- laughing or talking to oneself
- getting angry or crying without any apparent reason
- complaints by the person of hearing voices when alone!
- complaints or ideas that someone is after the person
- not carrying out one’s own usual daily routine
- sudden lack of care about personal grooming and hygiene
- serious disturbances in sleep or lack of appetite
- person reporting that he or she is seeing things others don’t
- unexplained violent behavior
- withdrawal from social activities and people
- strange ideas and beliefs, such as, that everything on the radio or TV is referring to the person himself, or that everyone knows what the person is thinking, that he knows about other’s thoughts and ideas being transmitted to him
- lack of organization of thoughts leading to mixture of ideas while talking or talk not making sense
Signs and symptoms of schizophrenia generally are divided into three categories — positive, negative and cognitive.
These reflect an excess or distortion of normal functions. These active, abnormal symptoms may include:
- Delusions. These beliefs are not based in reality and usually involve misinterpretation of perception or experience. They are the most common of schizophrenic symptoms.
- Hallucinations. These usually involve seeing or hearing things that don’t exist, although hallucinations can be in any of the senses. Hearing voices is the most common hallucination among people with schizophrenia.
- Thought disorder. Difficulty speaking and organizing thoughts may result in stopping speech midsentence or putting together meaningless words, sometimes known as “word salad.”
- Disorganized behavior. This may show in a number of ways, ranging from childlike silliness to unpredictable agitation.
Negative symptoms refer to a diminishment or absence of characteristics of normal function. They may appear months or years before positive symptoms. They include:
- Loss of interest in everyday activities
- Appearing to lack emotion
- Reduced ability to plan or carry out activities
- Neglect of personal hygiene
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of motivation
Cognitive symptoms involve problems with thought processes. These symptoms may be the most disabling in schizophrenia, because they interfere with the ability to perform routine daily tasks. A person with schizophrenia may be born with these symptoms, but they may worsen when the disorder starts. They include:
- Problems with making sense of information
- Difficulty paying attention
- Memory problems
Schizophrenia also can affect mood, causing depression or mood swings. In addition, people with schizophrenia often seem inappropriate and odd, causing others to avoid them, which leads to social isolation.
Hospitalization is at times necessary when the person’s behavior is harmful to himself or others, or when the person is not looking after his own basic needs any more. Also, it may be necessary to make sure the person is getting his medication regularly. Schizophrenic patients can sometimes refuse to accept medicines from relatives because they imagine they are being poisoned.