About This Condition
Schizophrenia is a common and serious mental disorder characterized by loss of contact with reality.
The behaviors, described below, must be present for six months or longer to establish a diagnosis. Approximately 1% of the world’s population is affected by this condition. Schizophrenia is more common among lower socioeconomic classes in urban areas, perhaps because its disabling effects lead to unemployment and poverty. In the United States, 25% of all hospital beds are occupied by people with schizophrenia.
Symptoms and signs of schizophrenia include loss of contact with reality (psychosis), auditory and visual hallucinations (false perceptions), delusions (false beliefs), abnormal thinking, restricted range of emotions, diminished motivation, and disturbed work and social functioning. People with schizophrenia may also engage in speech that does not make sense, exhibit silly or childlike facial expressions, and experience poor memory or confusion.
Psychological counseling or electroconvulsive therapy (electrical current applied to the brain) may also be recommended.