Schizophrenia alters a person’s perception of reality, their emotions and behaviour. Symptoms are categorised as ‘positive/excessive’ or ‘negative/subduing’.
Positive symptoms include:
- Delusions: personal beliefs that are false and based on incorrect inference about external reality; these beliefs are firmly held despite any evidence to the contrary.
- Hallucinations: when a person experiences or perceives things that don’t exist. This may be via any of the senses: a hallucination might be seen, heard, smelt or felt.
- Disturbances in the thought process: these can include a chaotic stream of thoughts or a sudden loss of all thoughts.
Negative symptoms tend to be longer term. They are termed ‘negative’ because they describe a loss of normal functions. They include lack of emotion and motivation, sleep deprivation and fatigue, and becoming withdrawn and isolated.