Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder characterized by distorted and abnormal understandings and interpretations of reality. This is a severe form of a mental condition that affects the way a person thinks and expresses himself or herself. As the person fails to understand reality, he or she may enter into a state of psychotic behaviors, which may be very surprising for an onlooker. The behavior of the person may change suddenly when confusing thoughts and images develop in their brain. It is a debilitating mental condition that may require lifelong treatment. The severity of the condition and the frequency of the psychotic episodes may vary depending on the individual.
Symptoms of schizophrenia are usually noted in late adolescence and are seen more commonly in men, when compared to women. Schizophrenia symptoms are not seen in children and in people older than 45-years-old. Symptoms of this mental disorder is categorized into positive, negative, and cognitive.
Positive or ‘psychotic’ symptoms refer to an excess of normal behavior or functioning:
- Delusions – These are one of the most common among the different symptoms of schizophrenia. Here, the person may have certain strange beliefs that are unrealistic. It often develops from the misinterpretation of an experience. A person feeling that he or she is ‘God’ or ‘Evil’ is a typical example of a delusion.
- Hallucinations – Perception of sensations that does not exist, like hearing strange sounds or seeing things that are nonexistent, is referred to as hallucination.
- Catatonia – In this condition, the person may remain in the same position for a long duration.
- Disorganized symptoms – These arise as the person is unable to perceive and respond appropriately to a situation. They may frame sentences that does not make sense making it difficult for the listener to understand. It is difficult for them to take decisions and they most often forget things. They may repeat a certain movement or gesture, like pacing. They may pour their heart out in the form of writing, which may not make any sense for the reader.
Negative symptoms refer to the absence of normal behavior or functioning:
- They may talk or appear to be emotionless or have very limited range in expressions.
- Personal hygiene may not be a priority.
- They may talk less and remain withdrawn from relatives and friends.
- They may lack motivation and lose interest in life
Cognitive symptoms refer to the difference and abnormality in thought processes. These symptoms often affect the daily activities of the person and is the most debilitating of all.
- Difficulty in interpreting information and use
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Difficulty in remembering things learnt
In most cases, people with this mental disorder may not realize that the issue arises because of the disorder.