning of the disorder. This cognitive impairment leads to difficulty paying attention, thinking in the abstract, and solving problems. The severity of cognitive impairment largely determines overall disability in people with schizophrenia. Many people with schizophrenia are unemployed and have little or no contact with family members or other people.

Symptoms may be triggered or worsened by stressful life events, such as losing a job or ending a romantic relationship. Drug use Recreational Drugs and Intoxicants , including use of marijuana, may trigger or worsen symptoms as well.

Overall, the symptoms of schizophrenia fall into four major categories:

  • Positive symptoms

  • Negative symptoms

  • Disorganization

  • Cognitive impairment

People may have symptoms from any or all categories.

Positive symptoms

Positive symptoms involve a distortion of normal functions. They include the following:

  • Delusions are false beliefs that usually involve a misinterpretation of perceptions or experiences. Also, people maintain these beliefs despite clear evidence that contradicts them. There are many possible types of delusion. For example, people with schizophrenia may have persecutory delusions, believing that they are being tormented, followed, tricked, or spied on. They may have delusions of reference, believing that passages from books, newspapers, or song lyrics are directed specifically at them. They may have delusions of thought withdrawal or thought insertion, believing that others can read their mind, that their thoughts are being transmitted to others, or that thoughts and impulses are being imposed on them by outside forces. Delusions in schizophrenia may be bizarre or not. Bizarre delusions are clearly implausible and not derived from ordinary life experiences. For example, people may believe that someone removed their internal organs without leaving a scar. Delusions that are not bizarre involve situations that could happen in real life, such as being followed or having a spouse or partner who is unfaithful.

  • Hallucinations involve hearing, seeing, tasting, or physically feeling things that no one else does. Hallucinations that are heard (auditory hallucinations) are by far the most common. People may hear voices in their head commenting on their behavior, conversing with one another, or making critical and abusive comments.

Negative symptoms

Negative symptoms involve a decrease in or loss of normal emotional and social functions. They include the following:

  • Reduced expression of emotions (blunted affect) involves showing little or no emotion. The face may appear immobile. People make little or no eye contact. People do not use their hands or head to add emotional emphasis as they speak. Events that would normally make them laugh or cry produce no response.

  • Poverty of speech refers to a decreased amount of speech. Answers to questions may be terse, perhaps one or two words, creating the impression of an inner emptiness.

  • Anhedonia refers to a diminished capacity to experience pleasure. People may take little interest in previous activities and spend more time in purposeless activities.

  • Asociality refers to a lack of interest in relationships with other people.

These negative symptoms are often associated with a general loss of motivation, sense of purpose, and goals.


Disorganization involves thought disorders and bizarre behavior:

  • Thought disorder refers to disorganized thinking, which becomes apparent when speech is rambling or shifts from one topic to another. Speech may be mildly disorganized or completely incoherent and incomprehensible.

  • Bizarre behavior may take the form of childlike silliness, agitation, or inappropriate appearance, hygiene, or conduct. Catatonia is an extreme form of bizarre behavior in which people maintain a rigid posture and resist efforts to be moved or, in contrast, move randomly.

Cognitive impairment

Cognitive impairment refers to difficulty concentrating, remembering, organizing, planning, and problem solving. Some people are unable to concentrate sufficiently to read, follow the story line of a movie or television show, or follow directions. Others are unable to ignore distractions or remain focused on a task. Consequently, work that involves attention to detail, involvement in complicated procedures, decision making, and understanding of social interactions may be impossible.


About 5 to 6% of people with schizophrenia commit suicide, about 20% attempt it, and many more have significant thoughts of suicide. Suicide is the major cause of premature death among young people with schizophrenia and is one of the main reasons why schizophrenia reduces average life span by 10 years.

Risk of suicide is increased in young men with schizophrenia, especially if they also have a substance use disorder Substance Use Disorders Substance use disorders generally involve behavior patterns in which people continue to use a substance (for example, a recreational drug) despite having problems caused by its use. The substances... read more . Risk is also increased in people who have depressive symptoms or feelings of hopelessness, who are unemployed, or who have just had a psychotic episode or been discharged from the hospital.

Risk of suicide is greatest for people who developed schizophrenia late in life and who were functioning well before it developed. Such people remain able to feel grief and anguish. Thus, they may be more likely to act in despair because they recognize the effects of their disorder. These people are also the ones with the best prognosis for recovery.

Did You Know...

  • About 5 to 6% of people with schizophrenia commit suicide.


Contrary to popular opinion, people with schizophrenia have only a slightly increased risk for violent behavior. Threats of violence and minor aggressive outbursts are far more common than seriously dangerous behavior. A very few severely depressed, isolated, paranoid people attack or murder someone whom they perceive as the single source of their difficulties (for example, an authority, a celebrity, their spouse).

People who are more likely to engage in significant violence include the following:

  • Those who use alcohol Alcohol Use Alcohol (ethanol) is a depressant (it slows down brain and nervous system functioning). Consuming large amounts rapidly or regularly can cause health problems, including organ damage, coma,... read more or recreational drugs Recreational Drugs and Intoxicants

  • Those with delusions that they are being persecuted

  • Those whose hallucinations command them to commit violent acts

  • Those who do not take their prescribed drugs

However, even taking risk factors into account, doctors find it difficult to accurately predict whether a given person with schizophrenia will commit a violent act.

Diagnosis of Schizophrenia

  • A doctor's evaluation, based on specific criteria

  • Laboratory and imaging tests to rule out other disorders

No definitive test exists to diagnose schizophrenia. A doctor makes the diagnosis based on a comprehensive assessment of a person’s history and symptoms.

Schizophrenia is diagnosed when both of the following are present:

  • Two or more characteristic symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, disorganized behavior, negative symptoms) persist for at least 6 months.

  • These symptoms cause significant deterioration in work, school, or social functioning.

Information from family members, friends, or teachers is often important in establishing when the disorder began.

Laboratory tests are often done to rule out a substance use disorder Substance Use Disorders Substance use disorders generally involve behavior patterns in which people continue to use a substance (for example, a recreational drug) despite having problems caused by its use. The substances... read more or an underlying medical, neurologic, or hormonal disorder, that can have features of psychosis. Examples of such disorders include brain tumors, temporal lobe epilepsy, thyroid disorders, autoimmune disorders, Huntington disease, liver disorders, side effects of drugs, and vitamin deficiencies. Testing for substance use disorder is sometimes done.

Imaging tests of the brain, such as computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), may be done to rule out a brain tumor. Although people with schizophrenia have brain abnormalities that may be seen on CT or MRI, the abnormalities are not specific enough to help in diagnosing schizophrenia.

In addition, doctors try to rule out a number of other mental disorders that share features with schizophrenia, such as brief psychotic disorder Brief Psychotic Disorder The symptoms of brief psychotic disorder resemble the delusions, hallucinations, or other psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia, but they last for a much shorter time (from 1 day to 1 month).... read more , schizophreniform disorder Schizophreniform Disorder Schizophreniform disorder causes symptoms of schizophrenia, but the symptoms last only 1 to 6 months. As in schizophrenia, people with schizophreniform disorder have symptoms such as delusions... read more , schizoaffective disorder Schizoaffective Disorder Schizoaffective disorder is characterized by the presence of mood symptoms, such as depression or mania, plus the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia. Psychosis refers to symptoms such as delusions... read more , and schizotypal personality disorder Schizotypal Personality Disorder Schizotypal personality disorder is characterized by a pervasive pattern of intense discomfort with and reduced capacity for close relationships, by distorted ways of thinking and perceiving... read more .

Prognosis for Schizophrenia

Early detection and early treatment have become the guiding principles for managing schizophrenia. The sooner treatment is started, the better the outcome.

For people with schizophrenia, the prognosis depends largely on adherence to drug treatment. Without drug treatment, 70 to 80% of people have another episode within the first year after diagnosis. Drugs taken continuously can reduce this percentage to about 30% and can lessen the severity of symptoms significantly in most people. After discharge from a hospital, people who do not take prescribed drugs are very likely to be readmitted within the year. Taking drugs as directed dramatically reduces the likelihood of being readmitted.

Despite the proven benefit of drug therapy, half of people with schizophrenia do not take their prescribed drugs. Some do not recognize their illness and resist taking drugs. Others stop taking their drugs because of unpleasant side effects. Memory problems, disorganization, or simply a lack of money prevents others from taking their drugs.

Adherence is most likely to improve when specific barriers are addressed. If side effects of drugs are a major problem, a change to a different drug may help. A consistent, trusting relationship with a doctor or other therapist helps some people with schizophrenia to accept their illness more readily and recognize the need for adhering to prescribed treatment.

Over longer periods, the prognosis varies, roughly as follows:

  • One third of people achieve significant and lasting improvement.

  • One third achieve some improvement with intermittent relapses and residual disabilities.

  • One third experience severe and permanent incapacity.

Only about 15% of all people with schizophrenia are able to function as well as they could before schizophrenia developed.

Factors associated with a better prognosis include the following:

  • Sudden onset of symptoms

  • Older age when symptoms start

  • A good level of skills and accomplishments before becoming ill

  • Only slight cognitive impairment

  • Presence of only a few negative symptoms (such as reduced expression of emotions)

  • A shorter time between the first psychotic episode and treatment

Factors associated with a poor prognosis include the following:

  • Younger age when symptoms start

  • Problems functioning in social situations and at work before becoming ill

  • A family history of schizophrenia

  • Presence of many negative symptoms

  • A longer time between the first psychotic episode and treatment

Men have a poorer prognosis than women. Women respond better to treatment with antipsychotic drugs.

Treatment of Schizophrenia

  • Antipsychotic drugs

  • Psychotherapy

  • Coordinated specialty care

Generally, treatment of schizophrenia aims

  • To reduce the severity of psychotic symptoms

  • To prevent the recurrence of symptomatic episodes and the associated deterioration in functioning

  • To provide support and thus enable people to function at the highest level possible

Early detection and early treatment are important. The earlier treatment begins, the better the outcome.

Antipsychotic drugs, rehabilitation and community support activities, and psychotherapy are the major components of treatment. Teaching family members about the symptoms and treatment of schizophrenia (family psychoeducation) helps provide support for them and helps health care practitioners maintain contact with the person who has schizophrenia.

Coordinated specialty care, which includes resilience training, personal and family therapy, addressing cognitive dysfunction, and supported employment, is an important aspect of psychosocial recovery.

Antipsychotic drugs

Antipsychotic drugs Antipsychotic Drugs Psychosis refers to symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and speech, and bizarre and inappropriate motor behavior that indicate loss of contact with reality. A number... read more can be effective in reducing or eliminating symptoms, such as delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking. After the immediate symptoms have cleared, the continued use of antipsychotic drugs substantially reduces the probability of future episodes. However, antipsychotic drugs have significant side effects, which can include drowsiness, muscle stiffness, tremors, involuntary movements (for example, tardive dyskinesia), weight gain, and restlessness. The newer antipsychotic (second-generation) drugs, which are prescribed most often, are less likely to cause muscle stiffness, tremors, and tardive dyskinesia than conventional (first-generation) antipsychotic drugs.

Rehabilitation programs and community support activities

Rehabilitation and support programs, such as on-the-job coaching, are directed at teaching people the skills they need to live in the community, rather than in an institution. These skills enable people with schizophrenia to work, shop, care for themselves, manage a household, and get along with others.

Community support services provide services that enable people with schizophrenia to live as independently as possible. These services include a supervised apartment or group home where a staff member is present to ensure that a person with schizophrenia takes drugs as prescribed or to help the person with finances. Or a staff member may visit the person's home periodically.

Hospitalization may be needed during severe relapses, and involuntary hospitalization may be needed if people pose a danger to themselves or others. However, the general goal is to have people live in the community.

A few people with schizophrenia are unable to live independently, either because they have severe, persistent symptoms or because drug therapy has not been effective. They usually require full-time care in a safe and supportive setting.

Support and advocacy groups, such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, are often helpful to families.


Generally, psychotherapy does not lessen the symptoms of schizophrenia. However, psychotherapy can be helpful by establishing a collaborative relationship between people with schizophrenia, their family members, and the doctor. That way, people may learn to understand and manage their disorder, to take antipsychotic drugs as prescribed, and to manage stresses that can aggravate the disorder. A good doctor-patient relationship is often a major determinant of whether treatment is successful.

If people with schizophrenia live with their families, they and their family members may be offered psychoeducation. This training provides people and their family members with information about the disorder and about ways to manage it—for example, by teaching them coping skills. This training can help prevent relapses.

More Information


What are coping strategies for schizophrenia? ›

Keep a journal for mental health — writing offers an outlet and can be an excellent coping skill for schizophrenia; you'll be able to release your thoughts and reflect on your experiences. Workout or do yoga several times a week. Seek therapy to help you learn more effective ways to manage stress.

How do you deal with schizophrenia voices? ›

Coping with hearing voices
  1. Understand your voices.
  2. Communicate with your voices.
  3. Distract yourself from your voices.
  4. Talk to other people who hear voices.
  5. Look after yourself.
  6. Find spiritual help.

How do you deal with delusions and hallucinations schizophrenia? ›

Focus your attention on a distracting activity such as reading, singing, listening to music, gardening, or exercising. Talk back to the voices: Challenge them and insist that they go away. Manage your levels of stress and anxiety. Ensure that you are getting enough sleep.

What are the 4 5 basic types of schizophrenic disorders? ›

There are actually several different types of schizophrenia depending on the person's symptoms, but generally, the main types of schizophrenia include paranoid schizophrenia, catatonic schizophrenia, disorganized or hebephrenic schizophrenia, residual schizophrenia, and undifferentiated schizophrenia.

What not to say to someone with schizophrenia? ›

What not to say to someone with schizophrenia
  • Avoid dismissing them. Never tell your loved one that their symptoms are “not true,” “not real,” “imaginary,” or all in their head.
  • Aim to be nonjudgmental. ...
  • Don't pressure them to talk. ...
  • Avoid arguments about their beliefs. ...
  • Steer clear of accusations.
Jul 30, 2021

What triggers schizophrenia? ›

The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown. Research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make a person more likely to develop the condition. Some people may be prone to schizophrenia, and a stressful or emotional life event might trigger a psychotic episode.

Do schizophrenic voices ever stop? ›

While the voices go away for some, for many, they never completely fade. But it's possible to learn to manage them and take back some control in your day-to-day life.

What medication stops voices? ›

If your voices are very troubling and you have been referred to a psychiatrist, they may prescribe an antipsychotic drug. These drugs may: Stop the voices or reduce how often you hear them.

Do schizophrenics know something is wrong? ›

Would you recognize that something was wrong? Unfortunately, most people with schizophrenia are unaware that their symptoms are warning signs of a mental disorder. Their lives may be unraveling, yet they may believe that their experiences are normal.

What are the two most common delusions associated with schizophrenia? ›

Common delusions of control include thought broadcasting (“My private thoughts are being transmitted to others”), thought insertion (“Someone is planting thoughts in my head”), and thought withdrawal (“The CIA is robbing me of my thoughts”).

How do you calm down a paranoid schizophrenic? ›

Topic Overview
  1. Don't argue. ...
  2. Use simple directions, if needed. ...
  3. Give the person enough personal space so that he or she does not feel trapped or surrounded. ...
  4. Call for help if you think anyone is in danger.
  5. Move the person away from the cause of the fear or from noise and activity, if possible.

What are the most commonly reported hallucinations in schizophrenia? ›

Auditory hallucinations, “hearing voices,” are the most common in schizophrenia and related disorders.

What are the 3 brain abnormalities found with schizophrenia? ›

In MRI studies of schizophrenia, the most consistent findings include reduced gray matter volumes of the medial temporal, superior temporal, and prefrontal areas.

What are the 7 types of schizophrenia? ›

Types of schizophrenia
  • Paranoid schizophrenia. This is the most common type of schizophrenia. ...
  • Hebephrenic schizophrenia. ...
  • Catatonic schizophrenia. ...
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia. ...
  • Residual schizophrenia. ...
  • Simple schizophrenia. ...
  • Unspecified schizophrenia.

What are the 4 A's of schizophrenia? ›

The role of delusions in schizophrenia psychopathology

The fundamental symptoms, which are virtually present through all the course of the disorder (7), are also known as the famous Bleuler's four A's: Alogia, Autism, Ambivalence, and Affect blunting (8).

What can worsen schizophrenia? ›

Drug and alcohol use

If you already have schizophrenia, research shows that using recreational drugs may worsen your symptoms. Some studies suggest that people who use high-potency cannabis ('skunk') when in recovery are more likely to have a relapse too.

Does schizophrenia affect walking? ›

Patients with schizophrenia have decreased walking speed because of a smaller stride length. Reduced muscular power is associated with a reduction in the walking speed in persons without mental disorders.

What is the main drug used to treat schizophrenia? ›

Haloperidol, fluphenazine, and chlorpromazine are known as conventional, or typical, antipsychotics and have been used to treat schizophrenia for years.

Is schizophrenia inherited from mother or father? ›

Past studies have reported that offspring of affected mothers have a higher risk of schizophrenia than the offspring of affected fathers; however, other studies found no such maternal effect [Gottesman and Shields, 1976].

Which behavior is most suggestive of schizophrenia? ›

The 10 most common ones are:
  • Disorganized thinking. ...
  • Concentration and memory problems. ...
  • Overly excited. ...
  • Grandiosity. ...
  • Emotional withdrawal. ...
  • Lack of emotional expressions (blunted) ...
  • Difficulty with abstract thinking. ...
  • Extremely disorganized or catatonic behavior.

Can you see schizophrenia on an MRI? ›

In patients with schizophrenia, MR imaging shows a smaller total brain volume and enlarged ventricles. Specific subcortical regions are affected, with reduced hippocampal and thalamic volumes, and an increase in the volume of the globus pallidus.

What do schizophrenics do all day? ›

People with the disorder may hear voices other people don't hear, or see things that others don't see. They may believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. They may sit for hours without moving or talking.

Why do schizophrenics talk so much? ›

This is due to several factors: - People with schizophrenia often have trouble distinguishing between what is real and what is not. This may cause them to act or speak in ways that do not make sense to other people. - People with schizophrenia often do not experience the usual range of emotions that most people feel.

What is the best drug for auditory hallucinations? ›

Medications to manage auditory hallucinations

The antipsychotic medication clozapine (Clozaril®) is the most effective option for treating symptoms of schizophrenia, including hallucinations, but it can cause dangerous side effects that affect your blood.

What are 3 treatments for schizophrenia? ›

These may include:
  • Individual therapy. Psychotherapy may help to normalize thought patterns. ...
  • Social skills training. This focuses on improving communication and social interactions and improving the ability to participate in daily activities.
  • Family therapy. ...
  • Vocational rehabilitation and supported employment.
Jan 7, 2020

What is the monthly injection for schizophrenia? ›

ABILIFY MAINTENA® (aripiprazole) is a prescription medicine given by injection by a healthcare professional for: treatment of schizophrenia in adults.

How do schizophrenics see the world? ›

People with schizophrenia perceive the hallucination as very real and can describe it as running commentary or criticizing remarks. Delusions. These false beliefs may include fears that others are “out to get them” or that the TV or radio is broadcasting special messages just for them.

What is schizophrenia usually confused with? ›

Sometimes, people confuse dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, and schizophrenia.

Can schizophrenic love? ›

Living with schizophrenia, it is possible to meet people, to socialize and make friends, and to have a loving intimate relationship. The best way to find a path to a healthy relationship is to treat your illness.

Do schizophrenics know they are hallucinating? ›

It is possible to experience hallucinations while being aware that they aren't real. As with delusions, this would require a meta-awareness of the unreality of what appears to be a real experience.

Can trauma cause schizophrenia? ›

Trauma may cause changes in the body and affect neurotransmitters in the brain, increasing the risk of psychotic symptoms or schizophrenia. Childhood trauma may trigger schizophrenia in those susceptible to it, and people may experience symptoms between their late teens and early 30s.

What do schizophrenics see when they hallucinate? ›

Visual hallucinations in those with schizophrenia tend to involve vivid scenes with family members, religious figures, and animals. Reactions to these visions can vary and include fear, pleasure, or indifference.

How do you make a schizophrenic happy? ›

7 Ways to Support a Loved One with Schizophrenia
  1. Read up.
  2. Validate.
  3. Ask questions.
  4. Stay in touch.
  5. Make a crisis plan.
  6. Offer encouragement.
  7. Help with goals.
  8. Things to avoid.
Apr 27, 2021

Can schizophrenics be manipulative? ›

In a study by Watson (14), schizophrenics tended to manipulate the impressions that they made on others via certain &! IMP1 scales, but not through measures of thinking disorder or interview behavior. The extent to which schizophrenic behavior in psychiatric hospitals stems from manipulatory motives is not yet clear.

What not to say when someone is psychotic? ›

not argue, confront or challenge someone about their beliefs or experiences. accept if they don't want to talk to you, but be available if they change their mind. treat the person with respect.

What kind of voice do schizophrenics hear? ›

Most commonly though, people diagnosed with schizophrenia will hear multiple voices that are male, nasty, repetitive, commanding, and interactive, where the person can ask the voice a question and get some kind of answer.”

Do schizophrenics have inappropriate behavior? ›

Studies have shown that around 8% of people with schizophrenia will exhibit unusual overt sexual behaviour such as inappropriate sexual advances, disrobing or masturbating in public15.

What is a Alogia? ›

Some people are naturally quiet and don't say much. But if you have a serious mental illness, brain injury, or dementia, talking might be hard. This lack of conversation is called alogia, or “poverty of speech.” Alogia can affect your quality of life.

Does schizophrenia run in families? ›

Research long ago concluded that schizophrenia was in some ways passed down genetically. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health found that having a relative diagnosed with schizophrenia can raise your chance of being diagnosed with schizophrenia by 10 percent.

What is the most serious subtype of schizophrenia? ›

Catatonic schizophrenia is now considered a rare subtype because it is believed to be largely the result of untreated schizophrenia. It now occurs less frequently among people with schizophrenia as early intervention and treatment has advanced.

Does schizophrenia damage the brain? ›

Schizophrenia has been described as the “worst disease” to afflict mankind. It causes psychosis, which is an abnormal state of mind marked by hyperarousal, overactivation of brain circuits, and emotional distress. An untreated episode of psychosis can result in structural brain damage due to neurotoxicity.

What are the 5 A's of schizophrenia? ›

The negative symptom domain consists of five key constructs: blunted affect, alogia (reduction in quantity of words spoken), avolition (reduced goal-directed activity due to decreased motivation), asociality, and anhedonia (reduced experience of pleasure).

What is the last stage of schizophrenia? ›

The final stage, residual schizophrenia, still causes symptoms. But these aren't as severe or disordered as the active phase. Treatment can help reduce symptoms and prevent relapses. As schizophrenia is a life-long condition, treatment will likely be necessary throughout life.

What is schizophrenia called now? ›

The survey proposed nine alternative names, based partly on the experience of people diagnosed with schizophrenia. Among them: altered perception disorder, attunement disorder, disconnectivity syndrome, integration disorder and psychosis spectrum disorder.

Is schizophrenia a form of autism? ›

Autism and schizophrenia are separate neurodevelopmental disorders that share a number of interpersonal and cognitive deficits. The symptoms of autism first appear during early life while schizophrenic symptoms do not typically appear until adolescence at the earliest.

Which schizophrenia has worst prognosis? ›

Positive symptoms tend to respond better to antipsychotic medication than negative symptoms, which are more persistent. For this reason, patients with fewer negative symptoms tend to have a better prognosis and medication is more effective at helping them to live normal lives.

What are 3 positive symptoms of schizophrenia? ›

Positive and negative symptoms are medical terms for two groups of symptoms in schizophrenia. Positive symptoms add. Positive symptoms include hallucinations (sensations that aren't real), delusions (beliefs that can't be real), and repetitive movements that are hard to control.

What are the 5 approach coping strategies? ›

There are many different conceptualizations of coping strategies, but the five general types of coping strategies are problem-focused coping, emotion-focused coping, social support, religious coping, and meaning making.

What are the 5 types of coping strategies psychology? ›

There are five main types of coping skills: problem-focused strategies, emotion-focused strategies, meaning making, social support, and religious coping.

What are the four basic coping strategies? ›

Weiten has identified four types of coping strategies: appraisal-focused (adaptive cognitive), problem-focused (adaptive behavioral), emotion-focused, and occupation-focused coping.

What are some coping strategies for mental illness? ›

Five of the best problem-based coping skills include:
  • Establishing healthy boundaries.
  • Creating a to-do list.
  • Walking away from a stressful situation.
  • Asking for support from friends, family, or a professional.
  • Practicing time management & problem-solving skills.
May 18, 2022

What are the three A's of coping? ›

When your stress level exceeds your ability to cope, you need to restore the balance by reducing the stressors or increasing your ability to cope or both. Try using one of the four A's: avoid, alter, accept or adapt.

What are the four unhealthy coping strategies? ›

Some of the most common unhealthy coping mechanisms are:
  • Avoiding issues. ...
  • Sleeping too much. ...
  • Excessive drug or alcohol use. ...
  • Impulsive spending. ...
  • Over or under eating.

What part of the brain is responsible during stressful situation? ›

When someone experiences a stressful event, the amygdala, an area of the brain that contributes to emotional processing, sends a distress signal to the hypothalamus.

What are 7 techniques you can use to cope with stress? ›

Healthy Ways to Cope with Stress
  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media. ...
  • Take care of yourself. ...
  • Take care of your body. ...
  • Make time to unwind. ...
  • Talk to others. ...
  • Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol.

What are the five C's for coping with stress? ›

My review produced “5 Cs of resilience”: confidence/control, connections, commitment, calmness, and care for self.

What are 10 coping skills? ›

10 Ways to Cope with Chronic Stress
  • Re-balance Work and Home.
  • Build in Regular Exercise.
  • Eat Well and Limit Alcohol and Stimulants.
  • Connect with Supportive People.
  • Carve out Hobby Time.
  • Practice Meditation, Stress Reduction or Yoga.
  • Sleep Enough.
  • Bond with Your Pet.

What are 5 negative coping strategies? ›

Negative coping responses
  • Criticizing yourself (negative self-talk)
  • Driving fast in a car.
  • Chewing your fingernails.
  • Becoming aggressive or violent (hitting someone, throwing or kicking something)
  • Eating too much or too little or drinking a lot of coffee.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Drinking alcohol.

What is the most effective coping strategy? ›

Take vacations away from home and work. Engage in pleasurable or fun activities every day. Practice relaxation exercises such as yoga, prayer, meditation or progressive muscle relaxation. Avoid use of caffeine and alcohol.

What is maladaptive coping? ›

Maladaptive coping mechanisms, or maladaptive coping strategies, are the methods a person uses to attempt to reduce their stress or anxiety, but in an ineffective, unhealthy way. They are based on maladaptive behaviors.

When should you walk away from someone with mental illness? ›

As much as you might love or care for the individual, if they are emotionally, mentally, or physically abusive, it is okay to step away from the situation. Some examples of emotional, mental, and physical abuse include: Emotional & Mental Abuse: Being dissatisfied, no matter how hard you try or how much you give.

How do you deal with a mentally unstable family member? ›

Clear, honest communication is crucial for all family members. For example, don't be afraid to ask both your ill and healthy children how they feel about the changes to the family. Keeping a line of communication open will help things go more smoothly—both at the time of a new diagnosis, and well into the future.


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