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What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious, complex brain disorder. It often runs in families and starts suddenly in early adulthood. There is no cure for this illness, but it can be managed with medicine and supportive therapy.

What Are the Symptoms of Schizophrenia?

Each person may feel symptoms differently. The most common symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations—seeing, hearing, smelling, or feeling things that are not real
  • Delusions—false beliefs not based on reality
  • Paranoia—feeling like someone or something is out to get you
  • Disorganized speech and behavior
  • Lack of emotion
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Inflated self-worth

These symptoms can make it hard to function in the world and take care of yourself. They can make it difficult to think clearly and relate to others.

What Causes Schizophrenia?

Experts believe that several genetic and environmental factors contribute to the causes of schizophrenia. Life stressors may play a role in the start of symptoms and their course.

While it affects men and women equally, symptoms tend to start earlier in men than in women. It’s rare in childhood.

UR Medicine's Treatments for Schizophrenia

How is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?

It’s important to see a healthcare provider, who will ask about your health history, symptom history, and current symptoms. Your healthcare provider will perform a careful medical evaluation, and you may have lab tests to rule out other conditions.

Mental healthcare providers diagnose and treat this illness. They often interview family members to help get a complete picture.

How is Schizophrenia Treated?

Managing schizophrenia is a lifelong process. It can’t be cured, but symptoms can often be managed with medicine and therapy. Often, more than one treatment method is needed.

Treatment may include:

  • Antipsychotic medicines, to reduce the most troubling symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia
  • Other medicines, including antidepressants, mood stabilizers, or anti-anxiety medicines
  • Individual and family therapy, including cognitive and behavioral
  • Training, such as learning social skills, job skills, or structured activity
  • Self-help and support groups

Early treatment and supportive services can help you live a productive life. It’s very important to take medicines exactly as prescribed and to keep taking them even if you feel better.

Ongoing treatment and follow-up in a supportive environment can help maintain emotional stability and provide a critical safety net if symptoms become unmanageable.

What Sets Us Apart?

We provide care to patients with mental health conditions using a respectful, team-based approach. We integrate clinical care, teaching, and research into our treatment. We also work actively with the patient, their support system, and community care providers to develop the best plan possible for each individual.

The team’s leadership focuses on developing innovative systems for the mental health care system. As part of an academic medical center, we help educate the next generation of mental health professionals. We are a key training site for several multidisciplinary programs, including psychiatry fellowship programs and internship and post-doctorate training in clinical psychology.

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