Symptoms of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is sometimes described as having ‘positive symptoms’ and ‘negative symptoms’. Positive symptoms are experienced in addition to reality whereas negative symptoms affect your ability to function.

Positive symptoms of schizophrenia

  • Hallucinations – Seeing, feeling and hearing things that aren’t there. Hearing voices is the most common type of hallucination
  • Delusions – Believing things that others don’t
  • Disorganised thinking – The things you say might not make sense to other people. You may switch topics without any obvious link

Negative symptoms of schizophrenia

  • Lack of motivation
  • Slow movement
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Poor grooming or hygiene
  • Difficulty planning or setting goals
  • Becoming withdrawn – Not saying much, change in body language, lack of eye contact, less interested in usual hobbies and activities
  • Reduced range of emotions
  • Low sex drive
  • Cognitive experiences – low attention span, memory problems, unable to absorb information, poor decision making

A diagnosis of schizophrenia doesn’t mean you have all of these symptoms. The way your illness affects you will depend on the type of schizophrenia that you have. The negative symptoms can vary in length of time you experience them and the severity.

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