Understanding Schizophrenia: Positive and Negative Symptoms

Schizophrenia is a complex mental health condition. Understanding the experience of someone living with schizophrenia – or identifying the symptoms in yourself or a family member in order to seek treatment – is not always straightforward. 

Visual and auditory hallucinations are usually one of the most recognized and apparent symptoms of schizophrenia, but those with the disease can experience a wide range of symptoms. These consist of positive and negative symptoms.

Types of Positive and Negative Symptoms 

When referring to schizophrenia, positive and negative describe whether behaviors and thoughts are present or not. Positive symptoms are abnormal signs that someone without schizophrenia would not experience, but someone with schizophrenia does. These include:

  • Hallucinations – The person will see, hear, taste, smell, or feel things that are not there.
  • Delusions – These are total belief in something that is not true or grounded in reality.
  • Trouble with Movement – This can include fidgeting, repetitive movements, or catatonia.
  • Irregular Speech or Thought Patterns – Speech may be jumbled for a person with schizophrenia, thoughts may be disorganized, or they cannot follow along with stories.

Negative symptoms are characterized by what would generally be standard behaviors but are not present in those with schizophrenia, such as:

  • Lack of Speech or Movement 
  • Social Withdrawal 
  • Inability to Find Enjoyment in Previously Liked Activities
  • Inability to Perform Daily Self Care Tasks 
  • Lack of Emotional Response 

There is no single way that those with schizophrenia can experience it, and a person may have one, some, or all of these symptoms at different times of their life. 

Since many symptoms, especially the negative ones, are similar to what one would experience with mental health conditions like depression or bipolar disorder, it is important to understand the full range of symptoms when providing a diagnosis. Additionally, schizophrenia can be accompanied by other mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, OCD, or substance abuse disorder, which will add additional symptoms.

The variety of experiences and the combination of mental and physical symptoms are part of what makes schizophrenia so challenging. If you or a family member is entering into or continuing treatment for schizophrenia in Dallas, having a psychiatrist that takes the time to understand all of your needs will be invaluable in the treatment process. 

At Aware Behavioral Health, we are dedicated to understanding our patients as individuals in order to provide the most relevant and effective care. If the symptoms of schizophrenia sound familiar to you, contact us today to learn more about our treatment services.

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