This is a complex mental illness that changes perception, emotions and behaviour as a result of biological imbalance. Although there is no cure for schizophrenia people are helped by psychosocial treatment and medication.
It is important to understand that when in remission a person may behave relatively normally and can function in society.
Symptoms start slowly usually in young adulthood. Early warning signs may include:
- Lack of motivation
- Social withdrawal
- Confused thinking
- Inability to relax
More serious symptoms may include:
- Personal appearance deteriorates
- Loss of interest in school or work or social events
- Unusual perceptions
- Sudden excesses
- Difficulty understanding words in context
- Hearing voices or seeing people or things that aren’t there
- Mood swings
Because people with schizophrenia aren’t usually aware of their situation it can be difficult to get them to treatment. Family and friends often support loved ones with these symptoms to get medical treatment.
For more information about psychosis:
- Consult the Canadian Mental Health Association.
- Consult the Schizophrenia Society of Canada
- You can view a documentary depicting types of schizophrenia on ABC 20/20.
- You can view a short clip describing psychosis by Henry Gale
- The Public Health Agency of Canada has published A Report on Mental Illnesses in Canada and chapter 3 relates to schizophrenia.