Schizophrenia & Psychosis
What is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia affects thinking, feeling and behaviour and is characterised by hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that do not exist) and delusions (unusual beliefs that are not based on evidence). Hallucinations and delusions are often referred to as ‘positive symptoms’ and also as symptoms of ‘psychosis’.
Psychosis is said to be present when somebody is unable to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Patients also often experience “negative symptoms” including loss of interest, reduced motivation and a dulling of emotions, and many also experience difficulties with concentration and memory.
Schizophrenia affects about 1% of the population, whereas up to 3% experience psychotic symptoms. Men experience schizophrenia slightly more often than women and the onset is somewhat earlier in males (16-30 years old) than females (20-35 years old).
The term ‘schizophrenia’ is sometimes used in negative ways and there is a danger of people being negatively labeled unless the word schizophrenia is used with care.