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Schizophrenia Health Center

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Symptoms of Schizophrenia - Topic Overview

Schizophrenia has unusual symptoms. If you are not familiar with them, they may seem frightening. Below is a description of these symptoms.

Paranoid thinking

Some people with schizophrenia have frightening thoughts and hear threatening voices. This causes them to act afraid or to argue with other people. Sometimes they attack other people or objects in their surroundings because they are afraid of them.

Catatonic behavior

Catatonic behavior is rare. It can cause odd behaviors such as:

  • Sitting or standing in unusual positions (posturing).
  • Allowing another person to move one's arms and legs into different positions (waxy flexibility).
  • Sitting without moving for long periods of time (stupor).
  • Being very active but with no purpose (catatonic excitement). During these episodes of intense activity, people with catatonic schizophrenia may injure themselves or other people.

Disorganized speech and behaviors

Disorganized symptoms in schizophrenia are rare. But if you have disorganized speech or behaviors, they may be the most noticeable or unsettling symptoms that you have. People who have these symptoms may have unpredictable behaviors.

They may act silly and giggle for no apparent reason. They often make up words and sentences that make no sense to other people. And they often don't show facial expressions.

Examples of disorganized speech include:

  • Making up words (neologisms). For example: "I'm going to the park to ride the wallywhoop."
  • Rhyming words (clang speech). For example: "Deck the halls with boughs of holly, folly, polly, dolly, hello Dolly, want a lollipop?"
  • Saying sentences that make no sense to other people (word salad). For example: "Give paper floor me school hop bus."
  • Repeating exactly what someone else has said (echolalia).

Examples of disorganized behavior include:

  • Repeating the same activity (word or behavior) over and over again (perseveration).
  • Repeating exactly what someone else has done (echopraxia).
  • Dressing oddly, such as wearing many sets of clothing one over the other or wearing hats, gloves, and heavy coats in the summer.
  • Doing things in public that are usually done only in private. Urinating on a street corner is an example.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: November 14, 2014
    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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