Clinical Presentation | Diagnostic Assessment | Natural History of Schizophrenia | Interventions and Clinical Management | Etiology and Pathophysiology | Conclusion | References
Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that generally
affects mental functions and behavior. It is associated with a variable
course, and outcomes range from complete recovery to severe disability. The
most prominent characteristics of schizophrenia are hallucinations,
delusions, and disorganization, which may lead to dangerous or bizarre
behaviors. More insidious are so-called negative symptoms, such
as social withdrawal and diminished emotional engagement, and cognitive
impairments that can significantly impair social and occupational
functioning. Because onset is usually in late adolescence or early adulthood,
schizophrenia and related disorders are a leading cause of disability.
Globally, schizophrenia is the fifth leading cause of years lost
to disability for men and the sixth leading cause for women (World Health Organization 2008).
Adverse consequences include unemployment, violence, hospitalization,
medical comorbidities, homelessness, and premature mortality.