Schizophrenia falls under the category of psychotic disorders. It is characterized by disruptions in thought processes, perceptions, emotional responsiveness, and social interactions. Although the course of schizophrenia varies among individuals, schizophrenia is typically persistent and can be both severe and disabling.

symptoms of schizophrenia include psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and thought disorder (unusual ways of thinking), as well as reduced expression of emotions, reduced motivation to accomplish goals, difficulty in social relationships, motor impairment, and cognitive impairment.


  • At some time during their life about 1 in 100 people will suffer an episode of schizophrenia.
  • Schizophrenia affects men and women alike and sufferers come from all walks of life and social backgrounds.
  • Schizophrenia is a major illness. At any one time about 220,000 people are being treated for schizophrenia in the UK by the NHS.
  • Schizophrenia is a killer. Sufferers have a 5 to 10% chance of dying by their own hand within ten years of diagnosis, around two and half times higher than the general population.
  • Schizophrenia strikes most often in late teens and early twenties. Slightly later in women than in men. However late onset can occur as late as 70 years old.
  • Schizophrenia runs in families. If you have a parent or sibling with the illness you are more likely to suffer from it yourself.
  • About 25% of people who suffer an episode of schizophrenia will go on to recover completely without any further problems in the future.


Positive symptoms – these are symptoms that add an element to a person’s thoughts or perceptions such as:

  • Hallucinations (Sees, hears, feels, smells or tastes something that is not there)
  • Delusions (a belief held with complete conviction, even though it’s based on a mistaken, strange or unrealistic view).

Negative symptoms – These are things the disorder takes away from the person.

  • Lack of motivation.
  • Slow movement.
  • Change in sleep patterns.
  • Poor grooming or hygiene.
  • Difficulty planning or setting goals.
  • Becoming withdrawn – Not saying much, change in body language, lack of eye contact, less interested in usual hobbies and activities.
  • Reduced range of emotions.


Schizophrenia requires careful management of a range of therapies, medication, and professional services. For a comprehensive list of all treatments and approaches provided by the NHS please click Treatment – Schizophrenia – NHS (

Organisations and resources

Schizophrenia | What Is Schizophrenia? | Psychosis | The Mix

Hearing Voices Network: Welcome (

National Paranoia Network

Living With Schizophrenia | Information & Support (

CG178 Psychosis and schizophrenia in adults full guideline (