Schizophrenia is a serious, chronic mental disorder in which people have disturbances in thought, reality perception, and behavior. Schizophrenia can be challenging to diagnose as it involves a range of behavioral, cognitive, and emotional symptoms. Patients of schizophrenia usually start exhibiting features of the disorder during their mid-teens, with the males developing the illness slightly earlier than the females. The peak age of onset of the first psychotic episode is in the early to mid-twenties for males and late twenties for females.
Some the symptoms and features of the disorder include the following:
• Disorganized thinking and speech
• Dysfunction in major areas of life such as work, interpersonal relationships, and self-care for a significant period of time
• Sleep disturbances
• Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior
• Lack of motivation and a general disinterest in life
The causes of schizophrenia are not fully known, yet it seems that it is a result of a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors. The use of medication, psychological counseling, and self-help resources are considered to be the most effective treatment for schizophrenia to date.