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Schizophrenia

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Rashmi Nemade, Ph.D. & Mark Dombeck, Ph.D.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

list with boxes checked Schizophrenia is identified by two groups of symptoms. These are called "positive" and "negative."

Positive symptoms are ones which are more than normal behavior. This group is further split into two groups. The "psychotic" group includes hallucinations and delusions. The "disorganized" one includes disorganized speech and behavior.

Negative symptoms involve missing behaviors compared to normal functioning. Examples include limited emotional expression, limited thought and speech, and lack of motivation.

Symptoms are not permanent things. Instead, they tend to change over time. A minimum number of symptoms (positive and/or negative) must be present before the diagnosis of schizophrenia can be made. It is very possible that a person may show some symptoms, but not enough of them to meet the formal diagnosis of schizophrenia for long periods of time. The maximum number of symptoms for the diagnosis will be present during the active phase (or "psychotic break") portion of the disorder. When enough symptoms are present and last for one month (or a shorter period if medication has been given) with some symptoms lasting for up to six months, a diagnosis of schizophrenia can be made. Once a formal diagnosis has been made, it can continue to be made later, even if some symptoms necessary for the diagnosis are no longer showing.

 

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