Schizophrenia is part of a group of mental illnesses called psychotic disorders. People experience psychosis, a “loss of reality,” and other symptoms. Schizophrenia can be a frightening experience on its own, but many people learn how to manage schizophrenia with the right tools and supports.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness. It causes people to lose touch with reality and sometimes makes it difficult for them to think and speak in an organized way. (This loss of touch with reality is called psychosis. Psychosis is a part of schizophrenia, but may also be seen on its own.) It isn't known exactly what causes schizophrenia, but it’s likely a combination of several factors, such as the way your body works, your family history, your environment, and your life experiences.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that causes psychosis, but schizophrenia also has other symptoms. And it isn't the only cause of psychosis. In some cases, other mental illnesses cause psychosis, including depression, bipolar disorder, dementia and borderline personality disorder.
Psychosis can be a disruptive, confusing, and frightening experience. Hearing voices or thinking unusual or disturbing thoughts is common in psychosis. Having psychosis makes it difficult to figure out what is really happening and what may be a trick of the mind.