Mental Illness

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious brain illness. People who have it may hear voices that aren't there. They may think other people are trying to hurt them. Sometimes they don't make sense when they talk. The disorder makes it hard for them to keep a job or take care of themselves.


- Psychotic symptoms distort a persons thinking. These include hallucinations, delusions, trouble organizing thoughts, and strange movements.

- "Negative" symptoms make it difficult to show emotions and function normally. A person may seem depressed and withdrawn.

- Cognitive symptoms affect the thought process. These include trouble using information, making decisions, and paying attention.

- 'Flat affect' (reduced expression of emotions via facial expression and voice tone.)

- Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life.

- Trouble focusing or paying attention.


- Runs in the family

- Exposure to viruses

- Malnutrition before birth

- Problems during birth

- Psychological factors

- Different brain chemistry and structure: scientists think than an imbalance in complex, interrelated chemical reactions of the brain involving the neurotransmitters (substances that brain cells use to communicate with each other) dopamine and glutamate, and possibly others, plays a role in schizophrenia.

- Brain development and puberty can trigger psychotic symptoms in people who are vulnerable do to genetics or brain differences.