Schizophrenia Q&A

A highly trained psychiatrist, Dr. Soon K. Kim is a diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Dr. Soon K. Kim currently serves as president and CEO of Aurora Behavioral Health Care.

What is schizophrenia and who gets it?

A complex mental disorder involving differences in brain chemicals and the central nervous system, schizophrenia is characterized by disordered thinking and an inability to accurately interpret reality, which leads to inappropriate emotional and social responses. The cause of the condition is unknown, but family history is thought to play a role in some cases.

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia and how is it diagnosed?

Signs and symptoms of schizophrenia can appear at any age, although the condition usually manifests itself between a person’s teenage years and 30s. Those with schizophrenia can have hallucinations, delusional thinking, and disorganized thoughts, speech, and behavior. They may also withdraw and lose motivation to do the simplest tasks, such as bathing or getting dressed. Cognitively, patients may have problems with attention and memory and be unable to make sense of what they see or hear. However, because the symptoms of schizophrenia can mimic those of other mental or neurological conditions, a full psychiatric evaluation is necessary to obtain a proper diagnosis.

What treatments are available for schizophrenia?

Once diagnosed, patients are usually treated with antipsychotic medications to stabilize brain neurotransmitters. After the symptoms of psychosis are under control, patients should begin psychotherapy to learn how to cope with the condition, stay healthy, and maintain a job and normal relationships.