Understanding Schizophrenia

What Is Schizophrenia?

Many people think that schizophrenia just means split or multiple personalities. But that is incorrect. Schizophrenia is a type of mental illness that can affect a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, and relate to others. Schizophrenia usually starts in one’s teens or early adulthood and research has linked it to changes in brain chemistry and structure. Scientists are still not sure why some people develop schizophrenia, but they do know that its symptoms can be managed with counseling and medication.

There are three types of schizophrenia symptoms: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms:

  • Positive symptoms include delusional thinking (such as believing that one is controlled by other people), “hearing things,” and, less often, “seeing things”
  • Negative symptoms include speaking problems, social withdrawal, decreased movement, and an inability to feel pleasure
  • Cognitive symptoms include trouble with prioritizing tasks, memory, and organizing thoughts