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Schizophrenia: Just the facts

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health condition

It often causes severe symptoms such as:

  • Hallucinations – hearing, seeing or experiencing things that are not really there
  • Delusions – beliefs that aren’t based on reality
  • Muddled thoughts based on hallucinations or delusions
  • Not always being able to distinguish thoughts from reality

Other common symptoms include:

  • Not feeling up to normal activities, like washing and dressing
  • Wanting to avoid people, including friends

It is often a misunderstood mental health condition, schizophrenia does not cause people to be violent and does not mean someone has a split personality.

Schizophrenia is a type of psychosis, you can read more about psychosis here.

But just because someone is experiencing psychosis, that does not necessarily mean they have schizophrenia.

If you think you are having any symptoms of schizophrenia or psychosis, it’s important to speak to a GP as soon as possible. There is no single test to diagnose schizophrenia, so you may be referred to a psychiatrist or specialist for a diagnosis. The earlier it is diagnosed, the more successfully it can be treated.

Diagnosis before the age of 18 is known as ‘early onset schizophrenia’. Schizophrenia diagnosis before the age of 13 is extremely rare.

Treatment usually includes a combination of talking therapies and antipsychotic medication. Many people do recover from schizophrenia, although they may have periods when symptoms return (these are called relapses).

People living with schizophrenia may also find it comforting to speak to others with the same condition, charities such as SANE have an eCommunity where people can come together and share their experiences.



How to get help

If you have any more questions on this area or would like to speak to somebody about this topic, have a look at the links or search for your local services in the blue box below. Alternatively you can always contact your school nurse.

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