Schizophrenia affects mental processes such as thinking, judgment, and sensory perception, and it affects the person’s ability to appropriately interpret and respond to situations or stimuli. It may also cause communication difficulties. Persons with schizophrenia may refuse or resist attempts to help or control the disorder.
The mean age for the first psychotic episode of people with this disorder is approximately age 21 for men and approximately age 26 for women.
Symptoms can include the following:
- Drastic changes in behavior or personality
The most difficult symptom to treat is the failure to recognize that one is ill.
Behaviors may include the following:
- Acute sensory sensitivity
- Hearing voices
- Relating elaborate delusions, including thinking they are someone else (even God)
- Paranoid delusions in which they think people are watching or persecuting them
- Fear that people are putting thoughts into their heads or reading their minds
In later stages, the emotions are flat, and the person may be apathetic, may remain quietly in one place for a long time or be immobile, and may perform ritualistic behaviors.
There is no cure for schizophrenia, but many medications can reduce symptoms.