What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental health diagnosis often used to describe experiences such as disturbances in your thoughts, perceptions, emotions and behaviour. About one in every 100 people worldwide have a diagnosis that fits into this category. Schizophrenia is rare before the age of 15, but it can start any time after this, most often between the ages of 15 and 35.

The schizophrenia symptoms are broken into two groups – ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ symptoms.

Positive schizophrenia symptoms include experiences like:

  • Hallucinations (e.g. seeing, hearing or smelling things that are not there)

  • Delusions (thinking things are happening that are not or that you or someone else is someone they are not)

  • Disorganised thinking

  • Disorganised behaviour

  • Agitation

Negative schizophrenia symptoms can include:

  • A loss of energy, enthusiasm and motivation

  • Withdrawal

  • Flat mood

  • Loss of feelings

  • Concrete thinking

  • Poor ability to plan

Support and treatment for schizophrenia:

Everyone experiences mental health problems differently and therefore treatment, help, and support also varies from person to person. What works for one person may not for another. A powerful tool when deciding the best support for you is to think about what you believe will help you, and not to think you are beyond help if a certain type of treatment doesn’t work out.

  • A G.P.
    People diagnosed with schizophrenia can and do recover. A G.P. is a useful first point of contact for advice, treatment and referral to appropriate supports and services.

  • H.S.E. mental health services
    The H.S.E. mental health services can support you in better understanding schizophrenia and finding the treatment options that best work for you. Talk to your G.P. about how mental health services can help you manage and prevent the symptoms, and have a healthy, balanced life.

  • Shine
    Shine provides information, support and services for people with mental health difficulties and their families. You can contact Shine on:
    Email: phil@shineonline.ie
    Web:  www.shine.ie

  • Detect
    DETECT aims to provide a service for individuals experiencing first episode psychosis and their families living in Cluain Mhuire, Elm Mount, Newcastle, and for St. John of God Hospital services.
    Web: www.detect.ie

  • Listening service
    Samaritans is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for anyone struggling to cope. For confidential, non-judgemental support please free call 116 123 in the Republic of Ireland, email jo@samaritans.org, or visit www.samaritans.ie for details of the nearest branch.