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Updated May 06, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.


Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder characterized by delusions, hallucinations, incoherence and physical agitation; it is classified as a "thought" disorder while Bipolar Disorder is a "mood" disorder.

It is estimated that 1 percent of the world's population has schizophrenia. While there is evidence that genetic factors have a role in developing schizophrenia, other unknown causes play a significant part as well.

While bipolar I disorder may include psychotic features, schizophrenia cannot include mood swings. schizoaffective disorder bridges the gap between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Pronunciation: SKITZ-oh-FREE-nee-uh, SKITZ-oh-FREN-ee-uh

Common Misspellings: skitzophrenia, shitzophrenia, scitsophrenia, scitzophrenia, schizofrenia and similar

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