Schizophrenia: Glossary

Here are definitions of medical terms related to schizophrenia:

Antipsychotics: Medications that block receptors in the brain of the chemical messenger dopamine, which is thought to play a role in schizophrenia; these medications have the most significant impact on the symptoms of hallucinations and delusions

Delusion: False ideas about oneself or one’s life

Dementia: A mental disorder characterized by a disintegration of personality, confusion, disorientation, decreased intelligence, and difficulty controlling memory, judgment, and impulses

Dopamine: A chemical messenger (neurotransmitter) in the brain that allows nerve cells to send communicate with each other

Hallucination: Seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, or smelling something that doesn’t really exist.

Illusion: A false interpretation of an external sensory stimulus, usually seen or heard, such as a mirage in the desert or voices on the wind.

Psychosis: A general term for a number of major psychiatric illnesses, including schizophrenia, in which a person incorrectly evaluates the accuracy of his or her perceptions and thoughts and makes incorrect conclusions about reality.

Tardive dyskinesia: A syndrome of involuntary movements, especially around the mouth, associated with long-term use of antipsychotic medication

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