The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown, however, it is believed to be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors, including biological abnormalities such as changes in brain chemistry or structure, as well as stress and substance abuse.
Schizophrenia is typically diagnosed through a comprehensive medical history, physical exam, and laboratory tests. A psychiatrist may also use psychological tests to help diagnose schizophrenia.
Differential diagnosis for schizophrenia includes bipolar disorder, major depression, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder, autism spectrum disorder, and drug-induced psychosis.
Treatment for schizophrenia usually includes a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and community support. Antipsychotic medication is the primary treatment for schizophrenia. Other medications, such as antidepressants, may be used to help manage symptoms. Psychotherapy can also be beneficial in helping people with schizophrenia learn to cope with their symptoms and live more fulfilling lives.
The prognosis for schizophrenia varies from person to person. With the right combination of treatment, many people with schizophrenia are able to manage their symptoms and lead productive lives. However, some people may continue to experience symptoms throughout their lives.