Schizophrenia Symptoms = Positive Symptoms + Negative Symptoms + Cognitive Symptoms.
Schizophrenia changes how you think, feel, and act.
Its symptoms will be different for everyone who gets the disease.
The symptoms can come and go, too. No one will have all of them all of the time.
In general, there are three kinds:
Positive (things that start to happen)
Negative (things that stop happening)
Cognitive (related to processing information)
They usually start between ages 16 and 30.
Men often get them earlier than women.
When the disease is in full swing and symptoms are severe,
the person with schizophrenia can’t tell what’s
real and what’s not. This happens less often as they get older.
People with the condition usually aren’t aware that they have it
until a doctor or counselor tells them. They won’t even realize
that something is seriously wrong. If they do happen to notice symptoms,
like not being able to think straight, they might chalk
it up to things like stress or being tired.
If you’re concerned that you or someone you know is
showing signs of schizophrenia, talk to a doctor or counselor.
The changes you see are “add-ons” to normal behavior.
The person starts thinking or doing things they didn’t think or do before.
Hallucinations. They might hear, see, smell, or feel things
no one else does. Most often they’ll hear voices inside their heads.
These might tell them what to do, warn them of danger,
or say mean things to them. The voices might talk to each other.
Delusions. These are beliefs that seem strange to most people
and are easy to prove wrong. The person affected might think
someone is trying to control their brains through their TVs or
that the FBI is out to get them. They might believe
they’re someone else, like a famous actor or the president,
or that they have superpowers.
Confused thoughts and speech. People with schizophrenia
can have a hard time organizing their thoughts.
They might not be able to follow along when you talk to them.
Instead, it might seem like they’re zoning out or distracted.
When they talk, their words can come out all jumbled and not make sense.
They can also have trouble concentrating. For example,
they might lose track of what’s going on in a TV show as they’re watching.
Different movements. Someone with the condition can seem jumpy.
Sometimes they’ll make the same movements over and over again.
But sometimes they might be perfectly still for hours at a stretch,
which is called being catatonic. Contrary to popular belief,
people with the disease usually aren’t violent.
You’ll see changes because the person loses the interest
in and ability to do things. These symptoms can be hard to spot,
especially in teenagers, because it’s normal for them to have
big emotional swings between highs and lows.
Depression has some of the same symptoms, too.
Emotionless. A person with schizophrenia
might seem like they have a terrible case of the blahs.
They might not talk much or show any feelings.
And when they talk, their voice can sound flat,
like they have no emotions. Doctors call this a “flat affect.”
Withdrawal. Someone who has the condition might stop
making plans with you or become a hermit.
Talking with them can feel like pulling teeth: If you want an answer,
you have to really work to pry it out of them.
Struggling with the basics of daily life.
They may stop bathing or taking care of themselves.
No follow-through. People with schizophrenia have
trouble staying on schedule or finishing what they start.
Sometimes they can’t get started at all.
Cognition has to do with how good your brain is at learning,
sorting, and using information.
Someone with schizophrenia might have a hard time
with their working memory. For example, they may not be
able to keep track of different kinds of facts at the same time,
like a phone number plus instructions.
Along with having trouble paying attention,
it can be hard for them to organize their thoughts
and make decisions.