Most people go about their day without worrying about how difficult seemingly simple tasks can be. However, some people in this world can’t do things like watch television, talk on the phone, or converse with co-workers without professional help. Approximately 54 million Americans suffer from some sort of mental illness per year and a very few of those suffer from a chronic, severe disorder called schizophrenia. Experts are not sure on the exact causes of schizophrenia. Many say it is a mixture of genes and environment. What is known for sure are the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia.
The most common positive symptoms are hallucinations, delusions, dysfunctional thinking, and some movement disorders. Hallucinations are things a person sees, feels, smells, or hears that are not really there. The most common hallucinations are “voices” the sufferer hears. Those voices talk to the person and usually tell them what to do or tell them they are in danger. Sometimes, if there are multiple voices, they talk to each other as well. Delusions are false beliefs that are abnormal to their culture and lifestyle. Sufferers commonly believe people are trying to control or hurt them.
Negative symptoms are hard to recognize as schizophrenia and are often mistaken for symptoms of other disorders. Those are the “flax affect”, lack of pleasure in everyday life, reduced ability to start and go through with planned activities, and little vocal response even when forced to interact. The “flax affect” is when a person’s face either does not move or they have a dull or monotone voice. Cognitive symptoms are difficult to recognize without testing for the symptoms themselves. Those cognitive symptoms are the lack of ability to understand new information and use it to make decisions (called “executive functioning), trouble focusing, and difficulty using information immediately after learning it (NIMH). These symptoms, along with other barriers, such as...
NIMH · Schizophrenia. (n.d.). NIMH · Home. Retrieved March 26, 2012, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/schizophrenia/complete-index.shtml
Cardno, A., & Gottesman. (2000). Twin studies of schizophrenia: from bow-and-arrow concordances to star wars Mx and functional genomics. American Journal of Medical Genetics, Spring 97(1), 12-17.
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