What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health condition, described as a psychotic illness, which causes hallucinations, delusions, muddled thoughts and changes in behaviour.
Many experts believe that the condition is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Two of the common misconceptions about schizophrenia are that sufferers have a split or dual personality, and that sufferers are always violent.
How common is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is one of the most common serious mental health conditions, and affects men and women equally. The National Survey of Psychiatric Morbidity in the UK found that 5 in 1000 people experienced a psychotic disorder like schizophrenia.
What are the symptoms of Schizophrenia?
Changes in thinking and behaviour are the most obvious symptoms of schizophrenia. The symptoms of schizophrenia are usually classified into one of two categories: positive or negative.
Positive symptoms include a change in behaviour or thoughts, like hallucinations or delusions. Negative symptoms represent a withdrawal or lack of function, such as few spontaneous movements, lack of motivation and a monotonous voice.
How is Schizophrenia treated?
Treatment and care are usually based in the community, with a mental health care team including psychiatrists, nurses, psychologists and social workers. In severe cases the patients may need to be hospitalised, sometimes against their will by the Mental Health Act. Antipsychotic medication can also be prescribed.
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