Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects nearly 3 million
Americans. The first episodes usually occur between the
late teens and the mid-thirties.
Schizophrenia is thought to be caused by an imbalance of chemicals — serotonin and dopamine — that are found in the brain. The condition is characterized by positive and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, speaking, and behavior. Negative symptoms include lack of emotion, lack of energy, and lack of motivation. The specific cause of Schizophrenia is not yet known, although some research suggests there is a genetic or hereditary factor.
There is nothing specifically that someone does to “get” Schizophrenia, nor is it anyone’s fault. Schizophrenia is a disease like other diseases that simply occur in certain people. There is some research that suggests Schizophrenia may run in families.
There is no specific laboratory test or procedure that reveals Schizophrenia. The doctor may first review the patient’s medical history and, sometimes, the medical history of the patient’s family. Most importantly, the doctor will base a diagnosis on symptoms, including symptoms the patient has had in the past, particularly if the patient has experienced symptoms over a period of 6 months.
Although there is no cure for Schizophrenia, its symptoms are treatable. With the appropriate medication and therapy, many people with Schizophrenia can start to move forward in their lives. Medication that can effectively be used as a treatment for symptoms, along with therapy and the support of family and friends, are all important parts of a person's Schizophrenia treatment plan.
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Schizophrenia can impact relationships and families. Learn more about how to talk about Schizophrenia with the people in your life.
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