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Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious, chronic mental disorder that can make it hard to tell what is real and what is not real. It is a lifelong condition, but many people with schizophrenia live full and independent lives with the right treatment and monitoring. Others need more care and support. Beacon Health System has the specialized experience and advanced treatment that can help those affected by schizophrenia reach their full potential for mental stability and health.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia usually starts between ages 16 and 30, but it sometimes starts earlier or later. The cause of schizophrenia is not known. Symptoms can include:

  • Hearing or seeing things that are not there (hallucinations)
  • Strongly held beliefs that are not based on reality (delusions)
  • Isolation
  • Lack of emotion
  • Problems paying attention
  • Talking in a way that does not make sense
  • Thoughts that jump from one idea or topic to another (also called loose associations)

Treating Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is diagnosed through psychiatric evaluation and testing. Brain scans and blood tests may be used to help rule out other conditions. Treatment usually involves antipsychotic drugs and other medications, as well as psychotherapy and careful monitoring. Inpatient care may be needed for severe schizophrenia or for severe episodes.

People with schizophrenia must stay on their medication and be evaluated regularly by psychiatric professionals to prevent symptoms from returning or worsening. It’s important to have a health care team you trust, that has the specialized expertise and experience needed to find the right treatment program and to support family members or caretakers. Beacon Health System’s team has helped many people with schizophrenia, and we have access to system-wide resources and services to help those affected reach their full potential for stability, health and quality of life.