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Schizophrenia Specialist

Esperanza Behavioral Health and Services

Board Certified Psychiatrists & Behavioral Health Clinicians located in Orlando, FL

Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that requires lifelong care and treatment. At Esperanza Behavioral Health and Services, board-certified psychiatrist Fredesvinda Jacobs-Alvarez, MD, uses the most advanced, evidence-based treatments to manage schizophrenia symptoms like hallucinations, confusion, difficulties concentrating, and more. With more than 25 years of experience, Dr. Jacobs can help patients suffering from schizophrenia lead productive, fulfilling lives. To learn more, call the office in Orlando, Florida, or book an appointment online.

Schizophrenia Q & A

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder characterized by delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thinking. 

It affects less than one percent of the United States population, and while there is currently no cure, the team at Esperanza Behavioral Health and Services uses advanced imaging to analyze the brain’s structure and design the right schizophrenia treatment plan for every patient.

Research shows that schizophrenia affects men and women equally, but symptoms are often more noticeable in men early on, typically in their early 20s. It’s very rare for children and people over the age of 45 to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.

What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?

There are three different types of schizophrenia symptoms that typically develop between the ages of 16 and 30:

Positive symptoms

Positive schizophrenia symptoms are associated with psychotic behaviors like delusions, hallucinations, impaired or scattered thinking, and disordered body movements.

Negative symptoms

Negative schizophrenia symptoms affect your ability to process and show emotions. This often results in emotional numbness and reduced feelings of pleasure, expression, and voice tone. Many patients with schizophrenia come off as “flat” or disengaged.

Cognitive symptoms

Cognitive schizophrenia symptoms are often connected with difficulties concentrating and poor memory function. For some, the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia are severe and noticeable, while these changes are subtle in others.

How is schizophrenia diagnosed?

What makes diagnosing schizophrenia difficult is that its symptoms share many similarities to methamphetamine addiction. Fortunately, the experienced team at Esperanza Behavioral Health and Services knows the symptoms and patterns to look out for.

During your initial consultation, they complete a comprehensive evaluation in which they review your medical and family history, discuss your symptoms, and examine your mood, behavior, appearance, movements, and more.

This 60-minute evaluation is crucial in determining whether or not you have a disorder like schizophrenia or a similar diagnosis.

How is schizophrenia treated?

While there is no cure for this mental health disorder, Esperanza Behavioral Health and Services offers a number of effective schizophrenia treatments, including:


In addition to therapy, antipsychotic medications help reduce schizophrenia symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, poor concentration, and more. As medication management experts, the team designs a treatment plan that works best for your unique symptoms and behaviors.

Without proper treatment, schizophrenia can be a debilitating disorder that can have a significant impact on your day-to-day life. To schedule a consultation, call Esperanza Behavioral Health and Services, or book an appointment online.


Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can help you develop healthy coping skills to deal with the everyday challenges of living with schizophrenia. The team may also recommend cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to address negative thinking and triggers and help change the way you react to them.