Information for the public

What is schizophrenia?

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious mental health condition that affects a person's mental state, including their thoughts, mood and behaviour. The condition varies from person to person but the main symptoms are called 'psychotic' symptoms. These are:

  • hearing voices and sometimes seeing things that are not really there (called hallucinations)

  • having fixed beliefs that are false but which the person believes in completely (called delusions).

Because of these symptoms the person may not be able to think clearly or concentrate. They may lose interest in things, lack motivation and become withdrawn from other people.

Schizophrenia affects about 1 in every 100 people. It is usually treated with a type medication called 'antipsychotic' medication and psychological therapy (a treatment that involves meeting with a healthcare professional to talk about feelings and thoughts and how these affect behaviour and wellbeing).