Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness characterized by the presence of hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech and behavior, and a lack of emotional expression. When left untreated, it significantly impacts a person’s thoughts, behaviors, and emotions, usually to the point of being unable to function in major areas of their life (such as relationships, taking care of themselves, work, or school).

According to the American Psychiatric Association (2013), delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech must be present and the symptoms must have persisted for at least 6 months in order for a mental health professional to be able to make a diagnosis. Most people with schizophrenia are first diagnosed in young adulthood (18 through 28 years of age), but a person can be diagnosed with this disorder at any age as an adult.

Schizophrenia is misunderstood by many and often mis-portrayed in popular media, such as television shows and movies. It is a common disorder to reference in popular culture when a person wants to suggest that someone is “crazy” or “unhinged.” Sadly, such portrayals are usually inaccurate and more importantly reinforce negative stereotypes about people with this disorder.

The reality is far more complex. Many people with schizophrenia lead fairly ordinary, “normal” lives, because they keep the symptoms of the disorder under control with treatment (most often, antipsychotic medications). Some people with this disorder are homeless, while others find themselves in trouble with the criminal justice system. Still others live in group homes or with their extended family, who help with everyday activities that might otherwise seem overwhelming or challenging. In short, if you’ve met one person with schizophrenia, you’ve met just one person — it is nearly impossible to generalize about people with this diagnosis.

We’ve developed this guide of the most valuable articles we’ve written about this serious mental illness. If you still have questions after reading through the guide, it is suggested you speak to a mental health professional — such as a psychologist or psychiatrist — about your concerns. Only a mental health professional can make a reliable, accurate diagnosis of this condition.

Understanding & Giving Support to Someone with Schizophrenia What is schizophrenia? How do you help someone with schizophrenia? This article describes the common symptoms of schizophrenia and gives some tips for people to help those with schizophrenia.

13 Myths of Schizophrenia

There remain many misconceptions about this condition.

7 Things That Help in Managing Schizophrenia

Have a friend or loved one that you suspect has schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia Treatment

What does modern, state-of-the-art treatment for schizophrenia look like?

Long-Acting Treatments for Schizophrenia

What are long-acting treatments? How do they differ from traditional treatments?

Join the Psych Central Support Group

Help and treatment for schizophrenia is just a click away. You can also search for a treatment provider.

Living with Schizophrenia

While no two people experience schizophrenia or psychosis in exactly the same way, it helps to know that you are not alone.

Expert Q&A on Schizophrenia

What do our experts say in answering your questions about schizophrenia?

Helping Someone With Schizophrenia

Where do you begin in helping someone who has schizophrenia?

Helpful Hints About Schizophrenia for Family Members

Have a friend or loved one that you suspect has schizophrenia?

Managing Schizophrenia: 9 Things Every Caregiver Should Know

Have a friend or loved one that you suspect has schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia Quick Fact Sheet

What are the basics of schizophrenia?

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most frequently asked questions about schizophrenia? We provide the answers!

Top 10 Signs of Schizophrenia

What are the top signs and symptoms of schizophrenia?

What Causes Schizophrenia?

Is it purely genetics, or do the environment and other factors come into play?

When Someone Has Schizophrenia

When someone has schizophrenia, what does it mean? How can you help?

Questions to Ask Your Doctor

What are the important questions you should ask your doctor about schizophrenia?