Schizophrenia is:
• A brain disease with concrete and specific symptoms due to physical and biochemical changes in the brain
• An illness that strikes young people in their prime – age of onset is usually between 16 and 25
• Almost always treatable with medication.

It’s also more common than most people think, affecting 1 in 100 people worldwide – that’s about 300,000 Canadians, including over 40,000 of our British Columbia neighbours.

Schizophrenia is not:
• A “split personality”
• Caused by childhood trauma, bad parenting, or poverty
• The result of any action or personal failure by the individual

Signs and Symptoms:
• Strange posturing
• Bizarre behaviour
• Agitation
• Fear of people
• Alcohol and drug abuse
• Inappropriate laughter
• Severe sleep disturbances
• Deterioration in personal hygiene
• Memory and concentration problems
• Social withdrawal and isolation
• Emerging unusual beliefs
• Loss of motivation or energy
• Unusual or uncharacteristic behaviour
• Changes in perception

More information on schizophrenia and psychosis
Expert Consensus Treatment Guidelines for Schizophrenia
A guide for patients and families on the illness.

Basic Facts About Schizophrenia
An abridged version of an introductory booklet prepared by the BC Schizophrenia Society provincial office.

Schizophrenia: Some Questions and Answers
Eight frequently asked questions excerpted from Basic Facts About Schizophrenia (see above)

Internet Mental Health
A detailed description of schizophrenia, including causation, prevalence, symptoms, course of the illness, treatment and outcome, plus reference material.

Dealing with Cognitive Dysfunction Associated with Psychiatric Disabilities
A handbook to help families and friends of individuals with mental illnesses deal with cognitive problems such as memory, critical thinking and attention, by the New York State Office of Mental Health.

For the Support Person
A downloadable booklet on supporting a person in recovery and self-care, from the Early Psychosis Intervention program.

How Much Do You Know About Schizophrenia?
It’s a “brain disease.” A 10-question quiz on schizophrenia, good for learning the basics about the illness.

For more resources, please check Books and Resources, in our Information section.