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Schizophrenia is a chronic and debilitating mental illness The disease can cause you to withdraw from the people and activities in the world around you and retreat into a world of delusions and fantasies Schizophrenia is the most common and destructive kind of psychosis which is an impairment of thinking in which your interpretation of reality can be severely abnormal Psychosis is a symptom of a disordered brain Researchers havent figured out the cause or causes of schizophrenia even though they believe genetic factors play a role Evidence suggests chemical or subtle structural abnormalities in your brain contribute to causing this illness Schizophrenia may exist alone or in combination with other psychiatric or medical conditions Misconceptions about schizophrenia and its relation to other mental illnesses include Schizophrenia isnt the same as a split or multiple personality Multiple personality disorder is a separate rare condition Although some people with schizophrenia develop violent tendencies most dont Many withdraw into themselves rather than interact with others Not everyone who acts paranoid or distrustful is schizophrenic Some people have paranoid personality disorder a tendency to be suspicious or distrustful of others without the other features of schizophrenia Not everyone who hears voices is schizophrenic Some people with depression may hear voices Hearing voices may also occur as a result of a serious medical illness or from the effects of medication Schizophrenia may affect up to 1 percent of the population worldwide including more than 27 million Americans occurring equally in men and women The disorder is rare in children Theres no cure for the illness but your doctor often can successfully manage schizophrenia especially when an early diagnosis occurs Fortunately newer medications are making this poorly understood disorder more manageable than ever before
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