Psychotic Disorders
(Paranoia, Schizophrenia)

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it hard to tell the difference between what is real and not real. Therefore, it is difficult to think clearly, have normal emotional responses, and act normally in social situations.

People with schizophrenia may have trouble with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Having schizophrenia increases the risk of:

--Developing a problem with alcohol or drugs (substance abuse). Using alcohol or other drugs increases the chances that symptoms will return.
--Physical illness. This is due to an inactive lifestyle and side effects of medication.

There are no medical tests to diagnose schizophrenia. A psychiatrist should examine the person and make the diagnosis. The diagnosis is made based on an interview of the person and family members.

A psychiatrist will ask about:

--How long the symptoms have lasted
--How ability to function has changed
--Developmental background
--Genetic and family history
--How well medicines have worked
--Substance abuse
--Medical conditions

Antipsychotic medicines are the most effective treatment for schizophrenia. They change the balance of chemicals in the brain and can help control symptoms. When schizophrenia does not improve with antipsychotics, other medicines may be tried.

Schizophrenia is a life-long illness. Most people with this condition need to stay on antipsychotic medication for life. Contact us today for more information about living with schizophrenia, or about current, related studies.

11 Things You Should Know About Schizophrenia