Schizophrenia Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

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Believe it or not, one in every eight people in the world lives with a mental disorder. Characterized by a clinically significant disturbance in a person’s cognition, behavior, or emotional regulation, mental illness is often associated with distress or impairment in important areas of functioning. 

There are many various mental disorders that have been studied around the globe, including schizophrenia. What’s schizophrenia, you ask? We’ll tell you.

Read on as we explore the world of mental illness to uncover all there is to know about schizophrenia. 

What Is the Definition of Schizophrenia?

According to the Collins Dictionary, schizophrenia is a serious mental illness. Those who have schizophrenia are unable to relate their thoughts and feelings to what is happening around them and often withdraw from society. 

Back in the day, people with schizophrenia used to be thought to have “split personalities,” and the roots of our word of the day attest to that early understanding. The term “schizophrenia” combines the Greek skhizein, meaning “split,” and phren, meaning “mind.” 

Today, the illness is understood differently, but the word schizophrenicis still sometimes used to refer to anything that changes erratically. In other words, those with schizophrenia don’t always have a split personality.

What Are the Types of Schizophrenia?

Did you know that there are various types of schizophrenia? The International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) manual describes them as using the below explanations:

  • Paranoid Schizophrenia — the most common type of schizophrenia, symptoms include hallucinations and/or delusions
  • Hebephrenic Schizophrenia (aka “Disorganized Schizophrenia”) — this type typically develops in people between 15 and 25 years old. Symptoms include disorganized thoughts and behaviors, alongside short-lasting hallucinations and delusions. 
  • Catatonic Schizophrenia is the rarest type and is characterized by unusual, limited, and sudden movements. Facial expressions are often limited, and speech is spoken in a dull and often monotone manner.
  • Simple Schizophrenia — an uncommon subtype of schizophrenia characterized by negative (or “deficit”) symptoms, such as apathy, avolition, anhedonia, and lack of motivation.
  • Undifferentiated Schizophrenia — this type is a combination of paranoid, hebephrenic, and catatonic schizophrenia. 
  • Residual Schizophrenia — this diagnosis may be given to an individual with a history of psychosis; however, they only experience the negative symptoms, such as poor memory, slow movement, poor hygiene, and lack of concentration.
  • Cenesthopathic Schizophrenia — this type is characterized by bizarre or bothersome bodily sensations, typically without a real, physical cause. 

What Are the Causes of Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia can have a wide range of causes. There’s still a lot that experts don’t really know about the condition, but it’s likely to be caused by a combination of genetics, personal factors, and environmental factors. 

Of course, everyone is unique, so these factors may vary from person to person. They can include:

  • Stressful life events
  • Drug and alcohol use (substance abuse from alcohol, cannabis, acid, etc.) 
  • Genetic inheritance
  • Differences in brain chemistry and brain structure

While schizophrenia affects men and women the same, symptoms tend to start earlier in men than in women. It’s rare in childhood and sometimes difficult to recognize in teenagers. 

What Are the Symptoms of Schizophrenia?

Now that you understand what schizophrenia is, let’s take a look at some of the common schizophrenia symptoms, shall we?

Common signs and symptoms of schizophrenia include:

  • Delusions — false beliefs that aren’t based in reality
  • Hallucinations — seeing (visual) or hearing voices (auditory) that don’t actually exist
  • Disorganized thinking and disorganized speech — effective communication can be impaired, and answers to questions may be partially or completely unrelated. 
  • Negative symptoms — reduced or lack of ability to function normally.
  • Movement disorder — abnormal body movements

Other signs may include social withdrawal, malnutrition, catatonic behavior, and psychotic episodes.

How is Schizophrenia Treated?

Unfortunately, schizophrenia can’t be cured, but there are many treatment options available, such as:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis (CBTp)
  • Family Intervention
  • Psycho-Education
  • Arts Therapies
  • Antipsychotic medications (like clozapine)
  • Self-help and support groups
  • Psychiatry care with a mental health professional

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) suggests that those with the illness should be offered both medication and talking therapies. 

What Mental Health Conditions are Similar to Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia can be difficult to diagnose because there are many mental health and psychotic disorders that share similar symptoms. Conditions that can sometimes seem like schizophrenia include:

  • Psychosis
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Schizophreniform Disorder
  • Anxiety/Panic Disorders
  • Psychotic Depression
  • Delusional Disorder
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Personality Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Dementia
  • Parkison’s

What Are Translations of Schizophrenia?

As mentioned earlier, our word of the day refers to a mental illness that affects people all over the world. With this in mind, let’s review a few translations of schizophrenia:

  • Afrikaans — Skisofrenie 
  • Arabic — الفصام 
  • Bulgarian — шизофрения 
  • Chinese (simplified) — 精神分裂症
  • Croatian — shizofrenija 
  • Czech — schizofrenie 
  • Danish — skizofreni 
  • Dutch — schizofrenie 
  • Finnish — skitsofrenia 
  • French — schizophrénie 
  • German — Schizophrenie 
  • Greek — σχιζοφρένεια 
  • Italian — schizofrenia 
  • Japanese — 精神分裂症
  • Korean — 정신분열증 
  • Norwegian — schizofreni 
  • Polish — schizofrenia 
  • Portuguese — esquizofrenia 
  • Russian — шизофрения 
  • Spanish — esquizofrenia 
  • Swedish — schizofreni 
  • Thai — โรคจิตเภท 
  • Turkish — şizofreni 
  • Ukrainian — шизофренія 
  • Vietnamese — tâm thần phân liệt 

A Final Word

Our word of the day, schizophrenia, refers to a serious and complex mental illness that can greatly interfere with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, relate to others (even family members), and make decisions. 

If you think that you or a loved one might have the condition, rest easy knowing that it can be treated and managed in a number of ways, including medications and psychotherapy. 

Whether you have Schizophrenia or one of the many other medical conditions — like bipolar disorder, psychosis, borderline personality disorder, or dissociative identity disorder — a health care provider can help you to manage your symptoms and feel your best. 


Mental disorders | World Health Organization

Schizophrenia definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

What causes schizophrenia? | Mind

Schizophrenia – Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic