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:
Having family members with schizophrenia
Trauma during childhood, such as abuse, death of a parent, or bullying
Personal or family history of migration
Marijuana or other drug use
Having a father who is 55 years or older at the time of birth
Problems during pregnancy or birth
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:
Hearing things that are not there
Having strange beliefs that are not based in reality
Disorganized thinking, speech, and behavior
Withdrawal from others
Flat speech and a lack of facial expression
Problems feeling pleasure
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.
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:
Support program to address concerns like such as social skills training, family therapy, and support groups
Crisis management plan—to help identify signs of recurrence and have support ready to help
Hospitalization for severe symptoms
Regular exercise and yoga
There are no current guidelines to prevent schizophrenia. The exact cause is not known.
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
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