Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disease. Schizophrenia is found all over the world. The severity of the symptoms and the long-lasting, chronic pattern of schizophrenia often results in
disability, and many individuals need ongoing assistance to manage the most basic functions of independent living. People with schizophrenia may have perceptions of reality that are strikingly different from the
reality seen and shared by others around them. Their behavior may seem odd, unusual or even bizarre at times. They sometimes hear voices, talk to themselves, or respond to imaginary fears. At times, normal
individuals may feel, think, or act in ways that resemble schizophrenia. Normal people may sometimes be unable to "think straight." They may become extremely anxious, for example, when speaking in front of groups
and may feel confused, be unable to pull their thoughts together, and forget what they had intended to say. This is not schizophrenia. At the same time, people with schizophrenia do not always act abnormally.
Indeed, some people with the illness can appear completely normal and be perfectly responsible, even while they experience hallucinations or delusions. An individual's behavior may change over time, becoming bizarre
if medication is stopped and returning closer to normal when receiving appropriate treatment.
Schizophrenia Is Not "Split Personality"
There is a common misconception that schizophrenia is the same as
a "split personality" such as a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde switch in character.
Another related misconception is that schizophrenia results in several different
personalities, and the individual switches between these different personas.
These perceptions are not correct. Such characterizations could be a part
of several other possible mental disorders, such as Multiple Personality Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder or
Bi-polar Disorder, but only if other specific
symptoms are also present. These symptoms are not descriptive of schizophrenia.
For more information about schizophrenia, please follow these links:
Thanks and acknowledgment to The National Institute of Mental Health which was a primary resource for information on this topic.