A person with schizophrenia


Schizophrenia is a mental illness that affects how the brain works. This leads to chronic problems with disordered thoughts and behaviors and symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and lack of emotional expression.  

Schizophrenia affects approximately 0.3% to 0.7% of people. It impacts people from all racial backgrounds and ethnicities and is slightly more common in men than in women. The exact causes are unknown, but it has both genetic and environmental risk factors.

It usually requires lifelong care and treatment to help people manage their symptoms and live full, active lives. Treatment usually involves medications, psychotherapy, and social support. Coping strategies such as joining a peer support group and participating in social skills training can also be helpful.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What causes schizophrenia?

    The exact causes of schizophrenia are not entirely understood, but a complex variety of influences likely play a role. Some potential causes include genetic, environmental, social, and psychological factors.

  • Is schizophrenia genetic?

    Research suggests that genetics play a significant role in causing schizophrenia. Having a family member with the condition greatly increases your risk of developing schizophrenia. However, while the condition sometimes runs in families, having a family member with the condition does not necessarily mean that you will develop the disorder.

  • Is there a cure for schizophrenia?

    There is no cure for schizophrenia, but there are treatments that can help people manage the symptoms of the condition and improve functioning. Treatments vary depending on each individual's needs but may include medications, psychotherapy, and family-based services. People may require different levels of care and support depending on the severity of their condition.

  • At what age does schizophrenia typically develop?

    Research suggests that early symptoms of schizophrenia begin to appear sometime between late adolescence and early twenties, although they may begin later or earlier. The age of onset is also typically later in women than in men. Symptoms appear gradually and become progressively more severe.

Key Terms

Exhausted young man rubbing eyes in cafe
The Three Phases Of Schizophrenia
Worried student sitting with head in hands at desk
What Is a Thought Disorder?
Shot of a young woman experiencing mental anguish at home
What Does Dementia Praecox Mean?
Blone woman wearing a V-neck white and red horizontal stripe shirt with disheveled hair cut to her nape of her neck
What Are the Symptoms of Somatic Delusions?
prescription drugs.
What You Should Know About Caplyta (Lumateperone)
Human anatomy scientific illustrations: Brain side view
Psychosurgery may be used to treat severe mental health disorders.
People waiting in line for coffee at a cafe
Here's Everything to Know About Thought Broadcasting
Man meeting with a therapist.
An Overview of Mental Health Statistics  
Pill in hand
Everything You Should Know About Saphris (Asenapine)
Woman depressed on her bed.
Everything You Should Know About Rexulti
Young woman holding her head in a therapist session
What Role Does Genetics Play In Causing Schizophrenia?
Woman reading a book with her face hidden
How Many People Have Schizophrenia?
confused woman
What Is Catatonia?
Man holding his head
What Is Acute Schizophrenia?
Caregiving for schizophrenia
How to Manage Caregiving for Schizophrenia
a man and a woman, sit at a table containing two half full glasses of water
What You Need to Know About Invega: Uses, Side Effects, and Warnings
Physician prescribing atypical antipsychotic medication.
Atypical Antipsychotics That Are Commonly Prescribed to Treat Schizophrenia
Two mature women talking on a bench
Do You Know the Signs of Alogia?
Woman taking a pill
Ingrezza: The First FDA-Approved Treatment for Tardive Dyskinesia
Woman looking out of the window at night
Paranoia and Schizophrenia: What You Need to Know
expressionless woman sitting on sofa
Flat Affect in Schizophrenia: Symptoms and Treatment
Man relaxing on sofa holding remote controls
How Avolition Differs from Apathy or Procrastination in Schizophrenia
A woman with schizophrenia looking scared.
What Are the Symptoms of Disorganized Schizophrenia?
brain as puzzle
Some Studies Show Link Between Gluten Consumption and Schizophrenia
Woman standing near bedroom window, arms crossed
What It's Like to Have Schizophrenia
woman looking at sunset
How to Recognize Negative Symptoms in Schizophrenia
Young man sitting on bed
Catatonic Behavior in Schizophrenia
Portrait Of A Young Woman And Reflection
The Difference Between Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder
A woman with schizophrenia looking scared.
What Are the Positive Symptoms in Schizophrenia?
Businessman working on project on laptop in startup office
Does Schizophrenia Alter the Thinking Process?
Eugen Bleuler
Historical Highlights of the Lumper-Splitter Debate in Schizophrenia
Image of Brain Networks
The Mechanism of Dopamine Partial Agonism in Schizophrenia
undifferentiated schizophrenia hallucination
What Is Undifferentiated Schizophrenia?
Page Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Holder SD, Wayhs A. Schizophrenia. Am Fam Physician. 2014;90(11):775-82.

  2. National Institute of Mental Health. Schizophrenia. Updated May 2020.

  3. Gogtay N, Vyas NS, Testa R, Wood SJ, Pantelis C. Age of onset of schizophrenia: perspectives from structural neuroimaging studies. Schizophr Bull. 2011;37(3):504-513. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbr030

  4. Chien WT, Leung SF, Yeung FK, Wong WK. Current approaches to treatments for schizophrenia spectrum disorders, part II: psychosocial interventions and patient-focused perspectives in psychiatric care. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2013;9:1463-1481. doi:10.2147/NDT.S49263