Schizophrenia - About
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a mental illness which affects the way you think. The symptoms may affect how you cope with day to day life.
You could be diagnosed with schizophrenia if you experience some of the following symptoms:
- Disorganised thinking
- lack of motivation
- slow movement
- change in sleep patterns
- poor grooming or hygiene
- changes in body language and emotions
- less interest in social activities
- low sex drive.
Everyone is different. Not everyone with schizophrenia will get all of these symptoms.
Schizophrenia is a common illness. About one in a hundred people will develop schizophrenia.1 It can develop during young adulthood. The early stage of the illness is called ‘the prodromal phase’. During this phase your sleep, emotions, motivation, communication and ability to think clearly may change.
If you become unwell this is called an ‘acute episode’. You may feel panic, anger or depression during an acute episode. Your first acute episode can be a shocking experience because you are not expecting it or prepared for it.
There are some myths or mistaken beliefs about schizophrenia which come from the media.
- ‘Schizophrenia means someone has a split personality’
A common myth is that schizophrenia means that people have multiple or split personalities. This is not the case. The mistake may come from the fact that the name 'schizophrenia' comes from two Greek words meaning 'split' and 'mind'.
- ‘Schizophrenia causes people to be violent’
Research shows that only a small number of people with the illness may become violent, much in the same way as a small minority of the general public may become violent. People with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are more likely to be a danger to themselves than to other people. But as these incidents can be shocking, the media often report them in a way which emphasises the mental health aspects. This can create fear and stigma in the general public.
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