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Schizophrenia refers to an abnormal social behavior and failure to understand what is real and is a mental disorder commonly characterized by false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation. People with schizophrenia often have additional mental health problems such as substance abuse disorder. Symptoms of schizophrenia usually start between ages 16 and 30 and in some cases, children too suffer.
The symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories: Active/Positive, negative, and cognitive
The active stage is when the five main symptoms of schizophrenia are most likely to happen. Those symptoms can include a combination of the following:
- Delusions. These are false beliefs that a person won’t change even when there’s plenty of evidence that those beliefs are wrong. An example of a very severe delusion would be that someone is controlling what you think, say or do.
- Hallucinations. These are things that don’t exist, but you still think you can see, hear, smell, touch or taste them. Hallucinations in schizophrenia (and the related spectrum of conditions) are usually things you can hear, especially hearing voices.
- Disorganized or incoherent speaking. People with schizophrenia often have trouble organizing their thoughts while speaking. They may have trouble staying on topic, or it can be so severe that you can’t understand them because their sentences are jumbled or incoherent.
- Disorganized or unusual movements. This symptom can take various forms, from childish and silly movements to abrupt, upset movements. It can also include catatonic behavior, where a person doesn’t react as expected to the world around them. They might hold a certain pose (even an uncomfortable one), not respond to people speaking to them or might start moving around excessively for no obvious reason.
These refer to decreases in certain behaviors, not symptoms that are bad. Negative symptoms usually involve a decrease in emotion in a person’s facial expressions, how they speak (such as with a flat and emotionless voice), and fewer or no gestures with their hands or other parts of their body. They also involve a lack of motivation, especially when they don’t want to socialize or do things they ordinarily enjoy.