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UNDERSTANDING SCHIZOPHRENIA 





The subject in this photo is a model for illustrative purposes only. 





Schizophrenia Is a serious mental 
disorder in which people interpret reality 
abnormally—resulting In a combination of 
hallucinations, delusions, and exaggerated 
or irrational thinking and behavior. Less 
than one percent of people In the United 
States suffer from this illness. 


When people first experience symptoms 
and episodes, they are often in denial that 
they are sick. They may be unaware that 
they re showing signs of schizophrenic 
behavior. Schizophrenia can be disruptive in 
many ways, making It difficult to socialize, 
maintain a regular schedule, work, and 
keep relationships. 


Symptoms of schizophrenia can change in type and severity over time and involve a combination of: 


Delusions: 


false beliefs that are not based in reality 


Hallucinations: 
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Extremely disorganized or 
abnormal physical behavior: 
resistance to Instructions, 
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posture, a complete lack of 
response, childlike silliness, 
unpredictable agitation, or useless 
and excessive movement 





Disorganized thinking and speech: 
Impaired communication, such as answers 
that may be partially or completely 


unrelated to questions or a conversation 


Negative symptoms: 

reduced or lack of ability to function 
normally, such as not paying attention 
to personal hygiene 


Suicidal thoughts and behavior 
el eaere} al aalelamelaaierare people 
with schizophrenia. 


SAMHSA’‘s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. , AM 4 


1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727) + 1-800-487-4889 (TDD) 


* www.samhsSa.gov 


Substance Abuse and Mental Health 
Services Administration 


Medication and therapy can help manage schizophrenia. The sooner treatment begins, the higher likelihood there 
is for improvement and recovery. However, people with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment, even when 


symptoms are less severe. 


MEDICATION: 


Antipsychotic medications help get 
symptoms under control. It may be 
necessary for a psychiatrist to try different 
medications at different doses to find the 
right combination. It can take several weeks 
to notice an improvement in symptoms. 


If experiencing periods of crisis, 
hospitalization may be needed to ensure 
Safety, proper nutrition, adequate sleep, 
nd basic hygiene. 


For people who do not respond to 
medication, electroconvulsive therapy 
(ECT) may an option. ECT is a brain 
stimulation technique in which small 
electric currents are passed through 
the brain to quickly ease the symptoms 
of schizophrenia. 






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The subject in this photo is a model for illustrative purpose 


PSYCHOSOCIAL THERAPY AND TRAINING: 


In addition to medication, therapy and support are important: 


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Individual therapy Social skills Family therapy Vocational 
helps normalize training improves provides support rehabilitation 
thought patterns. communication and and education to and supported 
social interactions. families dealing employment 
with schizophrenia. help people find 


and keep jobs. 


If you or someone you know has schizophrenia, these resources can help. Visit SAMHSA’s Early Serious Mental 
Treatment Locator and Behavioral Health Treatment Locator at SAMHSA.gov. Or, call SAMHSA’s National 
Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or 1-800-487-4889 (TDD). 


Learn more at SAMHSA.gov/Serious-Mental-Illness 


SAMHSA’‘s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities. , AM J 


1-877-SAMHSA-7 [1-877-726-4727] - 1-800-487-4889 (TDD) - www.samhsa.gov 


Substance Abuse and Mental Health 
Services Administration