Frequently asked questions include general information about schizophrenia, diagnosis, risk factors, treatments, and impact on families.
What is schizophrenia and how is it diagnosed?
Schizophrenia occurs in about one percent of the general population Following a diagnosis of schizophrenia, and with effective treatment, up to 80% of people report good or intermediate outcomes. Three main symptom clusters have been identified: Positive symptoms Positive symptoms are a well-documented feature of schizophrenia and are arguably the most recognisable and conspicuous, and can cause extreme distress to the individual. They include hallucinations, which are defined as a perceptual experience that occurs in the absence of any external sensory input, and are most commonly auditory, although they can occur in any modality. Delusions are also positive symptoms, and involve…
Which risk factors are associated with schizophrenia?
Many disorders are the result of interaction between genetic and environmental influences. One example is cardiovascular disease; people with a family history of cardiovascular disease are more susceptible to heart problems, and environmental influences such as poor diet can increase this risk. Schizophrenia is also a complex disorder that can arise from both genetic and environmental influences, although genetic factors contribute a much greater risk than environmental factors with a heritability estimate of 80%. We have not included detailed information on genetic risk factors in the Library due to the availability of these details on a website specifically about genetics…
Which treatments are most effective?
Antipsychotic medication is the main treatment option for schizophrenia. Patients may need to try several types, or combinations of antipsychotics before finding a treatment regime that suits them best. There is also evidence that therapy in combination with antipsychotic medication is effective for symptoms, particularly in the early stages of the disorder. Other treatment options include adjunctive, or medication from other drug classes that are taken in addition to antipsychotics. There are also other physical, non-pharmaceutical treatments that may be effective when pharmaceutical options are not working as well as desired, although these options are mostly still experimental. Your clinician,…
Will family members be affected?
A diagnosis of schizophrenia can have considerable impact not only on the affected individual, but also on the people closest to them, particularly during acute phases of the illness . Family members often have difficulty recognising that an illness is developing in their relative and that the person is in need of help, resulting in delays in timing and type of help sought. Getting the right treatment early on in the disease process is crucial to better outcomes. Predominant barriers to seeking help by relatives are the perceived stigma of having a mental illness and reluctance of the ill relative…
Would my treatment change if I also have another disorder?
Schizophrenia is often accompanied by other diseases and disorders. Common co-occurring mental disorders include anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. Common co-occurring physical disorders include diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. Your clinician will take these co-occurring conditions into consideration when organising your treatment regime. April 2019
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.