Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem?

Call 1800 022 222

healthdirect Australia

This is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Is it an emergency? Dial 000

If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

beginning of content


Schizophrenia is a significant mental illness that causes someone to have an altered experience of reality. It is one of a group of disorders known as psychosis. Schizophrenia affects people’s thoughts, perceptions and behaviour and interferes with their ability to function at work, school or relate to other people.

People with schizophrenia often experience stigma in the community, which can be one of their biggest problems. Most people find schizophrenia hard to understand and there are many myths about the illness. Contrary to popular belief, people with schizophrenia do not have a ‘split personality’. Only a very small number of people with schizophrenia become violent but they do have a higher rate of suicide than the general population.

Watch Tom's story about living with schizophrenia.

Read the related video transcript

The main symptoms of schizophrenia are hallucinations and delusions. A hallucination refers to hearing or seeing something that isn’t real, such as hearing voices when no one is there. A delusion is believing something that can be proven to be untrue, such as believing you have a microchip implanted in your head. The symptoms can be frightening to experience. Other symptoms include confused thoughts, unusual behaviour and lack of motivation for everyday tasks.

Schizophrenia affects about 1 in 100 people, and the symptoms usually begin in late adolescence or early adulthood. It is generally a long-term illness and can cause serious disability when left untreated.

Schizophrenia is now more treatable than ever before, however, and getting help as early as possible can improve the outcome. Most people require medication as the major part of their treatment, but it’s important to get support in other areas too. Psychological therapy, rehabilitation and family therapy can help people to cope with their symptoms and rebuild their lives.

If you suspect you or someone you know may be experiencing the symptoms of schizophrenia, see a doctor as soon as possible.

Try our service finder to locate a general practice in your region.

Last reviewed: December 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 235 results


What is schizophrenia? Schizophrenia is an illness affecting the normal functioning of the brain. It interferes with a persons ability to think, feel...

Read more on SANE Australia website


What is Schizophrenia? Schizophrenia is an illness, a medical condition. It affects the normal functioning of the brain, interfering with a person’s ability to think, feel and act. Some do recover completely, and, with time, most find that their symptoms improve. However, for many, it is a prolonged illness which can involve years of distressing symptoms and disability.

Read more on Mi Networks website


Schizophrenia is a complex mental illness that involves symptoms of disturbances of thinking, feelings, perception and motivation.

Read more on Australian College of Mental Health Nurses website


Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder which affects about 1 per cent of the general population. It can affect the way you think, feel and act.

Read more on WA Health website

Schizophrenia 1: About Schizophrenia | myVMC

PsychiatristZafar Sharif of Columbia University talks about schizophreniaand the challenges faced by patients with the condition. Schizophrenia is a brain

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Schizophrenia 2: Treating Schizophrenia | myVMC

PsychiatristZafar Sharif of Columbia University talks about treatments for schizophrenia. Hi, my name is Zafar Sharif. Im a psychiatrist. Im

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Living with Schizophrenia | myVMC

Living with schizophrenia: Information about schizophrenia, including symptoms and treatments with information on living with schizophrenia. Read on for more information on living with schizophrenia.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Schizophrenia | myVMC

Information on the symptoms, treatment and diagnosis of Schizophrenia by professional health specialists.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

All about schizophrenia | Australia

Heard of schizophrenia but youre not sure what it means? Read about schizophrenia; including its causes, symptoms and how to seek help.

Read more on website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo