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10 Common Symptoms of Schizophrenia


Schizophrenia affects your ability to think, feel, and act. An altered brain chemistry and structure, along with genetics and the environment, seem to play a role with this disorder. Schizophrenia centers on unrealistic thoughts or experiences, incoherent speech and behavior, and lack of participation in activities.

Schizophrenia cannot be cured, making it a lifelong condition. Treatment usually includes medications, psychotherapy, and specialty care services.

Symptom 1: Hallucinations

With schizophrenia, you hear, smell, see, taste, and touch things that do not exist. These are hallucinations.

For example, you may hear voices or sounds or see things that others do not. Something unreal to others, is very real to you if you have schizophrenia.

Symptom 2: Delusions

Do you have delusions or false beliefs that are not based on reality? For example, do you think a specific song by Elton John is about you? Or, do you think someone is following you every day?

Medications are used to manage delusions. Hospitalization may be necessary for a period of time.

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Symptom 3: Personal Hygiene

Do you care less about your personal hygiene? Do you get angry when someone tells you to take a bath or brush your teeth? Those with schizophrenia are often unaware about having to take care of their hygiene and find it difficult to take care of themselves.

According to Schizophrenia.com, a patient stated: “Hygiene is a major problem for me. I haven't had a bath for months. Mainly because I don't like my bath-too narrow and shallow, thank you not council. I do strip wash but there can be several days between doing so. Clothes are an issue I tend to stay in the same clothes for a long time. I think a large part of that is a fixation with the washing machine breaking down if I use it too much. That really stems from a bout of extreme anxiety/akathisia when first on Consta. I got really obsessed about the washing machine breaking down and what I would do if it did. I even went as far as avoiding using it for a few weeks and washing my clothes in the bath. Even though I now know Currys would fit a new machine and take away the old machine I still have a fixation about overusing the machine. I don't think I smell much overall but after a while I can smell pissy in the underwear area. However, do we always know how much we smell to others? Knowing these things and having the motivation to be more proactive with them is a hard nut to crack.”

Symptom 4: Insomnia

Do you have insomnia or over sleep? When you have schizophrenia, your sleep patterns may change. You may sleep multiple times during the day and sometimes at night. People with schizophrenia do not tend to follow a sleep pattern of 8 hours at night.

You may experience less deep sleep and wake up easily due to feelings of fear or anxiety. Sleep issues can intensify schizophrenia and affect your overall health.

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Symptom 5: Criticism

Do you react strongly to criticism? Most people do not enjoy being criticized. However, those with schizophrenia really have a hard time handling criticism and remarks.

According to Frederick J. Frese, who is schizophrenic, stated: “It is my experience that those of us with schizophrenia are indeed very sensitive to hostile criticism and other forms of expressed emotion. But it is not only in the family context. Whenever persons with schizophrenia encounter criticism, insults, or other forms of psychological oppression, we tend to be damaged in a manner that increases the likelihood of our relapsing into psychosis. This vulnerability tends to be part of the disorder. Those who have this disorder need to know that they are vulnerable in this manner. Other persons who come into frequent contact with the mentally ill also need to know that we are particularly sensitive in this regard.”

Symptom 6: Disorganized Behavior

It is difficult to function every day, especially because schizophrenia can affect your behavior. You have unpredictable and inappropriate emotional responses.

You my express aggression, agitation, and hostility. You can also make repetitive movements, or even harm yourself.

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Symptom 7: Decreased Participation

Schizophrenia can cause you to separate from others and reality. You prefer to play and work on your own. You do not feel comfortable being around others.

According to Shalila Raj from the Center for Health and Mental Health School of Social Work, “Symptoms are such that it prevents the individual from focusing on any activity. Their involvement in social activities decreases over the period of time. Their participation in community activities tends to be minimal.”

Symptom 8: Difficulty Concentrating

Are you able to concentrate? Pay attention? Focus? Schizophrenia is a thought disorder and makes it difficult to concentrate.  

According to Mental Health Daily, “The person may have a very difficult time paying attention or focusing on a task. Even if they are able to focus for a short time, their inability to sustain focus or concentration makes tasks significantly more difficult.”

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Symptom 9: Memory

Schizophrenia can affect your short-term and long-term memory.

According to Mental Health Daily, “Working memory helps us temporarily store visual images as well as verbal information for a short duration. The person with this illness has a tough time using information immediately after they learn it. This can make task performance such as on a job very difficult and nearly unsustainable for certain individuals with this illness.”

Symptom 10: Speech

Those with schizophrenia have a difficult time communicating. They are unable to say more than a few words at a time. When they do say something, others often can not understand what they are saying.

Schizophrenia sufferers tend to ramble or even talk in a made-up language. Also, they lack talking with emotion, basically in a monotone voice.

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