It is a mental disorder which affects thinking, feeling and behaviour. It is most likely to ages of 15 to 35 and will affect about 1 in every 100 people during their lifetime.
"Positive" symptoms include:
Hallucinations - hearing, smelling, feeling or seeing something that isn’t there. Hearing voices is the most common problem. These can seem utterly real. Although they can be pleasant, they are more often rude, critical, abusive or annoying.
"Negative" symptoms include:
Loss of interest, energy and emotions. You may not bother to get up or go out of the house. You don't get round to routine jobs like washing, tidying, or looking after your clothes. You may feel uncomfortable with other people. Some people hear voices without negative symptoms. Others have delusions but few other problems. If someone has only muddled thinking and negative symptoms, the problem may not be recognised for years.
The earlier you get help, the better the outlook - and less need for hospital treatment.