What Is Schizophrenia? Know the Important Symptoms, Causes and How It Is Treated

Bajaj Finserv Health
December 20th, 2021
8 mins read

Key Takeaways

  • Schizophrenia affects the thoughts, behavior, and feelings of a person
  • Causes of schizophrenia include genetics and environmental factors
  • Delusions and hallucinations are the symptoms of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental condition that affects the thoughts, feelings, and behaviour of a person. This mental disorder generally occurs in late adolescence or early adulthood and affects around 20 million people worldwide [1]. People with this experience delusions and hallucinations. It makes them interpret reality abnormally. The condition is associated with a disability that may affect a person’s work or education. It can bring distress to the individual’s friends and family too. There are several schizophrenia types [2]. However, this can be managed with an effective treatment. 

Read on to know schizophrenia symptoms, causes, and treatments.

Additional Read: Agoraphobia and Social Anxiety: 2 Anxiety Disorders and their Differences

Schizophrenia Causes

There is no definite cause of this mental condition. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), genetics, environmental factors, and difference in brain structure or functions may cause schizophrenia [3].


This may be hereditary. It can run in families and be passed on to children from their parents. Your risk may increase if one of your parents is diagnosed with schizophrenia. However, your chances of developing this condition are below 1% if there is no history of this in your family.


Brain Chemistry

An imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin may cause this mental condition. If you have schizophrenia, your body may not be able to regulate these neurotransmitters or circuits of nerve cells responsible for affecting your thoughts and behavior.


Environmental factors may also contribute to the development of schizophrenia. It may occur when your body is undergoing physical or hormonal changes, mostly during teenage or young adult years. Here are the common environmental factors.

  • Migration
  • Viral infections
  • Urbanicity
  • Trauma
  • Pregnancy and birth complications
  • Malnutrition before birth
  • Exposure to certain toxins
  • Abnormal brain structure

According to researchers, people with schizophrenia may have an abnormal brain structure. However, it may not be the case with all schizophrenia patients. People with a normal brain structure can also suffer from this condition.

Certain Drugs and Medications

Drugs such as cannabis can trigger schizophrenia in some people. Similarly, using psychoactive or psychotropic drugs in your teenage or young adulthood days can make you prone to schizophrenia.

Types of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia Symptoms

Schizophrenia has a range of symptoms and may affect different people differently. Here are some schizophrenia symptoms and signs:

  • Delusions – False, mixed, or strange beliefs that are not based on reality
  • Hallucinations – Hearing voices, seeing things, feeling skin sensations, or smelling strange odours that are not real
  • Catatonia – when a person stops speaking, and their body becomes rigid for a very long time [4]
  • Confused thoughts and speech that is difficult to understand
  • Slow movement
  • Writing excessively without making sense
  • Losing or forgetting things
  • Social withdrawal 
  • A drop in school or work performance
  • Problem with concentration
  • Temper flares
  • Sleeping difficulty
  • Lack of emotions
  • Lack of energy
  • Using words in sentences while talking that makes no sense
  • Quick-shift in thoughts without any connections
  • Repeating movements such as walking in circles\
  • Difficulty making sense of everyday sights, sounds, and feelings
  • Poor executive functioning – difficulty understanding and using the information to make decisions
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention
  • Difficulty using information just after learning it
  • Trouble recognizing or accepting any symptoms
  • Speaking less
  • Staying inactive
  • Lack of facial and emotional expression
  • Feeling anxious
  • Lacking motivation
  • Dull emotions
  • Loss of pleasure or interest in life
  • Poor hygiene habits
  • Thoughts, emotions, and moods that do not match the situation
  • Overly active or having a lot of energy
  • Strange, disorganized, or abnormal behaviour
  • Mood swings, irritability, or depressed mood

Schizophrenia Treatment

Schizophrenia treatment aims at relieving the symptoms and reducing the chances of a relapse. Although it is a lifelong condition, you can manage schizophrenia symptoms, prevent relapses, and avoid hospitalization with effective treatment. Some treatments include antipsychotic drugs, counselling, and coordinated special care, which is a holistic approach involving medication, involvement of family, and education services. Some popular medications for schizophrenia include risperidone (Risperdal), olanzapine (Zyprexa), and quetiapine (Seroquel).

Additional Read: Can Mental Health Issues Be Diagnosed with A Blood Test? Find out here!

There are several types of mental illness. As now you know schizophrenia’s meaning and symptoms, it is your responsibility to take good care of your mental health. Help those dealing with mental illnesses and encourage them to get proper treatment. You can book an online doctor consultation on Bajaj Finserv Health for aid. An online physiatrist consultation or online neurologist consultation can help you receive the right care. The mental health specialist may conduct a schizophrenia test to understand your condition better and prescribe a proper treatment plan.

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