What is Schizophrenia?Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder that affects about 1.1 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. People with schizophrenia sometimes hear voices others don’t hear, believe that others are broadcasting their thoughts to the world, or become convinced that others are plotting to harm them. These experiences can make them fearful and withdrawn and cause difficulties when they try to have relationships with others.
Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling mental illness. It affects men and women with equal frequency. People suffering from schizophrenia may have the following symptoms:
- Delusions, false personal beliefs held with conviction in spite of reason or evidence to the contrary, not explained by that person's cultural context
- Hallucinations, perceptions (can be sound, 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 hallucinations in 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