Treating Schizophrenia

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious mental condition that affects approximately 24 million people across the world. That amounts to about 1 in every 300 of the world’s population. It’s a chronic condition that’s characterized by a range of symptoms that affect a person’s ability to perceive reality in a normal way. The disorder typically begins in the late teenage years or early adulthood and can have a profound impact on a person’s life. There are several types of schizophrenia, each with its own set of symptoms and characteristics. The most common types of schizophrenia include:

Paranoid: Paranoid schizophrenia is characterized by delusions and hallucinations that are often centered on persecution or conspiracy.

Disorganized: Disorganized schizophrenia is characterized by disordered speech and behavior, as well as flat or inappropriate emotions.

Catatonic: Catatonic schizophrenia is characterized by a range of motor abnormalities, including rigidity and immobility.

Undifferentiated: Undifferentiated schizophrenia is a catch-all category that includes symptoms that do not fit into the other categories.

young woman standing in a school hallway with people walking by

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Causes of Schizophrenia

The exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown, but researchers believe that a combination of genetic, environmental, and brain chemistry factors may play a role. 

Genetic factors are believed to play a significant role in the development of schizophrenia. Studies have shown that individuals with a family history of schizophrenia are at an increased risk of developing the disorder. Environmental factors, such as stress and trauma, may also contribute to the development of schizophrenia.

Advanced paternal age is cited as a risk factor for schizophrenia. Studies have shown that the offspring of fathers who are over the age of 50 at the time of conception are at an increased risk of developing the disorder. This may be due to genetic mutations that accumulate over time in the father’s sperm.

Certain viral infections have also been linked to an increased risk of schizophrenia. In particular, exposure to the influenza virus during prenatal development has been associated with an increased risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. Other viral infections, such as the herpes simplex virus, have also been implicated in the development of the disorder. It is unclear exactly how these viruses contribute to the development of schizophrenia, but researchers believe that they may trigger an immune response that damages the developing brain.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

People with schizophrenia may experience social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and difficulties with cognitive function. The symptoms of schizophrenia can vary from person to person but typically include:

Delusions: Delusions are false beliefs that are not based in reality and can be difficult to convince the individual otherwise. They can take many forms, such as believing that someone is trying to harm them or that they have special abilities.

Hallucinations: Hallucinations are sensory experiences that are not based in reality and can be auditory, visual, or tactile. Hearing voices is a common type of hallucination experienced by individuals with psychosis.

Disordered Thinking: Disordered thinking can take many forms, such as difficulty organizing thoughts or expressing them coherently. It can also manifest as racing thoughts or a sense of being unable to concentrate.

Abnormal Behavior: Abnormal behavior can include a range of symptoms, such as agitation, withdrawal, or catatonia. Examples include repetitive motions, grimacing, or unusual posturing. In some cases, individuals with catatonic schizophrenia may exhibit uncontrollable and purposeless movements.

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How Our Luxury Mental Health Facility Treats Schizophrenia

There is no cure for schizophrenia, but there are several types of treatment that can help manage the symptoms of the disorder. These include antipsychotic medications, psychotherapy, and social support programs.Antipsychotic medications are the primary treatment for schizophrenia. They work by blocking the brain’s dopamine receptors, which can reduce the severity of hallucinations and other symptoms. 

Psychotherapy can also be helpful in managing the symptoms of schizophrenia, and effective therapies include:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: This type of therapy is focused on changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to the symptoms of schizophrenia. The therapy aims to identify and challenge distorted beliefs and perceptions, as well as develop coping strategies for managing symptoms.

Cognitive Enhancement Therapy: This therapy is designed to improve cognitive abilities such as attention, memory, and problem-solving skills in people with schizophrenia. The therapy usually involves computer-based exercises and group sessions to help patients learn and apply cognitive skills to everyday tasks.

Psychosocial Therapy: This type of therapy focuses on improving social and interpersonal skills in people with schizophrenia. The therapy may include family therapy, vocational rehabilitation, and social skills training to help patients improve their ability to communicate and interact with others, and to manage daily activities and responsibilities.

Get Help for Schizophrenia at Neurish Wellness in Orange County

It is important to recognize the symptoms of schizophrenia and seek help as early as possible. The earlier the disorder is diagnosed and treated by mental health professionals, the better the chances of managing symptoms and improving quality of life. With the right treatment and support, individuals with schizophrenia can lead fulfilling and meaningful lives. If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, speak with a mental health professional at Neurish to learn more about treatment options and support resources available.

FAQs About Schizophrenia

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness characterized by disruptions in thought processes, perceptions, emotional responsiveness, and social interactions. It is a type of psychotic disorder that can significantly impact a person’s ability to function.

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia symptoms are categorized into positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms. Positive symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking. Negative symptoms involve a decrease or loss in the ability to initiate plans, speak, express emotion, or find pleasure in everyday life. Cognitive symptoms affect memory, attention, and decision-making abilities.

What are positive symptoms?

Positive symptoms of schizophrenia are those that add abnormal experiences to a person’s life. They include hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there), delusions (false beliefs), and disorganized speech or behavior.

What are negative symptoms?

Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are those that take away normal functions. These include diminished emotional expression, anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure), lack of motivation, and social withdrawal.

How is schizophrenia diagnosed?

Schizophrenia diagnosis involves a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation, medical history, and often a physical exam to rule out other mental illnesses or medical conditions. The presence of symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and negative symptoms for at least six months is essential for diagnosis.

What are psychotic symptoms?

Psychotic symptoms refer to experiences that distort a person’s sense of reality. In schizophrenia, these include hallucinations and delusions. These symptoms are a hallmark of psychotic disorders.

What causes schizophrenia?

The exact cause of schizophrenia is not known, but it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, brain chemistry, and environmental factors. Risk factors include a family history of schizophrenia, complications during birth, and psychosocial factors.

Who is at risk of developing schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia typically emerges in late adolescence or early adulthood, often between the ages of 16 and 30. Both genetic and environmental factors contribute to the risk. Individuals with a family history of schizophrenia or other serious mental illnesses are at higher risk.

How is schizophrenia treated?

Treatment for schizophrenia usually involves a combination of antipsychotic medications, psychotherapy, and community support services. Treatment aims to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

Can people with schizophrenia lead normal lives?

With proper treatment and support, many people with schizophrenia can lead fulfilling and productive lives. Ongoing mental health care and a strong support network are crucial for managing the condition.

What is the difference between schizophrenia and other mental illnesses?

Schizophrenia is a specific type of psychotic disorder marked by positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms. Other mental illnesses, such as mood disorders or anxiety disorders, have different symptoms and treatment approaches.

How does schizophrenia affect daily life?

Schizophrenia can significantly impact daily functioning, making it challenging to maintain employment, relationships, and self-care. The severity of symptoms varies among individuals, and some may require long-term mental health support.

Are there early warning signs of schizophrenia?

Early warning signs can include social withdrawal, unusual behavior, a drop in academic or work performance, difficulty concentrating, and suspiciousness. Recognizing these signs early can lead to timely intervention and better outcomes.

Is schizophrenia hereditary?

There is a genetic component to schizophrenia, meaning it can run in families. However, not everyone with a family history of schizophrenia will develop the disorder, indicating that environmental factors also play a role.

What role does mental health play in managing schizophrenia?

Maintaining good mental health is vital for managing schizophrenia. Regular therapy, medication adherence, stress reduction, and a supportive environment all contribute to better mental health and overall well-being for individuals with schizophrenia.


American Psychiatric Association. (2022). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed., text rev.).

American Psychiatric Association. (2024). What is Schizophrenia?

Cleveland Clinic. (2023). Schizophrenia.

Cole Dyar, Executive Director

Clinically Reviewed by Cole Dyar, MS, LAADC, PhD Candidate
Executive Director of Neurish Wellness

Cole holds a degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz in sociology and is a Licensed Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor (LAADC) as recognized by CCAPP. Cole holds a Master of Science in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, including Organizational Leadership and Design, and a Post-Masters in General Marriage and Family Therapy.


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