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Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Symptoms of Schizophrenia: Introduction

The severity and types of symptoms of schizophrenia vary from person to person. The hallmark symptom of schizophrenia is a disconnection with reality due to hallucinations, alterations in sensory perceptions, and delusions, false beliefs. In most cases a person with schizophrenia not only experiences hallucinations and/or delusions but is convinced that they are real. This changes the way a person thinks and behaves and leads to dramatic changes in personality and erratic and irrational behavior.

Hallucinations often include hearing voices but can also include seeing, smelling or feeling things that are not there. For example, a common hallucination is feeling like there are spiders crawling over the skin. Delusions (false beliefs) can include such examples as believing that other people can hear your thoughts, that you are a famous person, such as Jesus, or (falsely) believing that the CIA is out to get you.

Many symptoms are a reaction to the world of hallucinations and delusions in which a person with schizophrenia lives. Symptoms tend to occur in episodes and can begin with inappropriate or disconnected patterns of speech, detachment and blank stares. There is also a general reduction in energy, motivation and activity, and an absence of emotion and expression. Symptoms also include disorganized speech patterns, difficulty having a normal conversation, and social withdrawal.

Symptoms can also include exaggerated emotions, such as intense feelings of despair or happiness, which can occur for no reason or at appropriate times. Restlessness and agitation can also occur,

Complications of this phase of schizophrenia include self-harm, self destructive behavior, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempt, destruction of personal relationships, and disability, including inability to work and complete self-care....more about Schizophrenia »

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

The list of signs and symptoms mentioned in various sources for Schizophrenia includes the 48 symptoms listed below:

Research symptoms & diagnosis of Schizophrenia:

Schizophrenia: Symptom Checkers

Review the available symptom checkers for these symptoms of Schizophrenia:

Schizophrenia: Symptom Assessment Questionnaires

Review the available Assessment Questionnaires for the symptoms of Schizophrenia:

Schizophrenia: Complications

Review medical complications possibly associated with Schizophrenia:

Research More About Schizophrenia

Do I have Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia: Medical Mistakes

Schizophrenia: Undiagnosed Conditions

Diseases that may be commonly undiagnosed in related medical areas:

Home Diagnostic Testing

Home medical tests related to Schizophrenia:

Wrongly Diagnosed with Schizophrenia?

The list of other diseases or medical conditions that may be on the differential diagnosis list of alternative diagnoses for Schizophrenia includes:

Schizophrenia: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

More about symptoms of Schizophrenia:

More information about symptoms of Schizophrenia and related conditions:

Other Possible Causes of these Symptoms

Click on any of the symptoms below to see a full list of other causes including diseases, medical conditions, toxins, drug interactions, or drug side effect causes of that symptom.

Article Excerpts About Symptoms of Schizophrenia:

Medications: NIMH (Excerpt)

People with psychosis may hear "voices" or have strange and illogical ideas (for example, thinking that others can hear their thoughts, or are trying to harm them, or that they are the President of the United States or some other famous person). They may get excited or angry for no apparent reason, or spend a lot of time by themselves, or in bed, sleeping during the day and staying awake at night. The person may neglect appearance, not bathing or changing clothes, and may be hard to talk to--barely talking or saying things that make no sense. They often are initially unaware that their condition is an illness. (Source: excerpt from Medications: NIMH)

Schizophrenia Research at the NIMH: NIMH (Excerpt)

The illness, which may impair a person's ability to manage emotions, interact with others, and think clearly, typically develops in the late teens or early twenties. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, and social withdrawal. (Source: excerpt from Schizophrenia Research at the NIMH: NIMH)

Schizophrenia: NIMH (Excerpt)

People with schizophrenia often suffer terrifying symptoms such as hearing internal voices not heard by others, or believing that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. These symptoms may leave them fearful and withdrawn. Their speech and behavior can be so disorganized that they may be incomprehensible or frightening to others. (Source: excerpt from Schizophrenia: NIMH)

Schizophrenia: NIMH (Excerpt)

The first signs of schizophrenia often appear as confusing, or even shocking, changes in behavior. Coping with the symptoms of schizophrenia can be especially difficult for family members who remember how involved or vivacious a person was before they became ill. The sudden onset of severe psychotic symptoms is referred to as an “acute” phase of schizophrenia. “Psychosis,” a common condition in schizophrenia, is a state of mental impairment marked by hallucinations, which are disturbances of sensory perception, and/or delusions, which are false yet strongly held personal beliefs that result from an inability to separate real from unreal experiences. Less obvious symptoms, such as social isolation or withdrawal, or unusual speech, thinking, or behavior, may precede, be seen along with, or follow the psychotic symptoms.

Some people have only one such psychotic episode; others have many episodes during a lifetime, but lead relatively normal lives during the interim periods. However, the individual with “chronic” schizophrenia, or a continuous or recurring pattern of illness, often does not fully recover normal functioning and typically requires long-term treatment, generally including medication, to control the symptoms. (Source: excerpt from Schizophrenia: NIMH)

Schizophrenia: NIMH (Excerpt)

People with schizophrenia may have perceptions of reality that are strikingly different from the reality seen and shared by others around them. Living in a world distorted by hallucinations and delusions, individuals with schizophrenia may feel frightened, anxious, and confused.

In part because of the unusual realities they experience, people with schizophrenia may behave very differently at various times. Sometimes they may seem distant, detached, or preoccupied and may even sit as rigidly as a stone, not moving for hours or uttering a sound. Other times they may move about constantly – always occupied, appearing wide-awake, vigilant, and alert. (Source: excerpt from Schizophrenia: NIMH)

Schizophrenia: NIMH (Excerpt)

Hallucinations and illusions are disturbances of perception that are common in people suffering from schizophrenia. Hallucinations are perceptions that occur without connection to an appropriate source. Although hallucinations can occur in any sensory form – auditory (sound), visual (sight), tactile (touch), gustatory (taste), and olfactory (smell) – hearing voices that other people do not hear is the most common type of hallucination in schizophrenia. Voices may describe the patient’s activities, carry on a conversation, warn of impending dangers, or even issue orders to the individual. Illusions, on the other hand, occur when a sensory stimulus is present but is incorrectly interpreted by the individual. (Source: excerpt from Schizophrenia: NIMH)

Schizophrenia: NIMH (Excerpt)

Delusions are false personal beliefs that are not subject to reason or contradictory evidence and are not explained by a person’s usual cultural concepts. Delusions may take on different themes. For example, patients suffering from paranoid-type symptoms – roughly one-third of people with schizophrenia – often have delusions of persecution, or false and irrational beliefs that they are being cheated, harassed, poisoned, or conspired against. These patients may believe that they, or a member of the family or someone close to them, are the focus of this persecution. In addition, delusions of grandeur, in which a person may believe he or she is a famous or important figure, may occur in schizophrenia. Sometimes the delusions experienced by people with schizophrenia are quite bizarre; for instance, believing that a neighbor is controlling their behavior with magnetic waves; that people on television are directing special messages to them; or that their thoughts are being broadcast aloud to others. (Source: excerpt from Schizophrenia: NIMH)

Schizophrenia: NIMH (Excerpt)

Schizophrenia often affects a person’s ability to “think straight.” Thoughts may come and go rapidly; the person may not be able to concentrate on one thought for very long and may be easily distracted, unable to focus attention.

People with schizophrenia may not be able to sort out what is relevant and what is not relevant to a situation. The person may be unable to connect thoughts into logical sequences, with thoughts becoming disorganized and fragmented. This lack of logical continuity of thought, termed “thought disorder,” can make conversation very difficult and may contribute to social isolation. If people cannot make sense of what an individual is saying, they are likely to become uncomfortable and tend to leave that person alone. (Source: excerpt from Schizophrenia: NIMH)

Schizophrenia: NIMH (Excerpt)

People with schizophrenia often show “blunted” or “flat” affect. This refers to a severe reduction in emotional expressiveness. A person with schizophrenia may not show the signs of normal emotion, perhaps may speak in a monotonous voice, have diminished facial expressions, and appear extremely apathetic. The person may withdraw socially, avoiding contact with others; and when forced to interact, he or she may have nothing to say, reflecting “impoverished thought.” Motivation can be greatly decreased, as can interest in or enjoyment of life. In some severe cases, a person can spend entire days doing nothing at all, even neglecting basic hygiene. These problems with emotional expression and motivation, which may be extremely troubling to family members and friends, are symptoms of schizophrenia – not character flaws or personal weaknesses. (Source: excerpt from Schizophrenia: NIMH)

Schizophrenia: NIMH (Excerpt)

There is a common notion that schizophrenia is the same as "split personality” – a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde switch in character.

 

This is not correct. (Source: excerpt from Schizophrenia: NIMH)

Schizophrenia as a Cause of Symptoms or Medical Conditions

When considering symptoms of Schizophrenia, it is also important to consider Schizophrenia as a possible cause of other medical conditions. The Disease Database lists the following medical conditions that Schizophrenia may cause:

- (Source - Diseases Database)

Schizophrenia: Onset and Incubation

Onset of Schizophrenia: Most common ages of onset are the teenage and early adolescent years though it can be diagnosed in children in as young as 7. It rarely develops after the age of 45.

Medical articles and books on symptoms:

These general reference articles may be of interest in relation to medical signs and symptoms of disease in general:

About signs and symptoms of Schizophrenia:

The symptom information on this page attempts to provide a list of some possible signs and symptoms of Schizophrenia. This signs and symptoms information for Schizophrenia has been gathered from various sources, may not be fully accurate, and may not be the full list of Schizophrenia signs or Schizophrenia symptoms. Furthermore, signs and symptoms of Schizophrenia may vary on an individual basis for each patient. Only your doctor can provide adequate diagnosis of any signs or symptoms and whether they are indeed Schizophrenia symptoms.

 

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