The Basics of Schizophrenia: Everything You Need To Know

“Last week I was really into black, but now I’m having a blue phase — I must be schizophrenic.” If you or someone close to you has schizophrenia, you know that this casual misuse of the term is both hurtful and wildly off the mark. Schizophrenia doesn’t cause fashion indecision or multiple personalities. Schizophrenia is an illness involving psychosis that causes people to lose touch with reality and withdraw into their own worlds. Because of this, people with schizophrenia often have trouble holding jobs, forming relationships, or finding their place in the world.

But although schizophrenia is a severe, disabling illness, it is treatable. Left untreated, it can have a devastating impact on the lives of both those with the illness and their loved ones.

Schizophrenia affects over 2 million adults in America, or about one out of every 100 people 18 and over. Contrary to common stereotypes, people with schizophrenia aren’t likely to be dangerous or violent. The condition is usually a life-long struggle, however, and some people who have it lack the understanding that they have a psychotic illness. Those who do often feel stigmatized.

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?

No single sign separates people with schizophrenia from people with other types of mental illness. Instead, there’s a collection of problems that add up to a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

People with schizophrenia often have

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