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Schizophrenia - Symptoms

The symptoms of schizophrenia can be negative, positive, or cognitive.

Negative symptoms

"Negative" doesn't mean "bad." Negative symptoms are things that are "lost" from your personality or how you experience life. You may:

  • Find little or no pleasure in life. You may not enjoy things you once enjoyed, such as playing sports or video games or visiting with friends. This is a common symptom of schizophrenia.
  • Feel like you have no emotions. You may not smile or frown, make eye contact, or use other facial cues that show how you feel.
  • Have a hard time focusing or paying attention. You may not understand how to use information well, so you may feel confused. You may not have complete thoughts.
  • Not be interested in succeeding or meeting goals. Many people with schizophrenia don't do well at work or in school.
  • Not take care of yourself. You may not bother to wash, do laundry, eat on a regular basis, or clean your living space.

Positive symptoms

"Positive" doesn't mean "good." Positive symptoms are things "added" or "new" to your personality or how you experience life because of schizophrenia. You may:

  • Have hallucinationshallucinations. Most people with schizophrenia hear noises or voices that aren't there. Some people with the illness also may see, taste, touch, or smell things that aren't there.
  • Have delusions, which are ideas that aren't true. For example, you may think that you are a powerful person or that the police or demons want to harm you or cause problems for you.
  • Act oddly. You may become very excited or angry with other people. You may have odd body movements, such as often rocking back and forth or making faces.
  • Show emotions that don't fit the situation. For example, you may smile when talking about sad topics or laugh at the wrong time.
  • Not be able to keep your thoughts straight and not make sense to others when you talk. For example, when someone asks you a question, you may give an answer that doesn't make sense, not be able to say much, or only give one-word answers.

Cognitive and other symptoms

Other symptoms include:

  • Cognitive symptoms. These symptoms affect how you think. They include memory loss and not being able to understand things well enough to make decisions. Cognitive symptoms often aren't obvious to you or others.
  • Specific behavior changes.Different types of schizophrenia may cause different behaviors, such as being afraid with little reason, standing in awkward positions for a long time, or making up words.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 31, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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