World Schizophrenia Day: Causes And Symptoms


May 24 is observed as World Schizophrenia Day every year. The aim is to fight stigmas related to this condition and make people aware of the mental disorder.

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts. According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, more than 21 million people all over the world are suffering from this disabling disease[1], however, it is not as common as other mental disorders. 

This World Schizophrenia Day, let’s spread some awareness about the condition by shedding light on the causes and symptoms of schizophrenia.

Causes Of Schizophrenia

There is no one single factor that can cause schizophrenia claims research studies. It is believed to be an interaction between genes and environmental factors which also include psychosocial factors and can lead to this mental disorder.

The role of environmental and social factors in increasing your risk of schizophrenia is not much talked about. Studies[2] have revealed that environmental stressors such as childhood trauma, social isolation, and minority ethnicity are linked to this mental disorder.

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Symptoms Of Schizophrenia

The symptoms of schizophrenia are categorized as positive, negative, or cognitive[3]. For a doctor to distinguish between schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders such as depressive disorder and bipolar disorder, it is important to carefully monitor each and every symptom. Here are some of the common signs and symptoms of schizophrenia you need to be aware of.

Positive symptoms: These include psychotic behaviours which are not seen in healthy people. The symptoms could be mild or severe and may include:

-Hallucinations which cause patients to see, feel, smell or hear something which is not there.

-Delusions cause people to believe that people are monitoring or threatening them. They believe someone is reading their mind.

-Thought disorders are an unusual way of thinking which may involve difficulty in putting thoughts together or problem in making sense of what others are saying.

-Movement disorders also known as psychomotor problems may lead to agitated body movements, clumsiness, unusual mannerisms or repetitive actions.

Negative symptoms: These symptoms cause a loss of functioning of normal emotional behaviour. Negative symptoms are mostly mistaken for laziness or depression as these cause

-Loss or diminished ability to initiate and sustain any activity/emotion

-Reduced ability to speak with anyone

-Low ability to plan anything

-Flat affect which causes reduced expression of emotions via gestures or tone

-Social withdrawal and apathy

-Reduced feeling of pleasure in everyday life

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Cognitive symptoms: As the name suggests, these symptoms lead to impairment in the cognitive abilities of a person with the condition. Some people with this condition can show mild cognitive symptoms whereas in others it can lead to severe problems with thinking and memory.

The symptoms are:

-Poor ability to execute as they lack the ability to understand a piece of information and use it to plan or make decisions

-Problems with attention or focus as they fail to collate concentrate on any information

-Problems with memory as they do not have the ability to use the information immediately even after learning about it

(The article is reviewed by Dr. Lalit Kanodia, General Physician)

Recommended Reads:

6 Ways You Can Help Your Loved Ones Struggling With Mental Illness

Effects of Vitamin Deficiencies on Mental Health


1. Schizophrenia. Facts. The World Health Organization (WHO). 

2. Patel KR, Cherian J, Gohil K, Atkinson D. Schizophrenia: overview and treatment options. P T. 2014 Sep;39(9):638-45.

3. Schizophrenia. Mental Health Information. The National Institute of Mental Health. U.S. 

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