Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling mental illness and also sometimes called split personality disorder.
It affects men and women with equal frequency but in women it begins later. For this reason, males tend to account for more than half of patients in services with high numbers of young adults. Although schizophrenia usually begins in young adulthood, there are cases in which the disorder begins later (over 45 years).
Schizophrenia is thought to affect about 1% of people worldwide.
There are 5 types of schizophrenia:
Symptoms, Schizophrenia may have a variety of symptoms. Usually the illness develops slowly over months or even years.
At first, the symptoms may not be noticeable. As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:
- Delusions, false personal beliefs held with conviction in spite of reason or evidence to the contrary, not explained bythat person's cultural context
- Hallucinations,perceptions (can besound, sight, touch, smell, or taste) that occur in the absence of an actual external stimulus(Auditory hallucinations, those of voice or other sounds,are the most common type of hallucinationsin schizophrenia.)
- Disorganized thoughts and behaviors
- Disorganized speech
- Catatonic behavior, in which the affected person's body may be rigid and the person may be unresponsive
Schizophrenia usually begins before the age of 45, symptoms last for 6 months or more, and people start to lose their ability to socialize and work. Genetic factors appear to play a role. People who have family members with schizophrenia may be more likely to get the disease themselves.