Schizophrenia is a psychotic illness meaning the individual can struggle to distinguish reality from the imagination.
Typical symptoms include delusions, which are fixed, false beliefs, and hallucinations which are perceptions arising without an external stimulus.
In some people schizophrenia may present with social withdrawal and a change in personality from outgoing and confident to withdrawn and suspicious. Where there is no obvious cause such as head injury or drug intoxication then schizophrenia may be the underlying diagnosis.
The causes of schizophrenia remains poorly understood. Genetic or hereditary factors seem to be important in some people, but in others it can arise after stressful life experiences. Very often there is no clear cause for the onset of symptoms.
Psychiatric assessment can help define the symptoms and individual is experiencing and lead to treatments which can often be highly effective. For some people simply understanding that their experiences are arising from an illness can be very helpful at reducing the stress and fear they may be experiencing.
Typical treatment options include talking therapies including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and / or medication.
The first step is to speak to one of our experienced psychiatrists for a detailed assessment of your symptoms.
Many of us are familiar with ‘feeling paranoid’. It is very common and usually relates to suspicions about people and things happening around us. However in more severe forms it may not be possible to distinguish reality from fantasy making it important to seek expert support in order to determine the underlying cause and hence the most appropriate treatment.