Schizophrenia is a mental illness characterized by abnormal behavior, disorganized speech, and being out of touch with reality. Other symptoms may include delusions, disordered thinking, hearing voices that do not exist, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and lack of motivation. People with schizophrenia often have additional mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, or substance-use disorders.
The causes of schizophrenia include environmental and genetic factors. Diagnosis is based on observed behavior, the person’s reported experiences and reports of others familiar with the person. During diagnosis, a person’s culture must also be taken into account.
The mainstay of treatment is antipsychotic medication, along with counselling, job training, and social rehabilitation. In situations where there is a risk of harm to self or others, involuntary hospitalization may be necessary, although hospital stays are shorter and less frequent than they once were.
About 0.3% to 0.7% of people are affected by schizophrenia during their lifetimes. In 2017, there were an estimated 1.1 million new cases and a total of 19.8 million cases globally. Males are more often affected and onset is on average earlier in age. About 20% of people eventually do well, and a few recover completely.