Contrary to what some people believe, schizophrenia is not a split personality; rather, it is a brain disease and one of the most serious mental illnesses.

Schizophrenia symptoms usually appear in the late teens or twenties. People with schizophrenia experience severe symptoms of mixed-up thoughts or delusions and bizarre behaviour (psychosis).

There are different types of schizophrenia, each with its particular symptoms. Generally, symptoms include hallucinations (something a person sees, hears, smells or feels that no one else can) or delusions (false personal beliefs). These delusions are not part of the person’s culture and do not change, even when other people demonstrate proof that the beliefs are not true or logical.

A person with schizophrenia may have disordered thinking and be clumsy and uncoordinated. He or she may also exhibit involuntary movements or display unusual mannerisms.

These impairments often interfere with a person’s ability to lead a normal life and earn a living, and can cause great emotional distress.

The course of schizophrenia varies with the person; therefore, many treatment options are available.