The cause of schizophrenia is not clear. It may be due to genetics and environment.

Risk Factors

Things that may raise the risk of schizophrenia are:

  • Having family members with schizophrenia
  • Trauma during childhood, such as abuse, death of a parent, or bullying
  • Personal or family history of migration
  • Marijuana or other drug use
  • Having a father who is 55 years or older at the time of birth
  • Problems during pregnancy or birth



Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start when a person is in their late teens to mid-30s. Schizophrenia is rare in children.

Problems begin slowly and worsen over time. They get in the way of relationships, school, and work. Common problems are:

  • Hearing things that are not there
  • Having strange beliefs that are not based in reality
  • Disorganized thinking, speech, and behavior
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Hopelessness
  • Flat speech and a lack of facial expression
  • Problems feeling pleasure


A doctor will ask about symptoms and physical and mental health past. A loved one or caregiver may be asked for this information if the person cannot give it. A physical exam will be done. A psychological exam may also be done. This may be enough to make the diagnosis.

Testing may be done to rule out other health problems with similar symptoms, such as substance use disorder and dementia .



There is no cure for schizophrenia. The goal of treatment is to manage symptoms and slow the disorder's progression. Antipsychotic medicine is the main form of treatment. Medicines are chosen and adjusted based on each person's needs. Some are taken by mouth; others can be given as a long term injection. Other steps that may help include:

  • Support program to address concerns like such as social skills training, family therapy, and support groups
  • Crisis management plan—to help know signs of recurrence and have support ready to help
  • Hospitalization for severe symptoms
  • Regular exercise and yoga


There are no current guidelines to prevent schizophrenia. The exact cause is not known.

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Edits to original content made by Denver Health.