is a mental disorder that alters perception, thinking, social
functioning and attention. Symptoms are usually subdivided
into positive symptoms and negative symptoms. Positive symptoms
include delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech
and behavior. Negative symptoms include apathy and social
The causes of schizophrenia are unknown,
although there appears to be a strong genetic component. There
are brain abnormalities in both the frontal
lobes (critical for abstract thought and judgment) and
in the hippocampus
(critical for memory).
Schizophrenic symptoms usually first arise
when the individual is between the late teens and late twenties.
Treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms, and medications
which control the symptoms tend to have severe side effects.
Nonetheless, many schizophrenic individuals manage to lead
independent lives as long as they remain medicated.
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain