Schizophrenia is a severe, chronic, and generally disabling brain and behavior disorder. It is most accurately described as a psychosis - a type of illness that causes severe mental disturbances that disrupt normal thoughts, speech, and behavior. Schizophrenia is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Positive symptoms may include delusions, thought disorders, and hallucinations. People with schizophrenia may hear voices other people don't hear, or believe other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. Negative symptoms may include avolition (a lack of desire or motivation to accomplish goals), lack of desire to form social relationships, and blunted affect and emotion. Cognitive symptoms involve problems with attention and memory, especially in planning and organization to achieve a goal. Cognitive deficits are the most disabling for patients trying to lead a normal life.
Visit the Schizophrenia Research Forum, fully sponsored by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation—a virtual community of scientists collaborating in their quest for causes, improved treatments, and better understanding of schizophrenia.