Understanding Schizophrenia & Treatment

Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental illness that affects how you or a loved one may think, feel, and behave. People impacted by schizophrenia may even seem like they have lost touch with reality.

Below you will find helpful tips from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), along with info about our Schizophrenia Management Support Group in Oklahoma City.

Signs and Symptoms

Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30. In rare cases, children have schizophrenia, too.

The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.

Positive Symptoms: 

“Positive” symptoms are psychotic behaviors not generally seen in healthy people. People with positive symptoms may “lose touch” with some aspects of reality. Symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Thought disorders (unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking)
  • Movement disorders (agitated body movements)

Negative Symptoms: “Negative” symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. Symptoms include:

  • “Flat affect” (reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone)
  • Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
  • Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities
  • Reduced speaking

Cognitive Symptoms: For some patients, the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia are subtle, but for others, they are more severe and patients may notice changes in their memory or other aspects of thinking. Symptoms include:

  • Poor “executive functioning” (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention
  • Problems with “working memory” (the ability to use information immediately after learning it)

How can I help someone I know with schizophrenia?

Caring for and supporting a loved one with schizophrenia can be hard. It can be difficult to know how to respond to someone who makes strange or clearly false statements. It is important to understand that schizophrenia is a biological illness.

Here are some things you can do to help your loved one:

  • Get them treatment and encourage them to stay in treatment
  • Remember that their beliefs or hallucinations seem very real to them
  • Tell them that you acknowledge that everyone has the right to see things their own way
  • Be respectful, supportive, and kind without tolerating dangerous or inappropriate behavior
  • Check to see if there are any support groups in your area

Our Schizophrenia Management Support Group

Oklahoma City Only: Each Thursday at 1 pm our peer-run drop-in center, Lottie House, offers a Schizophrenia Management Support Group. This is your opportunity to share, listen, teach and learn with others impacted by schizophrenia, and their friends and loved ones.

Lottie House is located at 1311 North Lottie Avenue in Oklahoma City. For more information, call 405.943.3700 or email

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