How to Say It: skits-uh-FREN-ee-uh
by Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Schizophrenia is a lasting mental health disorder. It causes problems with the way a person thinks, feels, and acts.
The cause is not clear. Genetic and environmental risk factors are thought to play a role.
Things that may raise the risk of this problem are:
Symptoms usually start when a person is in their late teens to mid-30s. Schizophrenia is rare in children.
Problems begin slowly and worsen over time. They get in the way of relationships, school, and work. Common problems are:
A doctor will ask about symptoms and physical and mental health past. A loved one or caregiver may be asked for this information if you cannot provide it. A physical exam will be done. A psychological exam may also be done. This may be enough to make the diagnosis.
Testing may be done to rule out other health problems with similar symptoms, such as substance use disorder and dementia.
There is no cure. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms and slow the disorder. Antipsychotic medicine is the main form of treatment. The exact choice of medicine can be adjusted for each persons needs. Some are taken by mouth, others can be given as a long term injection. Other steps that may help include:
There are no current guidelines to prevent schizophrenia. The exact cause is not known.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
National Institute of Mental Health
Canadian Psychiatric Association
Mental Health Canada
Counseling therapies for schizophrenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dyname... . Accessed September 2, 2020.
Edmunds AL. Psychotic and Bipolar Disorders: Schizophrenia. FP Essent. 2017 Apr;455:11-17.
Help with schizophrenia. American Psychiatric Association website. Available at: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/schizophrenia. Accessed September 2, 2020.
Medications for schizophrenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/management/medications-for-schizophrenia . Accessed September 2, 2020.
Schizophrenia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/schizophrenia . Accessed September 2, 2020.
Schizophrenia. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/schizophrenia/index.shtml. Accessed September 2, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrian Preda, MD
Last Updated: 02/19/2021