Schizophrenia is a ‘Psychotic Illness’; this means that the person has difficulty telling the difference between the thoughts in their head and reality. Schizophrenia can cause people to experience psychotic symptoms including hallucinations (seeing, hearing and smelling things that are not really there) and delusions (believing things that are not real to be true). A common myth about Schizophrenia is that it is a split personality – this is not true.

The symptoms of Schizophrenia are classified as being Positive or Negative.

Positive symptoms include changes in thinking and behaviour such as hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations and delusions feel very real to the person experiencing them. Sometimes these may be experienced as being pleasant but more commonly they can be frightening and threatening towards the person experiencing them. Schizophrenia can cause confused thoughts and the person may have difficulty concentrating or holding a conversation. Behaviour can change in Schizophrenia, sometimes becoming unpredictable or disorganised.

Negative symptoms include social withdrawal, appearing flat and emotionless and not doing things you would expect to see in a healthy person. The person may become less interested in hobbies or social activities. The negative symptoms of schizophrenia can cause problems in friendships and relationships because they can sometimes be mistaken as the individual being rude or not making an effort to maintain the relationship.

Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the population. It affects men and women equally and is most commonly diagnosed between the ages of 15-35.

Find out more about Schizophrenia from this NHS booklet.

If you are concerned about your own health or if you are worried about a friend or loved one then please seek advice from your GP.  Additional information and sources of help are shown below.

If you are a carer for someone with Schizophrenia then please click here.

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