Unit 1: What is the definition of Schizophrenia?

To return back to unit: Unit 1: What is the definition of Schizophrenia?

To return back to mini-course: Students with Schizophrenia and Supporting them in the Classroom and at Home.


In order to assist a student with Schizophrenia, it is important for our learner to define/know the definition of Schizophrenia. Learners can visit the "National Institute of Mental Health" to learn more about Schizophrenia. The National Institute of Mental Health website is as follows: [1].

What is the definition of Schizophrenia?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, "Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by disruptions in thought processes, perceptions, emotional responsiveness, and social interactions."

(A) Hallucinations, such as hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there.

(B) Paranoia - irrational fears that others are “out to get you” or believing that the television, radio, or internet are broadcasting special messages that require some response.

(C) Loss of motivation, disinterest or lack of enjoyment in daily activities.

(D) Problems in attention, concentration, and memory.

(E) Social withdrawal, difficulty showing emotions, and difficulty functioning normally.

Characteristics of Schizophrenia .jpg

Some key details of the prevalence of Schizophrenia

  • Schizophrenia is typically diagnosed in the late teens years to early thirties, and tends to emerge earlier in males (late adolescence – early twenties) than females (early twenties – early thirties) (National Institute of Mental Health, 2020)
  • Prevalence of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders in the U.S. range between 0.25% and 0.64%. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2020)
  • Schizophrenia is one of the top 15 leading causes of disability worldwide. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2020)
  • Scientists think that differences in brain structure, function, and interactions among chemical messengers (called neurotransmitters) may contribute to the development of schizophrenia. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2020)

Burden of Schizophrenia

Despite its relatively low prevalence, schizophrenia is associated with significant health, social, and economic concerns.

  • Individuals with schizophrenia have an increased risk of premature mortality (death at a younger age than the general population. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2020)
  • Approximately half of individuals with schizophrenia have co-occurring mental and/or behavioral health disorders. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2020)
  • Financial costs associated with schizophrenia are disproportionately high relative to other chronic mental and physical health conditions. (National Institute of Mental Health, 2020).

Reflect: Why might the classification of Schizophrenia be difficult for parents and students ?

Review time!

Take a quick minute or so to review the key points through this assessment!

Lesson 1: Quiz

To go on to the next lesson: Lesson 2: The Five Types of Schizophrenia