Bipolar disorder is an illness that consists of alternating Schizophrenia, also sometimes called split personality disorder, is a chronic, severe, debilitating mental illness that affects about 1% of the population,. Other statistics about schizophrenia include that it affects men about one and a half times more commonly than women. It is one of the psychotic mental disorders and is characterized by symptoms of thought, behavior, and social problems. The thought problems associated with schizophrenia are described as psychosis, in that the person’s thinking is completely out of touch with reality at times. For example, the sufferer may hear voices or see people that are in no way present or feel like bugs are crawling on their skin when there are none. The individual with this disorder may also have disorganized speech, disorganized behavior, physically rigid or lax behavior (catatonia), significantly decreased behaviors or feelings, as well as delusions, which are ideas about themselves or others that have no basis in reality (for example, experience the paranoia of thinking others are plotting against them when they are not). Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.

Signs and symptoms of Schizophrenia:

Schizophrenia may have a variety of symptoms. Usually the illness develops slowly over months or years. Like other chronic illnesses, schizophrenia cycles between periods of fewer symptoms and periods of more symptoms. At first, you may feel tense, or have trouble sleeping or concentrating. You can become isolated and withdrawn, and have trouble making or keeping friends.
As the illness continues, psychotic symptoms develop:

  • Appearance or mood that shows no emotion (flat affect)
  • Bizarre movements that show less of a reaction to the environment (catatonic behavior)
  • Bizarre movements that show less of a reaction to the environment (catatonic behavior)
  • Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

Problems with thinking often occur:

Paranoid types often feel anxious, are more often angry or argumentative, and falsely believe that others are trying to harm them or their loved ones.
Disorganized types have problems thinking and expressing their ideas clearly, often exhibit childlike behavior, and frequently show little emotion.

Catatonic types may be in a constant state of unrest, or they may not move or be underactive. Their muscles and posture may be rigid. They may grimace or have other odd facial expressions, and they may be less responsive to others.

Undifferentiated types may have symptoms of more than one other type of schizophrenia.
Residual types experience some symptoms, but not as many as those who are in a full-blown episode of schizophrenia.

People with any type of schizophrenia may have difficulty keeping friends and working. They may also have problems with anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

Schizophrenia is a complex illness. Even experts in the field are not sure what causes it.
Genetic factors appear to play a role. People who have family members with schizophrenia may be more likely to get the illness themselves.

Some researchers believe that environmental events may trigger schizophrenia in people who are already genetically at risk for the disorder. For example, infection during development in the mother’s womb or stressful psychological experiences may increase the risk for developing schizophrenia later in life. Social and family support appears to improve the illness.

Schizophrenia affects about 1% of people worldwide. It occurs equally among men and women, but in women it tends to begin later and be milder. For this reason, males tend to account for more than half of patients in services with high numbers of young adults. Although schizophrenia usually begins in young adulthood, there are cases in which the disorder begins later (over age 45).

Childhood-onset schizophrenia begins after age 5 and, in most cases, after normal development. Childhood schizophrenia is rare and can be difficult to tell apart from other developmental disorders of childhood, such as autism.