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Symptoms of Schizophrenia
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Worried you may be suffering from schizophrenia, or schizophrenic-spectrum disorders such as schizoaffective disorder? Check here for the symptoms you should look for before consulting a mental health professional.

Schizophrenia
Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizophrenia

This disorder consists of at least two of the following symptoms, for at least one month:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence)
  • Grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior
  • Negative symptoms (e.g., affective flattening, alogia, avolition; see below)

(Only one symptom is required if delusions are bizarre or hallucinations consist of a voice keeping up a running commentary on the person's behavior or thoughts, or two or more voices conversing with each other.) For a significant portion of the time since the onset of the disturbance, one or more major areas of functioning such as work, interpersonal relations, or self-care are markedly below the level achieved prior to the onset (or when the onset is in childhood or adolescence, failure to achieve expected level of interpersonal, academic, or occupational achievement).

Schizoaffective Disorder and Mood Disorder With Psychotic Features have been considered as alternative explanations for the symptoms and have been ruled out.

The disturbance is not due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, a medication) or a general medical condition.

If there is a history of Autistic Disorder or another Pervasive Developmental Disorder, the additional diagnosis of Schizophrenia is made only if prominent delusions or hallucinations are also present for at least a month (or less if successfully treated).

Different Types of Schizophrenia:

  • Paranoid: a person feels extremely suspicious, persecuted, grandiose, or experiences a combination of these emotions.
  • Disorganized: a person is often incoherent but may not have delusions.
  • Catatonic: a person is withdrawn, mute, negative and often assumes very unusual postures.
  • Residual: a person is no longer delusion or hallucinating, but has no motivation or interest in life.

Schizoaffective Disorder

This disorder is characterized by the presence of one of the following:

  • Major Depressive Episode (must include depressed mood)
  • Manic Episode
  • Mixed Episode

as well as the presence of at least two of the following symptoms, for at least one month:

  • delusions
  • hallucinations
  • disorganized speech (e.g., frequent derailment or incoherence)
  • grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior
  • negative symptoms (e.g., affective flattening, alogia, avolition)

(Only one symptom is required if delusions are bizarre or hallucinations consist of a voice keeping up a running commentary on the person's behavior or thoughts, or two or more voices conversing with each other.) The occurrence of the delusions or hallucinations must be in the absence of any serious mood symptoms for at least 2 weeks. The mood disorder, however, must be present for a significant minority of the time. The symptoms of this disorder also can not be better explained by the use or abuse of a substance (alcohol, drugs, medications) or a general medical condition (stroke).

References:
American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.

 

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