While researching the mental disorder known as Schizophrenia, I found the subject to be rather broad. There are many different theories as to what causes this illness, and how we can prevent it and cure it. The purpose of this paper is to create a larger, general understanding of the mental disorder, while concentrating more on the symptoms that characterize Schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a group of psychotic disorders characterized by disturbances in thought, perception, affect, behavior, and communication that last longer than 6 months. The cause of schizophrenia is unknown; however, there are various theories to explain the development of this disorder. Genetic factors may play a role, as close relatives of a person with schizophrenia are more likely to develop the disorder. Psychological and social factors, such as disturbed family and interpersonal relationships, may also play a role in development. There are 5 recognized types of schizophrenia: catatonic, paranoid, disorganized, undifferentiated, and residual. Features of schizophrenia include its onset before the age of 45, continuous presence of symptoms for 6 months or more, and deterioration in functioning involving care of self, work, or social relationships.
The majority of people will develop schizophrenia between the ages of 15-25; however, this doesn’t exclude those who don’t fall into this age group from developing it. Schizophrenia affects both males and females alike, however, onset often occurs earlier in men than in women.
Psychotic symptoms are present during the active phase and may include 2 or more of the following:
§ Delusions- unfounded beliefs that are thought to be true even in the face of contradictory evidence
§ Hallucinations- a sensory perception without an external stimulus; may affect hearing, taste, vision, smell, or sense of touch
§ Incoherence- disordered and without logical connection
§ Catatonic behavior- bizarre motor behavior marked by a decrease in reactivity to the environment, or hyperactivity that is unrelated to stimulus
§ Flat affect- an appearance or mood that shows no emotion

No single characteristic is present in all types of schizophrenia. The main risk factor is having a family history of schizophrenia. It’s thought to affect about 1% of the population. In children, schizophrenia can be difficult to differentiate from autism.
As of today, there is no known prevention for this disorder. Of course, many universities and research facilities are still looking into this area. Money is one of the main restrictions on continuing research.
Schizophrenia has many symptoms. The catatonic types include:
§ Motor disturbances
§ Stupor
§ Negativism
§ Rigidity
§ Excitement
§ May be unable to take care of personal needs
§ Decreased sensitivity to painful stimulus

The paranoid type of symptoms include:
§ Delusional thoughts of a persecution or grandiose nature
§ Anxiety
§ Anger
§ Violence
§ Argumentative

The disorganized types of symptoms are the most common that people are aware of. They include:
§ Incoherence
§ Regressive behavior
§ Flat affect
§ Delusions
§ Hallucinations
§ Inappropriate laughter
§ Mannerisms
§ Social withdrawal

The undifferentiated symptoms include:
§ May have symptoms of more than one subtype of schizophrenia

The residual type of symptoms include:
§ The prominent symptoms of the illness have abated but some features, such as hallucinations and flat affect, may remain

Positive symptoms, which are the most recognizable symptoms of schizophrenia, are mental experiences that most people don’t have. Not everyone with schizophrenia has exactly the same symptoms but most people have a combination of both positive and negative ones. Hallucinations occur when a person senses things that aren’t really there; however, they seem very real to the person experiencing them. The most commonly experienced hallucination is hearing voices. Often a person hears more than one voice at a time. Many times, the voices tell him/her what to do or comment on what he/she is doing. People also have hallucinations where they see, fell, smell or taste something that is not there.
Delusions are beliefs of a paranoid or bizarre nature that are untrue, but believed by the person experiencing them to be very real. Some people who experience delusions believe that they are being controlled by something beside themselves or believe that they are being controlled by something beside themselves or believe that people are inserting or removing ideas, or listening to their thoughts.
Disorganized speech includes incoherent speech and speech in which ideas shift from one subject to another seemingly unrelated subject. This is sometimes described as “loose associations.” Other types of disorganized speech include responding to questions in an irrelevant way, reaching illogical conclusions, and making up words.
People displaying disorganized behavior often look disheveled or strangely dressed. They may also display socially inappropriate behavior, such as repeating gestures or motions in a bizarre manner.