Schizophrenia can be a severe brain and behaviour disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling.

People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment, can experience symptoms continuously or intermittently throughout life and are often severely stigmatized by people who do not understand the disease. Early treatment may help get symptoms under control before serious complications develop and may help improve the long-term outlook. Schizophrenia is episodic. People usually experience their first episode in their early 20s. People with schizophrenia attempt suicide more often than people in the general population, and estimates are that up to 10 percent of people with schizophrenia will complete a suicide in the first 10 years of the illness — particularly young men with schizophrenia.

Possible Symptoms

  • Delusions : False beliefs not based in reality, and occur in most people with schizophrenia.
  • Auditory or visual hallucinations: Seeing or hearing things that don’t exist
  • Disorganized speech and thought process: answers to questions are partially or completely unrelated.
  • Extreme disorganized or abnormal motor behaviour: Ranges from childlike silliness to unpredictable agitation, bizarre postures, complete lack of response, useless/excessive movement.
  • Slow or sudden withdrawal from social activity
  • Depression or mania
  • Sleep problems
  • Lack of energy, strange expressions of emotion or bursts of energy that seem out of context
  • Paranoia or suspicion
  • Making odd associations or statements
  • Problems with concentration
  • Decline in personal hygiene and general self care
  • Difficulty taking care of oneself and functioning in all aspects of life (school, work & socially)
  • Lack of speech, flat emotions, apparent apathy

Also, recreational substance use, such as marijuana, methamphetamines or LSD, can sometimes cause similar signs and symptoms.

Compared with schizophrenia symptoms in adults, teens may be less likely to have delusions and more likely to have visual hallucinations. People with schizophrenia often lack awareness that their difficulties stem from a mental disorder that requires medical attention. So it often falls to family or friends to get them help.

Schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment, even when symptoms have subsided. Treatment with medications and psychosocial therapy can help manage the condition. In some cases, hospitalization may be needed.

A psychiatrist experienced in treating schizophrenia usually guides treatment. The treatment team also may include a psychologist, social worker, psychiatric nurse and possibly a case manager to coordinate care. The full-team approach may be available in clinics with expertise in schizophrenia treatment.


  • Medications like anti-psychotics, and injectable anti-psychotics
  • Individual/Family Therapy
  • Coordinated special care
  • Social skills Training
  • Vocational rehabilitation and supported employment
  • Hospitalization
  • Electroconclusive therapy

Further readings and resources
AMI-Quebec: Local support resources
Helpguide: Schizophrenia Treatment and Self-Help
ACSM: How to help a love one
Medicalnewstoday: Types of Schizophrenia
BBR Foundation: FAQs
MAYO Clinic: Schizophrenia diagnosis and treatments