If you are affected by schizophrenia you may view the world differently to those around you. You may hear, see, smell or feel things that are not experienced by others (hallucinations).
You may also find that you have confusing and frightening thoughts, such as believing that people are reading your mind, controlling your thoughts or planning to harm you. These thoughts may make you feel anxious and you may find that they become so disordered that they scare you, or those around you.
However, although schizophrenia can be upsetting and frightening, this does not mean that your life has to come to a stop. Approximately 1% of people will develop schizophrenia at some point during their life, meaning you are not alone in having the condition.1─4 Just like anybody else who has a long-term or recurring illness, you can learn to manage your condition and live the life that matters to you.
Schizophrenia typically first starts during adolescence and early adulthood, but it does sometimes appear for the first time in people aged over 40.5 Both men and women can develop schizophrenia, with symptoms in men tending to appear at a younger age.6 Because of the nature of schizophrenia, it increases the risk of suicide in people who are diagnosed with the condition. If you ever feel you need extra help and support, speak to your doctor and they will be able to give you the help you need.