Schizophrenia is a debilitating mental disorder or illness characterized by hallucinations, delusions and confused speech or behaviour.  Schizophrenia affects 1 in every 100 people, men and women equally. It usually affects people between the ages of 15 and 35 irrespective of race and culture, says the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG),

The World Health Organisation (WHO) states that although it is not as common as other mental illnesses or disorders, Schizophrenia affects more than 23 million people worldwide.

WHO further states that Schizophrenia is treatable with medicines and psychosocial support, allowing people to experience improved quality of life.  However, there are risks if the disorder is left untreated.

Signs and Symptoms

According to the Mental Health Information Centre of Southern Africa, people who suffer from the disorder have “positive” and “negative” symptoms. The “positives” include hallucinations (hearing voices or seeing people when no-one else is around) and disorganised speech (talking incoherently). These symptoms are often accompanied by anxiety, depression and agitation.

The “negatives” include amongst others reduced emotions, limited thinking, less fluency of speech, poor capacity to plan and reduced social engagement.

The cause of Schizophrenia is not known, but several factors may contribute to its onset, including genetics.

Fortunately, SAMWUMED Schizophrenia under its Chronic Illness Benefits. To access the benefits (treatment and medication), members have to register onto the SAMWUMED Managed Care Programme. Treating doctors have to call SAMWUMED’s Managed Care Provider, Medscheme on: 0860 33 33 87 to register patients.