Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. People with schizophrenia may seem like they have lost touch with reality. Although schizophrenia is not as common as other mental disorders, the symptoms can be very disabling. Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30. In rare cases, children have schizophrenia too.
Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia:
The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive.
Positive symptoms: “Positive” symptoms are psychotic behaviors not generally seen in healthy people. People with positive symptoms may “lose touch” with some aspects of reality. Symptoms include:
- Thought disorders (unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking)
- Movement disorders (agitated body movements)
Negative symptoms: “Negative” symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. Symptoms include:
- “Flat affect” (reduced expression of emotions via facial expression or voice tone)
- Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
- Difficulty beginning and sustaining activities
- Reduced speaking
Cognitive symptoms: For some patients, the cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia are subtle, but for others, they are more severe and patients may notice changes in their memory or other aspects of thinking. Symptoms include:
- Poor “executive functioning” (the ability to understand information and use it to make decisions)
- Trouble focusing or paying attention
- Problems with “working memory” (the ability to use information immediately after learning it)
Subtypes of schizophrenia (As per ICD-10)
- Paranoid Schizophrenia: Delusions; Hallucinations (e.g. belief people are making plans to kill me or hearing of voices; most common subtype; better prognosis
- Catatonic Schizophrenia: Stupor; rigidity; Mutism; Maintaining odd postures for a long time.
- Hebephrenic Schizophrenia: Disorganized speech; Poor self-care and behavior e.g. vagabonds on street.
- Simple schizophrenia: Negative symptoms; gradual onset; Long lasting.
- Residual schizophrenia: Earlier fulfill criteria for Schizophrenia; partially attenuated form mainly as negative symptoms.