Schizophrenia Awareness Week aims to educate and reduce stigma surrounding schizophrenia. There are still many misconceptions about schizophrenia and it continues to be a mental health challenge that is rarely spoken about.

Often, someone with schizophrenia is portrayed in the media and through film and television as dangerous or violent, however, this is not the case. A person living with schizophrenia is not more dangerous than anyone else, however they are more likely to be victims of violence.

Contrary to common belief, living with schizophrenia does not mean you have multiple personalities. The term schizophrenia comes from the Greek word “fractured mind” and refers to changes in mental function.

1 in 100 people will experience schizophrenia and men are about twice as likely to develop the condition than women. Symptoms tend to develop during the late teens to mid-30s.

Main symptoms

One of the main symptoms of schizophrenia is recurring psychosis. A person experiencing psychosis finds it hard to tell what is real from what isn’t.

People living with schrizophrenia often experience psychotic episodes — short periods of intense symptoms. If a person experiences psychosis only once in their life (single episode), most likely they don’t have schizophrenia. If they experience psychosis frequently (after treatment it reoccurs), they might get diagnosed with schizophrenia.The main symptoms of psychosis are:

  • delusions — fixed false beliefs that can’t be changed by evidence
  • hallucinations — hearing voices or otherwise sensing things that aren’t real
  • disordered thinking — muddled, disrupted thoughts that can be  expressed through speech
  • disordered behaviour — unusual, inappropriate or extreme action

SANEline on 0300 304 7000