What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental illness characterised by impairments in the perception or expression of reality, most commonly manifesting as auditory hallucinations, paranoid or bizarre delusions or disorganised speech and thinking in the context of significant social or occupational dysfunction.

Studies suggest that genetics, early environment, neurobiology and psychological and social processes are important contributory factors.

A person experiencing schizophrenia may demonstrate symptoms such as disorganised thinking, auditory hallucinations, and delusions.

Diagnosis is based on the self-reported experiences of the person as well as abnormalities in behavior reported by family members, friends or co-workers, followed by secondary signs observed by a psychiatrist, social worker, clinical psychologist or other clinician in a clinical assessment.

Management of symptoms and improving function is thought to be more achievable than a cure. Treatment was revolutionised in the mid 1950s with the development and introduction of chlorpromazine.

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