Schizophrenia is a misunderstood and stigmatized illness. When someone is suffering from a psychotic episode as the result of their Schizophrenia, their normal thought processes are disrupted. This may give people the misperception that the person with Schizophrenia has multiple personalities, which is not the case. The schizophrenic mind is not split but shattered.
There is also a misconception that people with Schizophrenia are violent, when in fact, they are much more likely to be the victim of a violent crime than the instigator. That’s why it’s so important for patients diagnosed with Schizophrenia to seek proper medical care and support.
Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic, complex brain disorder. It affects how someone thinks, feels and behaves. People with Schizophrenia experience episodes of psychosis. This means that they may hallucinate (see or hear things that aren’t there); have delusions (believe things that aren’t real); and struggle with disordered thoughts, feelings, and motivation.
If Schizophrenia is not treated, it can become worse to the point where it becomes entirely disabling with significant repercussions on someone’s education or career. It even increases mortality. Effective treatments exist, and yet, more than 69% of people with Schizophrenia are not receiving the appropriate care.
Schizophrenia affects more than 24 million people worldwide, 3.7 million in Europe. It is typically diagnosed in men when they are in their late teens to mid-twenties, and in women when they are in their mid-twenties to early thirties.
Genetic factors can contribute to the risk of developing Schizophrenia, as can certain environmental factors, such as poverty, stressful surroundings, or having been exposed to viruses or nutritional problems before birth.
The impact of this disease on someone’s life is enormous. People with Schizophrenia are more likely to be homeless, 2.4x more likely to die early --often because they do not seek medical help for preventable and treatable physical diseases and infections-- and are ten times more likely to commit suicide.
It is still not clear what causes Schizophrenia, but we know that it is treatable with medicine and psychosocial support, ideally a combination. The earlier someone is treated for Schizophrenia, the more effective the treatment will be, and the more likely they are to succeed in school and at work, achieve independent lives, and enjoy personal relationships.
Antipsychotic medications help reduce the intensity and frequency of psychotic symptoms. While some drugs can have persistent side effects, it is important not to suddenly stop taking the medication without consulting your doctor, as it can cause symptoms to worsen.
Psychological therapies can help reduce symptoms, and prevent relapse and hospitalization. Especially Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) helps people cope with everyday activities and pursue personal goals, giving them a chance at a normal life.
As Schizophrenia is often misunderstood, programs to educate and support family, friends and partners are extremely important. Caring for someone with Schizophrenia is very challenging, especially when you don’t know what is happening, or how to respond to someone who is experiencing psychosis.
When loved ones better recognize the psychotic symptoms, know what treatment options might be available, and understand that recovery is a lifelong commitment, they will be better able to effectively assist the person with Schizophrenia.
Awareness of the disease can lessen distress, bolster empowerment, and strengthen the capacity to cope – for both patients and caregivers.
Learn more about your role as a carer and how to best support your loved ones.
The list below includes example questions to help start a conversation with your health care provider. There may be other relevant questions based on your symptoms, stage, and medical history that are not listed here.
Learn how to prepare for discussions with your healthcare team.
With over 50 years of experience, Janssen is the world leader in neuroscience research. Janssen founder, Dr Paul Janssen, developed some of the first psychiatric treatments, and we have continued to innovate in the fields of Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder and Dementia.
Today, we are focused on developing drugs for disorders of cognition, mood disorders, and psychosis. We are involved in a large number of initiatives to support people affected by mental illness, and are particularly motivated to reduce the stigma of mental health.
This website is developed exclusively by Janssen Pharmaceutica NV. Please note that the patient advocacy groups, and external sources listed below are an additional and independent source of information you might find useful. These groups and sources were not involved in the creation of this website and do not endorse its content in any way.
Effective three-way conversations between carers, patients and their doctor can improve consultations and their outcomes. This worksheet will help keep a log of the patient’s feelings between appointments and inform and support doctors in starting the conversation during consultations.