Schizophrenia: Signs, symptoms & treatment

Schizophrenia: Signs, symptoms & treatment

Ahmed Raza

Schizophrenia is an acute mental disorder in which one experiences an abnormal reality. This condition involves distortions in perception, thinking, language, and emotional behavior. Common experiences associated with schizophrenia include hallucinations (hearing voices or seeing imaginary objects abuse ability) and delusions (fixed and false concepts).

Schizophrenia is treatable. However, lifelong treatment is required. Early treatment can help get symptoms under control before more serious complications develop. Continued treatment improves the lifetime outlook.

Schizophrenia is a severe and chronic mental disorder affecting as many as 20 million people worldwide. People with schizophrenia have lost the sense of reality which causes distress for people, friends, and family. The symptoms of schizophrenia are persistent and may be disabling if the disease is not managed appropriately. It cannot be treated without medical professionals.

Signs and symptoms

Schizophrenia is a type of mental illness with psychotic features. It involves distortions in thinking, emotions, perceptions, sense of self, language, and behavior. Common symptoms include:

Causes of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia may be caused by an interaction between genes and environmental factors. Psychosocial factors can also lead to schizophrenia. Following are the common risk factors:


Schizophrenia is sometimes inherited. Several different genes increase the risk of creating schizophrenia. However, a single gene doesn’t cause the disorder itself. Nevertheless, scientists can’t use genetic information to ascertain the real cause of developing schizophrenia.


It is thought that interactions between genetic risk and aspects of a patient’s environment can play a key role in the development of schizophrenia. Environmental factors may include poverty, stressful living conditions, exposure to viruses, or malnutrition before birth.

Brain structure and function

Scientists believe that brain function, structure, and interactions between neurotransmitters can result in the development of schizophrenia.


When left untreated, schizophrenia can lead to severe complications that affect the patient’s whole life. The following complications are associated with schizophrenia:


Treatment of schizophrenia is quite difficult, and there is no sure way to prevent it. Sticking with the treatment plan can help prevent relapses or worsening signs and symptoms. Researchers are hopeful that learning more about risk factors for the disease may guide earlier diagnosis and treatment.

Schizophrenia is curable. Treatment with medication and psychosocial support is an effective way to relieve the symptoms of schizophrenia. Most people with schizophrenia have no access to treatment. When the symptoms of schizophrenia are controlled, various types of treatment must continue to help the patient manage the disorder and improve their life.

Psychosocial support and therapy can help patients learn social skills, cope with stress, identify signs of relapse, and extend periods of remission. Schizophrenia commonly attacks in early adulthood. Those with the disorder often benefit from rehabilitation for developing life-management skills, completing educational or vocational training, and seeking a job.

Studies demonstrate that supported employment programs are helpful to enable people with schizophrenia to become more self-sufficient. This evidence-based intervention helps people with schizophrenia obtain regular wages related to their preferences.

An optimistic approach is very important for patients, family members, and mental health professionals. Many patients have a curable course of illness that conditions can often be controlled, and personal patient abilities must be kept in mind and supported.

Ways to help a person with schizophrenia

Many loved ones struggle with understanding how to help a person with schizophrenia. The following things may be helpful for those with schizophrenia:


Last reviewed and updated by on Apr 20, 2022

Caitlin Goodwin, DNP, RN, CNM, is a Board Certified Nurse-Midwife, Registered Nurse, and freelance writer. She has over twelve years of experience in nursing practice.

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