Symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three categories; positive, negative and cognitive. Positive symptoms; “reflect an excess or distortion of normal functions” (MayoClinicStaff, 2012). Including delusions; being the most common symptom (beliefs that are not based on realistic events/happenings), hallucinations (seeing/hearing things that aren’t really there), thought disorder (difficulty to organize thoughts while speaking which results in “word salad”; putting togethter meaningless words), and disorganized behavior (from childlike behavior to unpredictable agitation) (MayoClinicStaff, 2012). While negative symptoms; “refer to the absence of characteristics of normal function” (MayoClinicStaff, 2012). Including alogia (reduced amount of spontaneous speech), affective flattening (lack of emotional reactivity), avolition (reduced will power), and anhedonia (loss of ability to experience pleasure) (Lewis, 2007). Lastly cognitive symptoms; “involve problems with thought process” (MayoClinicStaff, 2012). These symptoms are the most restricting due to their interference on the ability of performing daily activities. A person may be born with cognitive symptoms, including difficulty paying attention, memory problems or trouble making sense of information (MayoClinicStaff, 2012).
Schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment; with no known cure to eliminate the disorder. Medication is the cornerstone of treatment for schizophrenia, controlling symptoms by affecting brain neurotransmitters, dopamine and serotonin. Antipsychotic medications are the most common with a goal of controlling symptoms at a lowest possible dosage, including two categories; atypical and conventional/typical.