What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into two categories – "positive" and "negative" symptoms. Positive symptoms (sometimes called psychotic symptoms) refer to symptoms that appear; negative symptoms refer to elements that are taken away from a person.
Positive symptoms include:
• delusions (fixed, false beliefs that are not consistent with the person's culture, and have no basis in fact)
• hallucinations (people hear, see, taste, smell or feel something that does not actually exist)
• disorganized thought (unconnected thoughts that make it impossible to communicate clearly with other people)
• disorganized mood (finding it hard to express feelings; feeling inappropriate or intense bursts of emotion; feeling empty of any emotions)
• disorganized behaviour (cannot complete everyday tasks such as bathing, dressing appropriately and preparing simple meals)
• changes in sensitivity (more sensitive and aware of other people; or withdrawn and seeming to pay no attention to others).
Negative symptoms include:
• slowing of physical activity levels or, more rarely, overactivity
• reduced motivation, for example problems finishing tasks or making long-term plans
• loss of interest in the feelings and lives of others
• less concern for personal appearance.