Schizophrenia is a chronic severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels and behaves. Patients sometimes seem like they may have lost touch with reality and often have difficulty in managing their everyday life.
The disease has a strong genetic basis that both affect the risk of a person developing the disease as well as the likely age of onset. Genetic analyses allow identifying a person’s personal risk, the likely age of onset and the effectiveness and potential side effects of common medications used to treat the disease.
Symptoms of the disease come in three classes:
- “positive symptoms” include hallucinations, delusions, and movement disorders
- “negative symptoms” include flat emotions and intonation, reduced feelings of pleasure, difficulty sustaining activities and reduced speaking
- “cognitive symptoms” include a reduced ability to understand complex concepts and make rational decisions, difficulty in focusing and an inability to use newly acquired information shortly after learning it