What is schizophrenia? Schizophrenia is a complicated mental illness in which a person has a hard time telling between what is real and what is not real. People with schizophrenia have trouble thinking and behaving normally. Schizophrenia affects about one in every 100 people and can happen to anyone, though it is more severe in men and usually occurs in people under age 45 (Source: PubMedHealth). Symptoms of schizophrenia get worse over time. At first, you may just feel tense, isolated, or withdrawn. You may have trouble acting normally in social situations, and you may have trouble sleeping. As the disease progresses, you can develop psychotic symptoms, such as loss of emotion, catatonia (unresponsiveness to the setting or environment), delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia. There are five different types of schizophrenia, including paranoid, disorganized, catatonic, undifferentiated, and residual. While nobody with schizophrenia behaves normally, the exact symptoms depend on the exact type of schizophrenia. The cause of schizophrenia is not known, but it may be a combination of stress, environment, and hereditary factors. Treatment for schizophrenia depends on the severity of your symptoms. For very severe symptoms, hospitalization may be required. Other treatments include antipsychotic medications and social and behavioral therapy. While there is no cure for schizophrenia, treatment is usually effective at managing the symptoms. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you hear voices or see things that are not there (hallucinations), if you have thoughts of hurting yourself or others, or if you cannot take care of yourself. Seek prompt medical care if you are being treated for schizophrenia but symptoms recur or are persistent.