What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a type of psychosis. It’s a chronic and long-term psychological disorder. This means that even after potential recovery, many patients will experience occasional return of their symptoms. 

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?

Hallucinations and delusions are the most common symptoms. Hallucination means that the person will hear or see things that come from the inside i.e. are created in their mind and actually don’t exist. Hallucination may involve any of the senses such as taste, sight, touch, and hearing. Delusions refer to beliefs that are not based on reality. A delusion is a strong belief that is held with complete conviction even if it’s based on unrealistic and abstract view. Often patients use delusions to explain their hallucinations. These are called ‘positive symptoms’. 

Other symptoms may include social isolation and avoiding people (family, relatives, colleagues, friends); losing interest in daily activities; inability to experience pleasure; lack of desire to start a relationship; little emotion and flat expressions. These are called ‘negative symptoms’. 

Contrary to common beliefs, schizophrenia doesn’t mean having a split personality which refers to multiple personality disorder. All people affected with schizophrenia are not violent either. There are a lot of misunderstandings about what it means to experience schizophrenia and other types of psychosis. A lot of people wrongly think that psychotic means dangerous. 

Causes and development of schizophrenia

There is no exact cause. A combination of genetic and environmental factors may play a role in the development of schizophrenia. Specific situations such as traumatic events and drug consumption can also trigger this condition. Drug misuse is a high risk factor for people aged 16-24. 

Schizophrenia often develops during adolescence. The first signs can be difficult to identify as puberty itself involves a wide range of emotional, hormonal, behavioural and personality changes. Often, patients have phases where symptoms are severe, followed by phases where they experience fewer or no symptoms. 

A person’s thinking processes may become more disorganised and abstract. Often, patients describe their thoughts as being controlled by someone else. For example, a patient of mine told me: ‘A kind of energy is coming from my laptop and then says to me that you are a bad person’. There is the idea that thoughts are created and planted by someone or something else.

Another common feeling that I see when working with my patients is the idea that thoughts can suddenly disappear. For example: “Dr Ezhova, you removed the thought from my mind. I know that it’s you because you are a psychologist” or “Psychologist are trained to open people’s minds and do things inside”.

These are the delusions through which patients try to convince themselves and the professionals working with them of what is going on. 

Treatments for schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is usually treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy that will be tailored to each patient. 

Medication includes antipsychotic medicine. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Psychodynamic Therapy give excellent results. 

If you like this article, you might be interested in knowing “What is psychotic depression” that you can access here

If you would like to learn more about schizophrenia, email me on: Do not hesitate to visit to get free access to high-quality information about psychological conditions. 

Please note that Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Psychodynamic Therapy will help you acquire the knowledge and reflection you need. Learn more about Psychodynamic Therapy here and about CBT here. Don't forget that you can work with me at home. Learn more about online psychotherapy here

With warm wishes,

Dr Ivanka Ezhova

Founder of Angel Psychological Therapy – Online Psychological Therapy