Symptoms of Schizophrenia
- Hallucinations: seeing, hearing, smelling or feeling things that no one else is experiencing.
- A decline in social functioning and an increase in isolating themselves.
- Delusions, such as believing they have super-natural powers, they are being sent messages through the television or other outlets, or they are someone else, such as a famous historical figure.
- Talking in a garbled way that is hard to understand, or stopping abruptly in the middle of a thought.
- Agitated body movements, repetition of certain body movements over and over, or going into a catatonic state.
- Trouble understanding information and using it to make decisions.
- Trouble executing everyday tasks, such as personal hygiene.
Hallucinations are things a person sees, hears, smells, or feels that no one else can see, hear, smell, or feel.
“Voices” are the most common type of hallucination in Schizophrenia:
– The voices may talk to the person about his or her behavior.
– Order the person to do things.
– Warn the person of danger.
– Sometimes the voices talk to each other.
Other types of hallucinations include seeing people or objects that are not there, smelling odors that no one else detects, and feeling things like invisible fingers touching their bodies when no one is near.
Delusions are false beliefs that are not part of the person’s culture and do not change.
The person believes delusions even after other people prove that the beliefs are not true or logical.
Delusions can appear bizarre:
– Believing that neighbors can control their behavior with magnetic waves.
– Believe that people on television are directing special messages to them, or that radio stations are broadcasting their thoughts aloud to others.
– Believe they are someone else, such as a famous historical figure.
– Believe that others are trying to harm them, such as by cheating, harassing, poisoning, spying on, or plotting against them, sometimes the people they care about. These beliefs (paranoid delusions) are called delusions of persecution.
Thought Disorders are unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking.
– Disorganized Thinking: When a person has trouble organizing his or her thoughts or connecting them logically.
– Might talk in a garbled way that is hard to understand.
– Thought Blocking: When a person stops speaking abruptly in the middle of a thought. When asked why he or she stopped talking, the person may say that it felt as if the thought had been taken out of his or her head.
– Might make up meaningless words, or “neologisms.”
Movement disorders may appear as agitated body movements.
A person with a movement disorder may repeat certain motions over and over. In the other extreme, a person may become catatonic. Catatonia is a state in which a person does not move and does not respond to others.
Negative symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors. These symptoms are harder to recognize as part of the disorder and can be mistaken for depression or other conditions. These symptoms include the following:
– Flat affect: a person’s face does not move or he or she talks in a dull or monotonous voice.
– Lack of pleasure in everyday life.
– Lack of ability to begin and sustain planned activities.
– Speaking little, even when forced to interact.
People with negative symptoms need help with everyday tasks. They often neglect basic personal hygiene. This may make them seem lazy or unwilling to help themselves, but the problems are symptoms caused by the Schizophrenia.
Cognitive symptoms are subtle and may be difficult to recognize as part of the disorder.
– 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.