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Understanding Schizophrenia

Written byDesiree Smith

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic psychological disorder that interferes with how a person shows emotions, thinks, and interacts with other people. People with Schizophrenia sometimes perceive reality differently. Oftentimes, they have trouble maintaining employment and close healthy relationships. Schizophrenia requires life-long management to control symptoms (NIMH, n.d.).

What are some of the symptoms of schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia symptoms are group into three categories: positive, negative and cognitive. The symptoms differ from person to person but usually involve some type of psychosis (APA, 2013).

Positive symptoms Includes psychotic symptoms like:



Disorganized thought/ speech

Disorders of movement (catatonia- unable to move for long periods of time)(NIMH, n.d.)(APA, 2013).

Negative symptoms alter normal emotions and behaviors like:

Flat affect (limited range of emotions)

Loss of interest

Withdrawal from usual activities

Lack of speech

Lack of personal hygiene(NIMH, n.d.)(APA, 2013).

Cognitive symptoms

Impaired memory (especially immediate working memory)

Difficulty focusing

Difficulty understanding information which impacts the ability to make decisions(NIMH, n.d.)(APA, 2013).

Why do some people develop schizophrenia?

Researchers do not clearly understand the exact cause of Schizophrenia. It is believed that genetics, environmental factors, brain structure and function play a role in the development of the disorder. Additionally, Schizophrenia can run in families, but it must be noted that if one member of the family has Schizophrenia; it does not mean that other family members will also develop Schizophrenia (NIMH, n.d.).

What treatment options are available?

The main goal in the treatment of Schizophrenia is to reduce the symptoms. The first step to treatment and recovery is to seek help from a mental health care provider. Our providers are compassionate and utilize a holistic treatment approach. There are different treatment options available to treat Schizophrenia including medications, Integrated Psychotherapy and rehabilitation programs. After a comprehensive evaluation of your symptoms, our providers will individualize your treatment plan based on your personal situation(NIMH, n.d.).


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington: American Psychiatric Association.

National Institute of Mental Health (n.d.). Schizophrenia. Retrieved from:

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