What is Schizophrenia? (Definition)

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling. The cause of schizophrenia remains unclear. Some theories about the cause of this disease include: genetics (heredity), biology (abnormalities in the brain’s chemistry or structure); and/or possible viral infections and immune disorders.

Schizophrenia affects about 1 percent of the population, causing hallucinations, depression and impaired thinking and social behavior. Cognitive problems typically are a major source of dysfunction and disability in patients and can be among the earliest symptoms. Babies born to mothers who develop a severe infection, such as influenza or pneumonia, during pregnancy have a significantly increased risk of schizophrenia.


Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia

The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.

Positive symptoms may include:

  • Delusions – May believe that someone is spying on him or her, or that they are someone famous
  • Hallucinations – Seeing, feeling, tasting, hearing or smelling something that doesn’t really exist
  • Thought disorders – Moving from one topic to another, in a nonsensical fashion
  • Movement disorders – Agitated body movements

Negative symptoms may include:

  • Flat affect” (reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone)
  • Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
  • Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities
  • Reduced speaking

Cognitive symptoms may include:

  • Poor “executive functioning” (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention
  • Problems with “working memory” (the ability to use information immediately after learning it)

See below for updated news and information regarding Schizophrenia including new medical research, treatment options and advancements. 

Schizophrenia News

Schizophrenia Research News: Schizophrenia could directly increase risk of diabetes

(SOURCE: KING'S COLLEGE LONDON) - People with early schizophrenia are at an increased risk of developing diabetes, even when the effects of antipsychotic drugs, diet and exercise are taken out of the equation, according to an analysis by researchers from King's College London. Schizophrenia is known to be associated with a reduced life expectancy of up to 30 years. This is ...
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Schizophrenia Research News: Key Study Identifies Rare Genetic Variations Linked to Schizophrenia

(UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA - SAN DIEGO) According to a recent press release, many of the genetic variations that increase risk for schizophrenia are rare, making it difficult to study their role in the disease. To overcome this, the Psychiatric Genomics Consortium, an international team led by Jonathan Sebat, PhD, at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, analyzed the ...
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Schizophrenia News: Neurocognitive Symptoms May Provide Early Warning Signs of Schizophrenia

(BETH ISRAEL DEACONESS MEDICAL CENTER) According to a recent press release, while schizophrenia is best known for episodes of psychosis - a break with reality during which an individual may experience delusions and hallucinations - it is also marked by chronic neurocognitive deficits, such as problems with memory and attention ...
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New Research From Texas Tech Targets Depression Medications

(TEXAS TECH UNIVERSITY HEALTH SCIENCES CENTER) Press Release: "The antidepressant bupropion is a negative allosteric modulator of serotonin type 3A receptors," was published in the September issue of the journal Neuropharmacology ...
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Mental Health News: Researchers Identify Common Sets of Genes Disrupted in Certain Mental Disorders

(HopkinsMedicine / EurekAlert) According to a recent press release, while studying brain tissue from deceased donors, Johns Hopkins scientists have found common groups of genes disrupted among people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and major depression. The commonly affected genes sets, identified with RNA sequencing methods, engage in making proteins, controlling brain cell communications and mounting an immune system response, the ...
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Male Teens with Elevated Heart Rates and Blood Pressure May be at Risk for Developing Psychiatric Disorders Later in Life

(THE JAMA NETWORK JOURNALS / EurekAlert) According to a recent JAMA Psychiatry press release, higher resting heart rate and higher blood pressure in late adolescence were found to be associated with an increased risk in men for the subsequent development of obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders ...
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