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You are here:DisordersSchizophreniaWhat is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that can influence the way you think and can alter how you might live your day-to-day life.

It’s quite common and can affect 1 in 100 people.

Schizophrenia can develop when someone is a young adult when they may experience the ‘prodromal phase’ which is characterised by a change in sleep, emotions, motivation and the ability to think and communicate.

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Personally I'm proud to have the label; it has helped shape me into who I am today. A husband, father, brother, & supportive friend to many.

Most people are diagnosed with schizophrenia when they experience an ‘acute episode’ where they might feel panicked and angry.

Experiencing a first acute episode can be a shock. It might feel like it came out of nowhere and the person who experienced it and people close to them may be surprised that it happened.

A psychiatrist can diagnose schizophrenia by carrying out a full psychiatric assessment

Some people may receive a diagnosis of psychosis or a ‘psychotic disorder’ before they are diagnosed with schizophrenia. This is because the diagnosis takes into account how long someone has experienced the symptoms.

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I would like an understanding that there is no and shouldn't be a cure. There is beauty & joy in a schiz mind. Just treat the negative symptoms.

A lot of people experience their schizophrenia as a gift. In that it has given them something special that other people don’t experience.

What causes schizophrenia?

It is not completely known what causes someone to have schizophrenia, and it’s probably due to several things rather than just one thing.

It is believed that brain chemistry, genetics and birth complications can contribute to schizophrenia. There is also the idea that trauma and stressful events can play a part.

Research shows a strong link between the use of cannabis and the development of schizophrenia.

How society sees schizophrenia

Unfortunately a lot of people don’t know a lot about schizophrenia.

This can mean that some people can hold prejudiced and offensive views about the condition, perhaps thinking that having schizophrenia is linked to being violent. This is not true.

Despite what is shown in films and on television, people who have schizophrenia are more likely to hurt themselves than other people.

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I have schizophrenia and I am not violent. I am currently writing a book and poems about my own experiences with this illness.

Research shows that only a small proportion of people who have schizophrenia may become violent and this is similar to the amount of the general public without schizophrenia who might become violent.

Often the way that the media reports violent acts emphasises a person’s mental health condition which can contribute to fear and stigma within the general public.

Some people may believe that having schizophrenia is about having a ‘split personality’. Again, this myth may be spread due to films and television shows. In fact, it is not true that someone with schizophrenia has multiple personalities.

Because of stigma many people don’t tell anyone that they are hearing voices or experiencing other hallucinations which can lead to them feeling isolated.

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