What Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. The person finds it difficult to tell the difference between real and imagined experiences, to think logically, to express feelings, or to behave appropriately.
People with schizophrenia may hear internal voices not heard by others or may see things that are not really there. These experiences can seem threatening and can make them fearful and withdrawn. They also may have trouble organizing their thoughts and expressing themselves. Their speech and behavior can be so disorganized that they may seem frightening to others.
Schizophrenia is one of the most misunderstood mental illnesses. Contrary to popular belief, it does not involve a "Jekyll-and-Hyde" type of split personality. Instead, it means that all the attributes that go into the makeup of the human personality - logical thinking, feelings and expression, perception, and relating to others - become separated from one another.
Schizophrenia affects about one percent of the world's population and is found all over the world, in all ethnic and social groups.
People with schizophrenia often have difficulty functioning in society, at work, and in school. The illness can be taxing on both the individuals who are affected and on their families.
But the symptoms of schizophrenia vary widely from one person to another. In some people, the dissociated feelings caused by the illness are a constant part of life. In others, the symptoms will come and go.
People with schizophrenia do not always act abnormally. They may appear perfectly responsible and in control, even when experiencing hallucinations or delusions.
Schizophrenia cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be reduced significantly with treatment.
The vast majority of people with schizophrenia are living either full and productive lives or relatively independent lives.
taken from= http://www.ehealthmd.com/library/schizophrenia/SCH_whatis.html