Schizophrenia is a medical disorder that impedes an individual's ability to think rationally and tell the difference between fantasy and reality. Generally, symptoms disrupt daily life, affecting language, thought, and perception. Classic symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, and catatonic behavior. Symptoms usually are sorted into three types: positive, negative, and cognitive.
Positive symptoms of schizophrenia refer to a person's behavior of acting in an extreme manner during normal functions. Classic common positive symptoms include experiencing delusions and hallucinations. An individual who has delusions typically misunderstands situations and thinks that others are secretly scheming against him. Hallucinations involve a misinterpretation of the senses. One of the most common types of hallucinations include a person hearing voices that are not there.
Thought disorder and disorganized behavior are other positive symptoms of schizophrenia. Disordered thinking may include trouble verbalizing and putting together coherent thoughts. A person experiencing disordered thinking may stop talking in midway through a sentence, string together groups of words that make no sense or make up his own words.
Negative symptoms of schizophrenia refer to the shortage of certain traits a person should have and typically include a person distancing himself from others. An individual with negative symptoms experiences a lack of interest in planning or executing daily activities, which may result in a disregard of personal appearance. In addition, symptoms include appearing stoic and reserved. Behavior also includes taking in a droning voice.
Cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia involve symptoms pertaining to a person's thought process. These types of symptoms cause a person to have trouble organizing his thoughts and tasks. An individual will typically display trouble focusing, remembering things, and comprehending general information.
Affective symptoms of schizophrenia concern a person's mood. A person may experience a wide varieties of mood including depression. An individual may also seek to cause harm to himself. Behavior may seem out of place, which results in others avoiding someone with the mental illness.
Children and teenagers typically develop different symptoms of schizophrenia than adults. Typically, schizophrenia will not materialize in a person until the age of 12. Symptoms of the illness in children may involve acting much younger than one's actual age and mixing up reality with what is seen on television and movies. Children with schizophrenia also will have trouble developing and making friends.
Symptoms of schizophrenia typically manifest during an individual's teenage years or when he enters his 20s. The illness affects more than two million American adults, and causes severe mood swings and may even include suicidal thoughts. Definitive causes of the disease are not known, and although it can be treated with medication and therapy, no cure exists.