Schizophrenia is a disorder of the brain that is severe, chronic and disabling. schizophreniaResearch has shown that there is a brain chemical imbalance that causes the disease. People with the illness do not interpret reality in a normal manner. It occurs in approximately one percent of the population, but if there is a family history of the illness the frequency is much higher. Men and women are affected equally but symptoms are usually seen earlier in men. Usually the illness is first noticed in the early 20’s for men and late 20’s for women. When teenagers develop the illness they tend to be withdrawn socially, perform poorly in school, become irritable and lack motivation. It is unlikely for most people to develop the illness after their mid forties.

Adult Symptoms of Schizophrenia:

• Hallucinations – People hear, see, smell or feel things that do not exist
• Delusions – false beliefs like imagining they are someone else
• Thought disorders – Having trouble organizing thoughts and speaking without making sense
• Movement disorders – A person may make agitated movements or not move at all
• Lack of caring about personal hygiene

The treatment goal is to be able to control symptoms Treatment for schizophrenia includes taking antipsychotic medications and receiving psychosocial treatments.. It is important that a treatment plan for the patient include counseling for their families as well. One important method of therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy which is where the patient is taught how to manage their symptoms.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a mental health professional at Jamaica Hospital, please call 718-206-7160.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.