Lawyers who represent Social Security disability claimants see more than our fair share of schizophrenia, The National Institute of Mental Health has a Web site section with good information about schizophrenia, from symptoms to treatment. Here is an exert from their site:
Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder. It affects about 1 percent of people all over the world (including 2.4 million Americans) and has been recognized throughout recorded history.
People with schizophrenia may hear voices other people don’t hear or believe that others are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. These experiences are terrifying and can cause fearfulness, withdrawal, or extreme agitation. People with schizophrenia may not make sense when they talk, may sit for hours without moving or talking much, or can seem perfectly fine until they talk about what they are really thinking. Since many people with schizophrenia have difficulty holding a job or caring for themselves, the burden on their families and society is significant as well.
Available treatments can relieve many of the disorder’s symptoms, but most people who have schizophrenia must cope with some residual symptoms as long as they live. Nevertheless, this is a time of hope for people with schizophrenia and their families. Many people with the disorder now lead rewarding and meaningful lives in the community. Researchers are developing more effective medications and using new research tools to understand the causes of schizophrenia and find ways to prevent and treat it.