Life with Schizophrenia

Around 1% of people in the United States are diagnosed with schizophrenia.  Because schizophrenia can present a range of symptoms, it is important to seek a diagnosis from mental health experts. The providers at Rochester Regional Health’s Adult Mental Health Program help everyone in need and will help you find a personalized schizophrenia treatment.

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What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a type of mental illness that can cause hallucinations and delusions. Sometimes a person with schizophrenia cannot easily tell what is real from what is illusory. This can cause the world to be a jumble of confusing images, sounds, and thoughts, and contribute to impaired social skills and engagement in activities of daily living. 

Schizophrenia often appears in the teenage years and twenties. Treatment requires a psychiatric evaluation and medication management. People with schizophrenia also benefit from Psychiatric Rehabilitation, available in Rochester Regional Health’s PROS programs. While there is no cure for schizophrenia, extensive research is helping us find increasingly innovative and safe treatment options. By studying genetics, conducting research, and using specialized imaging to look at the brain’s function and structure, the mental health community is hopeful that new and more effective therapies will continue to be found.

What Causes Schizophrenia? 

There is no known cause of schizophrenia. Stress can trigger and worsen symptoms, but it does not cause schizophrenia; neither does parenting style or a family life factor. Schizophrenia is a disorder of the brain, and it is believed it develops from a mixture of factors including: 

  • Your genetic make-up
  • How your brain forms your personality
  • Your brain’s chemical make-up that controls thinking and understanding

As research and technology continue to improve, it is possible that we’ll understand more about what causes schizophrenia. 

Symptoms of Schizophrenia 

There are a variety of symptoms a person with schizophrenia may have. Symptoms often come and go in phases. People are encouraged to seek the assistance of a doctor if they have the following experiences: 

  • Having emotions, thoughts, and moods that do not fit with events
  • Having strange beliefs that are not based on facts (commonly called delusions or false beliefs)
  • Seeing, hearing, feeling, or smelling things that are not real (called hallucinations)
  • Thinking in a confused way (being unable to make order of the world, having thoughts that quickly shift from one to the next)

 People with schizophrenia may also:

  • Be inactive
  • Have trouble with school, work, or other average activities
  • Be very sad
  • Behave in strange or unusual ways
  • Cut themselves off from loved ones and the outside world
  • Have dulled emotions
  • Lose interest in life
  • Not take care of their hygiene
  • Talk in nonsensical sentences

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of psychosis or schizophrenia, it may be time to speak with a mental health provider.

Diagnosing Schizophrenia 

Your mental health provider will perform both a complete medical history and a thorough physical examination if symptoms of schizophrenia are present. They may also use various diagnostic tests, like an MRI, a CT scan, or blood tests, to rule out physical illness as the cause of your symptoms. 

If no physical reason is found, your mental health provider will use specially-designed interview and assessment tools to evaluate you for schizophrenia. Your diagnosis will be based on your reported symptoms, as well as their observation of your attitude and behavior.

Treating Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is typically treated with counseling and medicines to lessen and cope better with psychotic symptoms. Medicines are able to control psychotic symptoms in most people, and they can:

  • Help you tell the difference between hallucinations and the real world
  • Help you think more clearly
  • Lessen feelings of confusion
  • Lessen or stop false beliefs
  • Lessen or stop hallucinations 

Medications and counseling can help people with schizophrenia resume control of their lifestyle and activities. It is imperative that medicines be taken regularly, even after symptoms are gone. Do not stop taking your prescribed medicine without the advice of your mental health provider.


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Don’t Struggle on Your Own

If you are searching for a mental health ally and advocate, look no further than the compassionate experts at Rochester Regional Health. By your side throughout your journey, your mental health provider will use evidence-based practices to give you the most thorough care in the region.
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