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What is Schizophrenia?

Approximately one percent of the US population has schizophrenia, and it affects men and women of various backgrounds. Although the disorder may be diagnosed throughout the lifespan, typical onset is believed to be when the individual reaches early to middle adulthood. Schizophrenia is a debilitative disease that affects each individual differently, but can be effectively treated via psychological and psychiatric interventions. Schizophrenia is among many diagnoses in which an individual may express psychotic symptoms or patterns of behavior; such thought processes and behaviors are noticeably different from the individual's typical patterns prior to onset, whereby they express delusional thoughts or hallucinations.

What is a Delusion?

A delusion is refers to an irrational thought or belief that is not grounded in reality. Such thoughts frequently are perceived by the individual as true despite whether or not the reality of a particular situation supports the belief or thought.

What is a Hallucination?

A hallucination can affect either visual or auditory processes of the individual. They may perceive sounds or visions that are not perceived by others, and take various forms in terms of content and frequency that the individual experiences them.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia affects each individual differently. However, there are various forms of schizophrenia that are identifiable through psychological assessment, including paranoid, catatonic, disorganized, Residual, and Undifferentiated types. Several primary symptoms of Schizophrenia are likely to be experienced:

The individual likely experiences Delusions or Hallucinations
The individual's speech may make no sense when they are talking
They may display inappropriate movement, or make postures for prolonged time
They may find difficulty in expressing emotion, or be hard to motivate
The individual may experience noteworthy problems in school and work.
The individual may require hospitalization for their symptoms
They might engage in activities that lead to potential legal issues
How can Psychotherapy Help?

An individual who is affected by schizophrenia will significantly benefit from psychiatric interventions in order to deal with pervasive symptoms that they may experience. However, the individual may also benefit from counseling and psychological services in order to:

address appropriate feelings and reactions to their symptoms
provide contacts in order to gain potential prescriptive medication
to ensure appropriate diagnosis is applied to the condition that is experienced
to promote education to friends and family that may also be affected


Mental Health America (MHA)
2000 N. Beauregard St, 6th Floor
Alexandria, VA 22311

The Schizophrenia Homepage

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
6001 Executive Boulevard, Room 8184, MSC 9663
Bethesda, MD 20892-9663
Phone: 301-443-4513 or 866-615-NIMH (6464), toll-free
TTY: 301-443-8431; fax: 301-443-4279
Web site: