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  • South Western Sydney Mental Health Directory
  • A South Western Sydney Mental Health Resource

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    Information About Mental Illnesses

    Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Illnesses

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    Signs and Symptoms

    Schizophrenia is an illness that disrupts the functioning of the human mind. It causes intense episodes of psychosis involving delusions and hallucinations, and longer periods of reduced expression, motivation and functioning. It is treatable.


    One of the main symptoms of schizophrenia is psychosis. A person experiencing psychosis finds it hard to tell what is real from what isn’t. Psychosis is often experienced in episodes — short periods of intense symptoms. The main symptoms of psychosis are:

    • delusions — false beliefs that can’t be changed by evidence
    • hallucinations — hearing voices or otherwise sensing things that aren’t real
    • disordered thinking — muddled, disrupted thoughts and speech
    • disordered behaviour — unusual, inappropriate or extreme actions.

    Non-psychotic symptoms

    People living with schizophrenia also experience low motivation, speak less often or less clearly, lose the ability to express emotions and feel much less pleasure. These symptoms tend to last longer — schizophrenia is only diagnosed after someone has experienced these symptoms for at least six months.

    (Reference: SANE Australia) 

    For more information about Schizophrenia signs and symptoms see: Schizophrenia Factsheet and Guide

    For more information about Psychosis signs and symptoms see: Psychosis Factsheet and Guide


    Schizophrenia takes time to diagnose: it can’t be confirmed until you’re experienced a month of psychotic symptoms and at least six months of non-psychotic symptoms. Before then, you may get a different diagnosis. That’s normal.

    Your GP can make an initial assessment then refer you to a specialist — usually a psychiatrist — for full diagnosis and treatment.

    Treatments include antipsychotic medication, specialist psychological therapies and community support programs to help with social connection, physical health, accommodation and work or school.

    Treatment for schizophrenia can last 2–5 years, or even longer. During that time, your treatments may change to improve the results and reduce side-effects.

    (Reference: SANE Australia) 

    Who Can Help

    There are a number of Mental Health Professionals who can offer support. These professionals could include General Practitioners, Psychologists, Psychiatrists, Occupational Therapists, Mental Health Nurses or Social Workers.

    For Further Information