Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that affects 1 percent of the American population. According to the dictionary, schizophrenia is:
a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.

  • (in general use) a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.”

Schizophrenia Symptoms

People who suffer with schizophrenia will hear voices that no one else hears, feel like others read/control their minds, or think others are trying to harm them. They experience varying hallucinations, bizarre delusions, dysfunctional thinking, and agitated body movements.

Aside from those major symptoms, others include:

  • “Flat affect” (a person’s face does not move or he or she talks in a dull or monotonous voice)
  • Lack of pleasure in everyday life
  • Lack of ability to begin and sustain planned activities
  • Speaking little, even when forced to interact.
  • 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).

Sex Differences in Schizophrenia

The general stats between the amount of men vs. women with schizophrenia is quite equal. However, men can show symptoms in their later teens and early twenties. While women can show signs in their late twenties and early thirties. Because they have a lack of contact with reality, schizophrenia greatly interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, and function to their highest potential. This makes it extremely difficult for them to hold jobs and relationships, and also makes them targets for social prejudice.

Misconceptions About Schizophrenia

One misconception is that schizophrenia is untreatable. Although symptoms are varying in nature between individuals, it can be treated with medication.

The struggle is getting an individual to take their medication when they don’t believe they’re ill. New research suggests that 50% of individuals have positive outcomes when treated appropriately.

Another misconception is that schizophrenics are violent. They are actually at a small risk for violence, very rare. Most violent crimes are not committed by schizophrenics. However, some may attempt suicide.


It occurs in 10 percent of people who have a first-degree relative with the disorder, such as a parent, brother, or sister. People who have second-degree relatives (aunts, uncles, grandparents, or cousins) with the disease also develop schizophrenia more often than the general population. When it comes to identical twins, if one has schizophrenia the other has a 40 to 65 percent chance of developing the disorder.

Other recent studies suggest that schizophrenia may result in part when a certain gene that is key to making important brain chemicals malfunctions. This problem may affect the part of the brain involved in developing higher functioning skills.18 Research into this gene is ongoing, so it is not yet possible to use the genetic information to predict who will develop the disease.

Getting Help

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, please see a medical professional immediately. If you are in the San Diego area, or in the surrounding cities, please contact us and we will get you in touch with a medical professional who specializes in schizophrenia. Our offices are located in Coronado and Carlsbad, San Diego.

What is Schizophrenia. (2009). National Institute of Mental Health. Retrieved September 20, 2014

What is Schizophrenia. (n, d.). National Alliance of Mental Illness. Retrieved September 20, 2014