Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It is a complex, long-term medical illness, affecting about 1% of Americans. Although schizophrenia can occur at any age, the average age of onset tends to be in the late teens to the early 20s for men, and the late 20s to early 30s for women. It is uncommon for schizophrenia to be diagnosed in a person younger than 12 or older than 40.
While there is no single physical or lab test that can diagnosis schizophrenia, a health care provider who evaluates the symptoms and the course of a person’s illness over six months can help ensure a correct diagnosis. It is possible to live well with schizophrenia. Although there is no cure, it can be treated and managed in several ways, including medication and psychotherapy.
SOURCE: National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) www.nami.org