Lægesamtale psykiatrien

The psychiatric services in Central Denmark Region treat schizophrenia in these teams:

What is schizophrenia?

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a mental disorder. It is characterised by changes in the way you perceive yourself, others and the world.

Typical signs of schizophrenia may be that you:

  • Hear voices others cannot hear
  • See things others cannot see
  • Perceive the world differently from others
  • Lack energy
  • Have difficulty taking initiatives
  • Have difficulty planning and performing tasks.

In addition, you may periodically have anxiety and a tendency towards depression. For some individuals, the disorder can therefore make it difficult to have a well-functioning student life, working life and family life. However, there are also people with schizophrenia who recover and function well in an everyday life with family and work.

Course of the disease – schizophrenia

The period before the disorder appears

Before the onset of the disorder, there is often a period in which you begin to function more poorly. This can be both socially and at work. This period can last from months to years. Maybe you isolate yourself and lose interest in the things you otherwise liked. This period
is called the pre-warning phase. This is followed by the actual outbreak of the disorder.

The actual course of the disorder can be divided into three phases:

  1. The acute phase
    A phase characterised by anxiety, chaos and psychotic symptoms. You may find it difficult to meet your basic needs for sleep, food etc. You may lack the energy to be with others, and you may find it difficult to manage your finances.

  2. The stabilisation phase
    You begin treatment. You can gradually return to activities that you have previously performed. The focus is on avoiding stress and on using mastery strategies to handle your difficulties.

  3. The maintenance phase
    You need to work to find a balance between using your resources and showing consideration for your psychological vulnerability. The focus is on preventing recurrence.



Some patients experience recurrence. A recurrence means a return to the acute phase. It most often happens because you have stopped taking your medication, because of stress or abuse. It is therefore important that you continue with your treatment to prevent more psychoses.
If you become psychotic again, the treatment will often take longer.

What causes schizophrenia?

When I walked home in the dark in the evening, I could sense all the staring evil eyes behind all the darkened windows I passed. I hurried as much as I could. On my way home, my condition alternated between a feeling of happiness and a horrible feeling. In my state of happiness, I heard heavenly music quite clearly, and, in the other state, I heard people arguing and laughing viciously.
Kasper, 37, describes one of his hearing hallucinations

Symptoms of schizophrenia

Krishna, who was a transparent light with the shape of a human being, extended his hands down through my carpet and the carpet disappeared where his hands reached down. There, demons were running around – they were dark and had horns and tails.
Kasper, 37, describing one of his visual hallucinations

Examination for schizophrenia

Kvinde læser

Types of schizophrenia

Having to explain to you how I feel would be like describing a painting to you. I could describe colours and shapes, but you will never completely understand it anyway.
Søren, schizophrenic

Treatment of schizophrenia

psykoterapi - Horsens Psykiatri

Someone in the ward lit black candles everywhere. It had to be because she was performing voodoo, because candles are meant for creating a cosy atmosphere, and you don’t choose black for that. I was sure she had made a voodoo doll of me, and it was a horrible thought.
Kasper, 37, describing one of his delusions


What is schizotypy?

Persons with schizotypy experience disturbances in their behaviour, thoughts and emotional life. The symptoms may vary greatly from person to person.

Schizotypy was previously called borderline psychosis. When you have schizotypy, you will not experience actual psychoses, but you may have psychosis-near experiences.

The psychiatric services in Central Denmark Region treat schizophrenia in these teams:

Course of the disease – schizotypy

Symptoms of schizotypy are more or less persistent. They may seem like some basic personality traits. For example, that you prefer activities by yourself or that you have a characteristic, different way of speaking.

Symptoms of schizotypy

When you have schizotypy, you may have jumbled thoughts, difficulty finding your own identity, and problems socialising.

Psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions are only present to a minor extent or even non-existent in schizotypy patients. You will not experience actual psychoses, but you may have psychosis-near experiences where you may be in doubt about what is real and what is fantasy.

Psychosis or near psychosis

In a psychosis situation, you are convinced that what you are experiencing is real (e.g.: There is a voice speaking to me). In a near psychosis situation, you are more uncertain about what you are experiencing (It is as if there is a voice speaking to me).


In schizotypy, you may experience psychotic symptoms very briefly – typically lasting seconds or minutes. This is called micropsychosis.

Examination for schizotypy

It varies from person to person which examinations and consultations you need in order to be examined for schizotypy. Most start with an initial consultation with a doctor, psychologist or nurse.

At this consultation, you will be asked to describe your symptoms. If some of your family members or other relatives participate in the consultation, they can also help describe your symptoms.

To be diagnosed with schizotypy, you must have had the symptoms for at least two years.

Many persons have been through an extensive examination process before being diagnosed with schizotypy. The reason for this is that symptoms of schizotypy may resemble symptoms of other diseases, such as schizophrenia, anxiety, depression or personality disorder. Many patients have therefore been examined for other mental disorders before being examined
for schizotypy.

Treatment of schizotypy

The treatment is planned in cooperation with you and based on your needs. Your relatives can be involved in the treatment if you wish.

For how long you will need treatment will depend on an individual assessment. However, the course is most often long term, typically several years.

Treatment may include:

  • Supportive consultations with a regular therapist
  • Psychoeducation for you and your relatives
  • Medication
  • Physiotherapy
  • Group treatment, where the focus is on how to master everyday problems
  • Social therapy and support options.

Advice for people who have schizophrenia or schizotypy

Advice for relatives

It’s terrible to watch someone you care deeply about becoming firmly convinced that she’s a princess, that the phones are being tapped and that the rest of us are only out to hurt her. You become completely powerless.
Relative of schizophrenia sufferer

Text on this page updated March 2023 (version 1.05).

Last revised by: Gitte Klaris, Psychologist, Specialist in Psychotherapy, The Psychosis Team, Central Denmark Psychiatry

Technical editor: Charlotte Emborg Mafi, Senior Consultant, Psychosis Research Unit, Aarhus University Hospital – Psychiatry.

Direct link: www.en.szp2.ps.rm.dk