Schizophrenia is a lifelong brain disorder marked by periods of psychosis, which includes hallucinations or delusions. Hallucinations are the experience of particular sensations that are not real to others. Delusions are similar to hallucinations but are typically due to a misinterpretation of an actual event or experience. Schizophrenia is a progressive disorder that can be treated to help clients/patients manage the disorder's impact on their lives, but unfortunately, there is no cure for schizophrenia.
Symptoms of schizophrenia vary greatly depending on the person but may include positive, negative, affective and cognitive symptoms. Positive symptoms refer to hallucinations, delusions and disorganized thoughts as they involve additional behavioural experiences. Negative symptoms involve the absence of function, such as flattened affect, impoverished speech, decreased motivation, and reduced enjoyment in previously engaging activities. People living with schizophrenia typically have a progressive decline in daily living skills, including social skills, work and education skills, and self-care abilities.
Schizophrenia can have significant impacts on occupational performance. Many people diagnosed with schizophrenia live with motor and visual deficits, limiting ability and interest to engage in exercise and self-care tasks such as grooming and hygiene. Many people living with schizophrenia rely on caregivers to assist with work or school and require support to manage household chores such as laundry, cooking, and cleaning. Occupational therapists strive to enable people living with schizophrenia to engage in meaningful roles and occupations and participate in activities to the fullest.
Reference: Atchison, Ben, and Diane Dirette PhD. Conditions in Occupational Therapy: Effect on Occupational Performance. Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2012.