What is schizophrenia?
If the symptoms of psychosis last longer than 3 months, one has schizophrenia. The two main features of schizophrenia are hallucinations – seeing objects, people, things that are not actually there in reality
delusions – which are unrealistic beliefs such as believing one is a star of a TV show, believing that they are the only ones alive, believing that they are God etc.
There are two types of schizophrenia, passive and active schizophrenia.
Passive schizophrenia is characterized by one being extremely socially withdrawn, isolated, one may not speak for days or months. They may also rock back and fourth and have uncontrollable movement or they may remain in the same position even uncomfortable ones for days at a time. Not moving, even when one tries to move them. This phenomena is called: catatonia.
Active schizophrenia is the one that is more publicized. Active schizophrenia is characterized by: loud, strange/eccentric behaviour, sometimes aggressive such as shouting at others on the street, talking to themselves, having conversations with inanimate objects. It also includes, speaking chants, repeating words or feeling as if one cannot stop talking. When they talk they have a tendency to not make logical sense. They do not have linear trains of thought. They may go off on tangents, talk and start to rhyme words or make loose associations. When one is talking and saying a bunch of words in a hyper state it is called a word salad. It is a jumble of words that do not make rational sense or seem to have a clear point. Both passive and active people with schizophrenia experience hallucinations and delusions however.
What are the four common symptoms of schizophrenia?
(Please note that these are some examples but do not cover every example/type in depth)
Disorganized/irrational and/or delusional thinking
- Delusions- mistaken beliefs that are maintained despite contrary evidence
- Paranoia- believing that people are talking about you, an external source is controlling your thoughts, the government is tracking or spying on you, thoughts are being injected into the person’s mind against their will
- Persecution: others are out to harm or threaten you, you are being punished for your sins by God/other people/a higher entity
- Perceive things that are not there i.e hallucinations
- Other distorted perceptions can be auditory, somatosensory, olfactory, gustatory
Inappropriate emotions and actions
- Displays emotional reactions that are outside of social context i.e laughing when nothing is happening/nothing there
- Displays emotional responses that would be considered inappropriate by societal norms such as laughing at someone’s funeral, not reacting to compliments or praise positively.
- Displays no emotional response when social context calls for an emotional response i.e a friend coming to someone for support and them not replying, having a blank expression on their face, no emotional response whatsoever
- Displays body lanuage / actions which are outside of the social norm such as waving hands around, shaking head to get rid of thoughts, repeatedly rocking back and fourth, walking in circles
Deterioration in adaptive behavior
- Noticeable deterioration in the quality of the person’s routine functioning in there work ie no longer preforming tasks that are necessary
- Not being able to respond in social situations, responding in a maladaptive manner in social situations
- Neglecting personal care such as showering, brushing hair, putting clothes on etc