If depression is the common cold of psychological disorders, chronic schizophrenia is the cancer (D. Myers 2004). Nearly one percent of all adults will develop schizophrenia each year, joining the nearly 24 million people globally who suffer the world’s most dreaded disorder (WHO,2002). It affects both males and females, typically as young adults just maturing. Men seem to be struck at a slightly younger age, more severely and slightly more often (Aleman et al, 2003).

Split from Reality

Schizophrenia literally means “split mind” and does not refer to multiple personalities, but rather to a split from reality that shows itself in a disorganized delusional thinking pattern. This includes disturbed distortions, inappropriate emotions and actions, and often delusions of grandeur that may be accompanied by psychotic disorders.

People suffering from schizophrenia experience confused thinking and delusions. These people have paranoid tendencies and are particularly prone to delusions of persecution, often causing one to speak in sentences that have no meaning.

Cognitive Differences from the Norm

People suffering from schizophrenia may have a sensory disability, or a breakdown in sensory filtering. Unrelated stimuli distract the individual from things that should have their attention. This is just one of dozens of cognitive differeces associated with schizophrenia.

Are You Seeing Things?

Additionally, the person may perceive things that aren’t there. Such hallucinations (sensory experiences without sensory stimulation) often take the form of insulting statements, or hearing voices that give orders. The voices may say that the patient is bad, or that she should burn herself with a cigarette lighter for example. Sometimes people smell things that aren’t there. Hallucinations are like dreams becoming real. When the unreal seems real, the resulting perceptions are at best bizarre and worst terrifying.


A person may perform senseless acts such as continually rocking back and forth, or rubbing an arm. Those exhibiting catatonia may remain motionless for hours on end, and then become highly agitated.

Social Withdrawal

During the most serious periods, people with schizophrenia live in a private inner world, preoccupied with illogical ideas and unreal images. Such disorganized thinking, disturbed perceptions and inappropriate emotions and actions are the source of profound disruption of social relationships, and make it difficult to hold down a job. Some people recover to enjoy a normal life or experience limited bouts. But others remain socially withdrawn and isolated throughout much of their lives.

Cluster Disorders?

Schizophrenia is actually a cluster of disorders with more than just one cause. When schizophrenia is a slow-developing condition, quite often recovery can be doubtful. However, when a previously well-adjusted person develops the condition rapidly, as in a reaction to a particular life stress, recovery is much more likely.

Some scientists believe that schizophrenia patients have abnormal activity in multiple areas of the brain. Many patients have abnormally low brain activity in the frontal lobes, which are critical to reasoning, planning, and problem solving (Morey et al, 2005).

Brain Abnormalities

People diagnosed with schizophrenia also display a noticeable decline in those brain waves that reflect synchronized neural firing in the frontal lobes (Spencer, Symond et al, 2000). Out-of-sync neurons may disrupt the integrated function of neural networks, possibly contributing to shizophrenia symptoms.


Many studies have found enlarged, fluid-filled areas and a corresponding shrinkage of cerebral tissue in peolpe with schizophrenia (Wright et al, 2000), and one study found such abnormalities in the brains of people who would later develop this disorder (Pantelis et al 2002). The greater the shrinkage the more severe the thought disorder (Collinson, et al, 2003).

A Matter of Genetics

Some brain disorders run in families. Other warning signs are: a mother whose schizophrenia was severe, separation from parents, short attention span, poor muscle coordination, disruptive behavior, withdrawal, emotional unpredictability, and poor peer relationships.

This report is not a diagnosis. We hope this information can guide you toward improving your life.

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