Schizophrenia is a mental disorder. It is a condition that affects the way a person thinks, feels, and acts. It is a lifelong condition that causes lifelong treatment. There are many different symptoms. Each person with schizophrenia may show different symptoms. Everyone’s experience with schizophrenia is different. It is also likely that a person with schizophrenia may not have the symptoms all the time, but have episodes.
Symptoms usually start between the age of 16 and 30. A person who suffers from schizophrenia usually doesn’t know they have the condition until a doctor diagnoses it. It can be hard for someone with schizophrenia to know the difference between what is real and unreal.
Schizophrenia symptoms are categorized into positive or negative symptoms.
Positive symptoms can also be known as psychotic symptoms. They are symptoms that are in addition to reality.
Negative symptoms can last longer and be less obvious than positive symptoms. Negative symptoms are a lack of feelings or behaviors. Negative symptoms can occur years before the first episode of psychosis. Some patients may feel as though their negative symptoms are more serious than their positive ones.
Hallucinations are a positive symptom of schizophrenia. Hallucinations are when someone hears, sees, smells, or feels something that isn’t there.
The most common form of hallucinations in schizophrenia are auditory hallucinations. This is when a person hears voices. The voices can be someone they know or someone they have never heard before. Voices may also range from male, female, a whisper, a shout, different languages, and different tones.
Visual hallucinations is when a person sees objects, lights, people, or patterns that do not exist.
Olfactory and gustatory hallucinations are experiencing a good or bad smell or taste. This could cause someone who has schizophrenia to believe they can smell or taste poison in their food and refuse to eat.
Tactile hallucinations are having the feeling that things are moving on your body. This can cause someone to believe they have bugs crawling on their skin.
Another positive symptom is disorganized thinking. This causes effective communication to be impaired. It can cause a person to have the inability to follow a conversation, cause them to look as though they have zoned out during a conversation, have jumbled speech also known as word salad, or respond to a conversation completely unrelated.
Delusions are another common positive symptom of schizophrenia. Delusions are beliefs that are strange and easily disproved. Another way to think of it, delusions are beliefs not based on reality.
- Persecutory delusions are the thinking that someone is after you.
- Referential delusions are believing that public forms of communication are secret messages directly for you.
- Somatic delusions are believing you have a terrible illness or health problem, with no real diagnosis from a doctor.
- Erotomanic delusions are the thinking someone is in love with you that clearly isn’t, such as a celebrity.
- Religious delusions are believing you are possessed by a demon.
- Grandiose delusions are believing you are a well known world figure when you aren’t.
Other Positive Symptoms
Other positive symptoms a person with schizophrenia may experience are childlike silliness, unpredictable agitation, resistance to instruction, inappropriate or bizarre posture, or excessive movement.
Negative symptoms are the lack of feelings or behaviors. These symptoms can be present for many years before any psychosis episode.
A term a doctor may use to describe a negative symptom is flattening. This is common in people with schizophrenia. Flattening is when there is no emotion being shown. The tone of voice is flat, there are no emotions in tone of voice. There are no facial emotions present either such as smiling.
Withdrawal is another negative symptom. Withdrawal could be losing interest in life and activities, not wanting to leave the house, not wanting to have conversations with others, or not wanting to be around other people.
Other Negative Symptoms
Negative symptoms could also be lack of pleasure, problems concentrating, changes to sleep patterns, no energy, or poor grooming and hygiene.
There are cognitive impairments that are also categorized into negative symptoms of schizophrenia. These cognitive impairments are having trouble remembering things, learning new things, concentrating, or making decisions.
Common Symptoms for Teenagers
Teenagers may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms are similar to adults but they may be more difficult to recognize. Common symptoms in teenagers are withdrawal from friends and family, drop in school performance, trouble sleeping, irritability or depressed mood, and lack of motivation. Teenagers are less likely to have delusions, but are more likely to have visual hallucinations.
Schizophrenia is a disease that can be hard for someone who has it to believe they have a problem. Symptoms vary from person to person. Some symptoms may be more severe than others. Some people may only have psychotic episodes on occasion while negative symptoms are always present. Schizophrenia usually becomes present in late teens and early adulthood.
Schizophrenia affects the way a person thinks, feels and acts. There are many symptoms to this mental disorder. #HealthSurgeon
READ MORE: Warning Signs Of Schizophrenia
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