What is it?

Schizophrenia describes a group of related mental illnesses. They are characterised by loss of contact with reality, the presence of fixed beliefs which are out of keeping with the individual's social and cultural background (delusions) and abnormal perceptions - most usually hearing voices (hallucinations).

The condition is seen in all cultures and countries across the world. The cause is unknown but seems to be a mixture of genetic and environmental factors.

How do we know it's happening?

Individuals may experience either a sudden onset of a firm belief that something unusual has happened and that it is of particular significance to them. More usually this comes as a gradual awareness or the individual hears, sees, or feels things when there is nothing there. These experiences can be frightening for the person.

Family or friends usually notice a change in behaviour such as the person becoming withdrawn, perhaps talking to themselves or engaging in hobbies or interests that have not been part of their life before and which takes them away from their usual social contacts. Sudden, inexplicable changes of mood are often a feature.

What we offer

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness which if left untreated can cause significant deterioration over time in the person's social functioning with a major impact on relationships, work life etc. Our services are geared towards early expert diagnosis through our liaison services to GPs, through our specialist early intervention teams and, for those with an established condition, through our recovery teams. All our teams work closely with the individual and their supporters to enhance recovery from the condition so that people can live their lives to the full. Treatments usually involve some medication but also a range of physiological treatments to help individuals and their families adapt to the particular circumstances and make changes which improve the condition.


GPs will put people in need of support in touch with our nearest diagnostic team. Any AWP service user should raise issues with their care co-ordinator.

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