Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental disorder affecting an estimated 1 percent of the population. With symptoms characterized by hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thoughts, schizophrenia generally presents in late teens or early adulthood.
What causes this mental disorder? 
Although a single cause has not been determined, current evidence suggests that environmental and genetic factors work collectively to bring about schizophrenia.
What makes Schizophrenia different from other mental health disorders?
Signs and symptoms of Schizophrenia will be varied, depending on each individual. Some will experience what are deemed positive symptoms, like delusions and hallucinations. Others will have negative symptoms like lack of emotion, withdrawal, and struggles with the basics of everyday life. Cognitive and emotional symptoms may also appear such as inability to concentrate or remember things and blunted or inappropriate expression of emotions.
A schizophrenia diagnosis is reached after testing to rule out other illnesses and conditions that may trigger similar symptoms. As part of the diagnostic criteria, those suffering must meet certain guidelines like experiencing considerable difficulty in attending work, school, and everyday tasks. A diagnosis can only be reached by a health care professional.
Medications are the primary treatment for controlling symptoms of schizophrenia. It is important to note that current research suggests that sufferers frequently have to try more than one drug to manage or partially manage symptoms. Psychological counseling, self-help resources, and support of friends and family are also key factors in aiding those with schizophrenia to have a happy and productive life.
If you or someone you know suffers from schizophrenia and is interested in trying something new, a research study may be an option. Biobehavioral Research of Austin is currently seeking participants for several current and upcoming research studies. Study participants are evaluated by medical professionals and often receive compensation for their time and travel expense.

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