Schizophrenia or schizophrenia is defined as a psychological disorder that affects a person’s thinking, feelings, and behavior, making him unable to distinguish between reality and fiction, and the sufferer shows symptoms of schizophrenia such as psychotic signs and changes in the normal behavior of the individual. [1]

This article discusses the symptoms of schizophrenia in detail from positive and negative symptoms, with reference to the early signs of schizophrenia.

Early symptoms of schizophrenia

Symptoms most often occur in men in their late teens or early 20s, while women tend to appear in their late 20s and early 30s, and rarely appear before the age of 13 or after 40 years. [2] [3]

The emergence of symptoms of mental schizophrenia is gradual in most cases, and the early stage of the disease includes warning signs that last for months or years, and vary according to the age of the patient.

Symptoms of onset schizophrenia, depending on age, include:

  • Young children: They may show signs of delayed speech and walking.
  • Older Children and Adolescents: Adolescents can become depressed, apathetic, withdrawn, have difficulty concentrating, poor academic achievement, and bizarre behavior.
  • Adults: Adults show signs such as restlessness, general fatigue, lack of energy, lack of interest in appearance, and social withdrawal.

Schizophrenia symptoms

Symptoms of schizophrenia are divided into positive and negative symptoms, as well as cognitive symptoms. The following are the most prominent of them:

Positive schizophrenia symptoms

The word positive refers to the presence of clear symptoms on the patient, in which the person is unable to distinguish between reality and imagination, and these symptoms are also called psychotic symptoms. [4]

Symptoms of psychotic schizophrenia include: [4]

Delusions or delusions are defined as strange and illogical beliefs and firm ideas of a person that are inconsistent with reality, and although there is no logical explanation for them or evidence of their validity, the schizophrenic patient believes that they are completely true.

Some symptoms of severe schizophrenia related to delusions include:

    • Persecution delusions: the person believes that others are bad for him, and plotting against him.
    • Delusions of hostility or referentialism: a person believes that there are messages being directed to him through the things that are happening around him, for example, a person with schizophrenia may believe that billboards or a television announcer are sending him a certain message.
    • Delusions of grandeur: the person believes that he is a famous or historical figure, or that he has supernatural powers.
    • Delusions of control: the delusion that outside forces control his thoughts and actions.

A person with schizophrenia suffers from feeling things that do not really exist, including: [1] [4]

    • Visual hallucinations: Visual hallucinations involve seeing lights, people, or things that are not there. For example, a person with schizophrenia may see a loved one who is no longer alive.
    • Auditory hallucinations: Auditory hallucinations are common symptoms of schizophrenia, where a person hears unreal sounds, such as hearing angry voices or asking him to do something, and it may be a single sound or a group of whispering and complaining voices.
    • Olfactory and gustatory hallucinations: This type of hallucinations involves smelling smells or sensing good or bad tastes, and may lead to a person with schizophrenia refusing to eat food because they believe it is poisoned.
    • Sensory hallucinations: the feeling of insects or something crawling on the body.
  • Disorganized speech

It is a symptom of schizophrenia in personality and failure to maintain the sequence of thoughts, and this appears in the following signs: [4] [5]

    • Incoherence of words and phrases.
    • Speaking in incomprehensible terms.
    • Repeating the word or sentence over and over again.
    • Speak based on rhyme regardless of the meaning of speech or grammar.
    • Quick transition from one topic to another.
  • Inappropriate movement behavior

A patient with schizophrenia suffers from a behavioral and movement disorder that impairs his ability to perform daily tasks, such as: [5] [6]

    • Unintentional strange behaviour.
    • Unexpected or inappropriate reaction to the situation.
    • Impulsivity and difficulty controlling impulses.
    • Difficulty completing simple daily tasks, such as getting dressed or preparing food.
    • Doing a certain movement over and over again.
    • Remaining in certain positions without movement for long hours, which is called

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Negative schizophrenia symptoms

Negative symptoms refer to the lack or absence of certain features of normal thinking and behavior, such as: [6]

  • Lack of willpower: Lack of willpower or motivation is a common negative symptom of schizophrenia, as the patient loses motivation to do things, no matter how simple they are, such as making a phone call or answering the phone.
  • Anhedonia: the loss of a sense of joy and enjoyment of things that used to bring pleasure.
  • Social withdrawal: isolation and lack of interest in social activities or spending time with family and friends.
  • Distracted: This manifests as a schizophrenic staring aimlessly while talking to them.
  • Apathy: such as not caring about appearance and neglecting personal hygiene.
  • Emotional stagnation: a lack of reaction in the person’s reactions, lack of response and interaction by showing expressions on the face, or changing the tone of voice, as well as lack of body language, so that he appears as a person without feelings and emotions.
  • Difficulty speaking: It is noted that the schizophrenic patient lacks talk about what he was, and the patient also has difficulty speaking fluently.

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Perceptual symptoms of schizophrenia

Cognitive or cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia occur in some cases of schizophrenia, but are not used in the diagnosis of the disease. Examples of these symptoms include: [5]

  • Difficulty paying attention and focusing: The schizophrenic patient suffers from the inability to maintain his focus and seems detached from reality.
  • Memory problems: Schizophrenia affects working memory, as it may be difficult for a person to remember information and then the steps to apply it.
  • Difficulty planning and executing tasks: People with schizophrenia suffer from decreased executive function, that is, the inability to determine the steps needed to complete a task, and they also have difficulty making decisions.
  • Lack of insight or self-awareness: A person with schizophrenia may not realize that they are ill and need treatment, as schizophrenia affects some cognitive functions.

Symptoms of schizophrenia in children

Children may show some early features from the first months of life, which parents can notice in their children, but children rarely develop schizophrenia before the age of 13 years. [7]

Symptoms of schizophrenia in older children are similar to those in adults, but children are more likely to have auditory hallucinations, and often do not develop delusions before adolescence. [7]