is a chronic, severe, and progressively disabling disease of the brain. People with schizophrenia often suffer terrifying symptoms such as hearing voices not heard by others, or believing that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. These symptoms may leave them fearful and withdrawn. Their speech and behavior can be so disorganized that they may be incomprehensible or frightening to others.
The combination of severe symptoms and chronic course of illness can cause a high degree of disability for those who suffer from schizophrenia. Approximately 1% of the population develops schizophrenia during their lifetime; more than 2 million Americans suffer from the illness. Although schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency, the disorder often appears earlier in men. Men are usually affected in their late teens or early twenties, while women are generally affected in their twenties to early thirties.
Researchers aren’t sure what causes schizophrenia. Problems with brain structure and chemistry are thought to play a role. There also appears to be a genetic component. Some researchers believe that environmental factors may contribute. Some have theorized that a viral infection in infancy and/or extreme stress may trigger schizophrenia in people who are predisposed.
Schizophrenia increases a person’s risk of suicide, self-mutilation, substance abuse, and other social problems such as being unemployed, homeless, and incarcerated.
affects a significant number of people with schizophrenia.
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a