Schizophrenia: Understanding the Symptoms and Getting Help

What is schizophrenia


This blog teaches you a lot about schizophrenia, a serious mental disorder. It explains how it affects the way people think, act, and see the world, often starting when they’re teenagers or in their twenties. The blog talks about the three main types of symptoms: seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (psychotic), feeling unmotivated and withdrawn (negative), and having trouble thinking clearly (cognitive). 

It also looks at things like genetics, brain chemicals, and stressful events that can make someone more likely to develop schizophrenia. The blog stresses how important it is to get help early and talks about different treatments like therapy and medication that can help manage the symptoms and make life better. It’s meant to help people understand schizophrenia better, know when to seek help, and find ways to improve their lives.

We discuss these topics in this blog 

What is schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a big problem in the brain that makes it hard to think clearly and act normally. People with schizophrenia might seem confused or disconnected from what’s happening around them. This can be scary and upsetting for them and their loved ones. Even though it can make daily tasks difficult, there are good treatments that can help. With treatment, many people with schizophrenia can go to school or work, live on their own, and have good relationships.

What are the indications and manifestations of schizophrenia?

Early Signs Matter in Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia often shows its first signs in people’s teens or twenties, with doctors making the diagnosis after a big episode where someone can’t tell what’s real and what’s not (psychosis). The good news is that getting help early, right after that first episode, can make a big difference. But even before that big episode, there might be gradual changes in how someone thinks, feels, and acts. It’s rare for young children to have schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia Symptoms: Three Main Groups

Schizophrenia symptoms can vary from person to person, but they generally fall into three main groups:

  • Psychotic Symptoms This means seeing or hearing things that aren’t real, or believing things that aren’t true.
  • Negative Symptoms This means changes in how someone acts and feels, like not talking much, not showing emotions, or losing interest in things they used to like.
  • Cognitive Symptoms This means having trouble thinking, concentrating, or planning things out.

Psychotic symptoms

Psychotic symptoms entail alterations in an individual’s cognition, behavior, and perception of reality. Those experiencing psychosis often exhibit disrupted thoughts and perceptions, struggling to distinguish between what is real and what is not. These symptoms comprise:

  • Hallucinations Sensory experiences where individuals perceive sights, sounds, smells, tastes, or sensations that do not exist. Auditory hallucinations, such as hearing voices, are particularly common in schizophrenia and may go unnoticed by loved ones initially.
  • Delusions Firmly held false beliefs that may appear irrational to others. For instance, individuals experiencing delusions might believe they receive special messages from radio or television broadcasts, feel threatened, or suspect others are plotting against them.
  • Thought disorder Unusual or illogical thought patterns characterized by difficulties in organizing thoughts and speech. This may manifest as abrupt interruptions in conversation, rapid topic changes, or the invention of nonsensical words.

Negative symptoms

Difficulty in planning and adhering to tasks, like grocery shopping.

  • Lack of anticipation and motivation towards experiencing pleasure in daily life.
  • Communicating with a monotone voice and displaying minimal facial expressions.
  • Avoidance of social interactions or engaging in socially awkward behaviors.
  • Persistent low energy levels and preference for passive activities. In severe instances, individuals may experience catatonia, characterized by prolonged periods of immobility or speechlessness, although this is rare.

Cognitive symptoms

  • Comprehending information and making decisions, is termed as poor executive functioning by medical professionals.
  • Maintaining focus or attention.
  • Utilizing received information due to limited working memory capacity.
  • Recognizing the aforementioned issues and symptoms, often unaware of how others perceive them.

These symptoms can be more or less severe and can come and go over time. Stress, drugs, and not taking medication can make things worse.

Schizophrenia symptoms typically emerge during late adolescence or early adulthood, usually in the late teens or twenties. Diagnosis requires persistence of symptoms for at least six months. Men often display signs slightly earlier than women.

Before the onset of major symptoms, individuals may experience warning signs such as difficulties in social interactions, academic performance decline, or loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities.

Before confirming a diagnosis of schizophrenia, medical professionals conduct thorough assessments to rule out other potential causes such as substance abuse or other medical conditions presenting similar symptoms.

Factors Contributing to Schizophrenia

  • Family History If someone in your family has schizophrenia or other mental health problems, you might be more likely to get it too.
  • Brain Chemistry and Structure Changes in how chemicals work in your brain, like dopamine, and differences in how your brain is built can be linked to schizophrenia.
  • Genetics A familial predisposition to schizophrenia or other mental health conditions can heighten susceptibility. Genetic factors play a significant role in shaping an individual’s vulnerability to the disorder. Things that happen around you, like getting sick when you’re still in your mom’s belly, not getting enough food, or having stressful things happen when you’re young, can make it more likely for you to get schizophrenia.
  • Using Drugs If you use drugs, especially when you’re a teenager, it can increase your chances of getting schizophrenia.
  • Stressful Events Going through tough or scary things, like losing someone close to you or going through a bad breakup, can sometimes bring out schizophrenia symptoms in people who are already more likely to have it.

How to Treatment for Schizophrenia

Treatment for schizophrenia typically involves medications to manage symptoms like hallucinations and delusions, alongside therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy to improve coping skills. Supportive services like case management and vocational rehabilitation help individuals with daily tasks and employment. Education and support groups aid in understanding and coping with the condition. Lifestyle changes like exercise and a balanced diet are important for overall well-being. Regular monitoring by healthcare providers ensures treatment effectiveness and adjustment if needed.

Antipsychotic medications

Antipsychotic medications are frequently prescribed to address the complex symptomatology of schizophrenia, encompassing hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking. These medications serve as a cornerstone in the management of schizophrenia, offering individuals the opportunity to achieve greater stability and quality of life by mitigating the severity of their symptoms. By targeting the underlying neurochemical imbalances associated with the disorder, antipsychotics effectively alleviate psychotic symptoms, enabling individuals to regain a sense of control over their lives. Moreover, the reduction in symptom severity facilitated by these medications often corresponds to improvements in social functioning, occupational performance, and overall well-being. As such, antipsychotic therapy represents a critical component of comprehensive treatment approaches for schizophrenia, empowering individuals to navigate the challenges of the disorder and pursue meaningful and fulfilling lives.

Psychosocial treatments

Psychosocial treatments for schizophrenia include therapies and support systems to manage the condition and improve well-being. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps challenge negative thoughts, while social skills training improves communication and relationships. Family therapy supports both the individual and their loved ones. Supported employment programs aid in finding meaningful work, and assertive community treatment (ACT) offers comprehensive support. Psychoeducation educates on schizophrenia and its management, empowering individuals and families. These treatments aim to enhance quality of life and promote recovery.

Getting a Schizophrenia Diagnosis: Steps to Take

  • When symptoms appear, a doctor will talk to you about your medical history.
  • A physical exam may be done to rule out other health problems.
  • There’s no single test for schizophrenia, but tests may be done to rule out other causes.
  • If no other cause is found, you might see a mental health specialist.
  • The specialist will ask questions and observe your behavior to make a diagnosis.
  • Diagnosis is based on symptoms, medical history, and how you behave during the evaluation.


Q1. Can people with schizophrenia live normal lives?

A1. Yes, they can. Treatment for schizophrenia includes taking medication, going to therapy, getting support from family and friends, and using social services. Schizophrenia doesn’t have a cure, but it can be managed over time. With ongoing treatment, most people with schizophrenia can live normal, productive, and fulfilling lives.

Q2. Can schizophrenia be treated?

A2. Yes, schizophrenia can be treated, but it can’t be cured. Some people may fully recover from schizophrenia, but this isn’t common. Even if someone seems better, they may still have periods where their symptoms come back. Doctors call it “in remission” when someone’s symptoms improve.

Q3. Is schizophrenia a serious illness?

A3. Yes, it is. Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how people think, feel, and act. People with schizophrenia might seem like they’ve lost touch with reality, which can be distressing for them and their loved ones.

Q4. How can you try to avoid schizophrenia?

A4. While there’s no surefire way to prevent schizophrenia, you can take steps to stay healthy and watch for early signs. This includes staying active by exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and finding ways to manage stress.

Q5. What are some of the main symptoms of schizophrenia?

A5. When someone has schizophrenia, they might experience delusions (believing things that aren’t true), hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there), trouble thinking, speaking in a disorganized way, or feeling unmotivated. With treatment, most symptoms can get much better, and the chances of symptoms coming back can be reduced.

Empower Your Mind: Explore More Mental Health Blogs: