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Schizophrenia is a complex, difficult to manage disorder whose sufferers deal with a fractured and distorted view of the world around them. To the untrained eye, Schizophrenia can take many different forms because the themes of patient’s hallucinations and delusions vary widely. However, each case shares the common threads of odd beliefs, general disorganization, and bizarre behavior. Symptoms usually begin between the late adolescent years and the early 30s. Most commonly, the earliest signs that other people will notice are when patients appear depressed and withdraw from their social life. They will often have low energy and appear bored or unmotivated. They also stop participating in hobbies they used to enjoy. Problems with attention, information processing, and problem-solving also tend to appear early, usually as trouble functioning in school or work.
The profound nature of the disturbance becomes much more apparent when hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thought patterns emerge. People respond to things they hear and see that are not real. They can develop complex beliefs and ideas about others trying to contact them, monitor them, or control their minds or behaviors. Their speech patterns become odd and difficult to follow, and they see connections between completely unrelated subjects. Although some people respond well to medication and are able to manage their symptoms well, most struggle chronically with the disorder and need ongoing assistance with multiple aspects of their lives. As people age, most symptoms progressively become less and less intense. However, negative symptoms and mood problems tend to persist the most, resist medication treatment, and lead to long-term impairments.