What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia affects the way you think and cope with daily life. Someone living with schizophrenia may be experiencing hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thinking and lack motivation for daily activities.

Around 1 in 100 people will develop schizophrenia. It usually starts during young adulthood. The early stage of the illness is called ‘the prodromal phase’. During this phase, your sleep, emotions, motivation, communication and ability to think clearly may change.

If you become unwell, this is called an ‘acute episode’. You may feel panic, anger or depression. Your first acute episode can be a shocking experience because you are not expecting it or prepared for it.

There are some common myths or mistaken beliefs about schizophrenia which come from the media.

  • Schizophrenia does not mean someone has a split personality or multiple personalities. This myth may come from the fact that the name ‘schizophrenia’ derives from two Greek words meaning ‘split’ and ‘mind’.
  • Schizophrenia does not cause someone to be violent. People with a diagnosis of schizophrenia are more likely to be a danger to themselves than to other people. Research shows that only a small number of people with the illness may become violent, just like how a small minority of the general public may become violent.

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