“Schizophrenia” is a name, not a disease. It presents in many different ways and has many different outcomes. There is certainly not one cause of “schizophrenia”—there may be hundreds of contributing factors working through bewilderingly complex interactions. Figuring all this out will likely be the painstaking work of many decades. Eventually, what we now call “schizophrenia” will turn out to be hundreds of much better defined conditions.
There are many effective treatments for “schizophrenia”—but no one size fits all. Most people need medication, at least during the acute phases. Psychotherapy, social skills and vocational training, and recovery through peer support and empowerment are all enormously helpful. But nothing works if the person is homeless—so decent housing is a prerequisite.
You are about to read the remarkable life story of a remarkable man. In his book, The Mindful Son: A Beacon of Hope Through the Storm of Mental Illness, James Hickman describes how he overcame poverty, orphanhood, and schizophrenia to become a Licensed Certified Social Worker, a psychotherapist, a leader in the mental health advocacy movement, and an inspiration for many others.