Schizophrenia is a diagnosis that may be given to someone who experiences intense changes in how they think, feel and experience the world.
In making a diagnosis of schizophrenia, doctors will ask about changes that are unusual for you and look for possible symptoms. These can include:
- hallucinations: hearing, seeing or experiencing things that no one else does
- delusions: beliefs that don’t seem logical or real to other people
- difficulty thinking and communicating
- not feeling like doing anything
- sleeping a lot or not enough
- losing interest in taking care of yourself
- difficulty in planning
- not wanting to talk to people
- feeling less emotion than usual
- losing interest in socialising, hobbies or activities
This is when you hear, see or experience things that no one else does. Hallucinations can sometimes be frightening and can affect all of your senses.
Hearing: you might hear voices speaking to you that others can’t hear. These voices could be friendly or frightening.
Taste: you might experience strange tastes.
Sight: you might see things that no one else can see.
Feeling: you might experience strange sensations in your body.
Smell: you might smell something that others can’t smell.
Delusions are beliefs that don’t seem logical or real to other people, but are very real to the person experiencing them. For example, you might believe that the television is talking to you, but no one believes you.
These types of experiences can have a significant impact on daily life, including relationships, work, physical health and sense of self.
Treatment and support will be different for each person. Mental health professionals should help you find treatments and supports that work best for you. This may be a combination of medication, rehabilitation and professional, family, community and peer support.
A diagnosis will mean different things to different people. It is only one way of understanding your experiences and what might support your recovery. It can help to do your own research and talk to a range of professionals, trusted family and friends, or to people who have had similar experiences.
Regardless of diagnosis, people do recover and live well.
If you need to talk, call our Helpline.
Learn more about:
- causes and contributing factors
- other mental illnesses
- what helps
- support for families, friends and carers
- the importance of identity and belonging
- our peer education programs
- our community education programs
Remember, you are not alone. Hear stories from people who have been there.
For more information, please contact Wellways on 1300 111 400.