Schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder are neurodevelopmental conditions that are characterized by:
- Hallucinations – seeing or hearing things that others cannot see
- Delusions – strongly held beliefs despite evidence that they are false
- Disorganized speech and behavior
- Negative symptoms – difficulty with motivation, expressing emotion, or using language elaborately
- Difficulties with social and work functioning
- In the case of schizoaffective disorder, depressed or manic mood
Schizophrenia usually develops in the late teens or early adulthood years, and frequently disrupts important life transitions (e.g., finishing college, beginning a career). However, the development of schizophrenia does not mean one will never recover. With appropriate medication and psychological treatment, recovery is possible and common.
The ASCEND Program is working to develop new treatments for young adults who have recently developed schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. You can find more about this initiative by reading about the ESSENCE Program.