It can affect the way you think and cope with day-to-day life. It might be that you experience hallucinations, delusions and disorganised thinking, or become demotivated for usual activities.
It is estimated that around 1 in 100 people will develop schizophrenia and typically starts during young adulthood. The early stage of schizophrenia is called ‘the prodromal phase’, where your sleep, emotions, motivation, communications and ability to think change. If you become unwell, this is called an ‘acute episode’, where you feel panic, anger or depression – which can make for a shocking experience as you are not expecting it or are prepared for it.
Schizophrenia and stigma
It does not mean someone has a split personality or multiple personalities.
It does not cause someone to be violent.
Causes and symptoms of schizophrenia
People with schizophrenia experience positive and negative symptoms, the former can include hallucinations, delusions and disorganised thinking. You might see, feel and hear things that are not there. Hearing voices is the most common type of hallucination. You might believe things that others don’t or things you say might not make sense to other people.
Negative symptoms can include:
- Lack of motivation
- Slow movement
- Change in sleep patterns
- Poor hygiene
- Difficulty planning or setting goals
- Being withdrawn
- Fewer emotions
- Low sex drive
- Poor attention span and decision-making
- Memory problems
There is no known cause of schizophrenia but it can be linked to genetics or complications at birth. Some people might develop schizophrenia after hardship or a stressful life event.
How can we help
Change Mental Health runs the Hearing Voices service in Tayside and Fife, to support people to live around their voices and other symptoms of schizophrenia. Our support pages share lived experience from our staff and people supported within the service and how we support people to develop strategies when coping with schizophrenia. Getting support or medical advice quickly from your GP will enable treatment to become more effective.
We have more information on hearing voices through our ‘A Guide to Voices and Sensory Disturbances’ resource.
Read Lee’s experiences of supporting a family members with schizophrenia.
Our Information and Support Line signposts you to relevant support in your area that most fits your needs and how Change Mental Health supports people in local communities across Scotland with schizophrenia.