Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder with symptoms that can include delusions, hallucinations, trouble with thinking and concentration, and lack of motivation.
When the disease is active, it can be characterized by episodes in which the patient is unable to distinguish between real and unreal experiences. The severity, duration and frequency of symptoms can vary; however, in persons with schizophrenia, the incidence of severe psychotic symptoms often decreases during a patient’s lifetime. Symptoms fall into several categories:
- Positive psychotic symptoms: Hallucinations, such as hearing voices, paranoid delusions and exaggerated or distorted perceptions, beliefs and behaviors.
- Negative symptoms: A loss or a decrease in the ability to initiate plans, speak, express emotion or find pleasure.
- Disorganization symptoms: Confused and disordered thinking and speech, trouble with logical thinking and sometimes bizarre behavior or abnormal movements.
- Impaired cognition: Problems with attention, concentration, memory and declining educational performance.