Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that targets the brain’s forebrain, hindbrain and limbic system. The limbic system is responsible for controlling moods and emotions. Therefore, individuals with schizophrenia have trouble telling what is real and not real, thinking clearly, conveying normal emotional responses and acting normal in social situations. Neurotransmitters, messengers of the brain who carry information from one cell to another, have been linked to schizophrenia. They control the release of dopamine and glutamate. High or low levels of these can cause psychotic symptoms, paranoid thinking, memory issues, and learning disabilities.
Schizophrenia is a complex illness. Mental health experts are not sure what causes it. Genes may play a role.
Schizophrenia occurs in just as many men as in women. It usually begins in the teen years or young adulthood, but it may begin later in life. In women, it tends to begin later and is a milder condition.
Schizophrenia in children usually begins after age 5. Childhood schizophrenia is rare and can be hard to tell apart from other developmental problems such as autism.