Some of the “Other” Common Symptoms in Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is most easily recognized by the symptoms that define it, such as visual and auditory hallucinations (e.g., “seeing things” and “hearing voices”) and delusions, including paranoia. But other symptoms are also extremely common.

Apathy, for instance, is often observed. If a person is experiencing auditory or visual delusions and paranoia – “psychosis” – they they are less likely to engage in day to day activities because the voices and suspicions are controlling the majority of their life. A Person living with schizophrenia can still experience depression even when they are not having other symptoms, the person will show signs of apathy, which can be attributed to the depression. Excessive doses of antipsychotics can also sometimes contribute to apathy.

Negative Symptoms Associated with Schizophrenia

Between 40% and 50% of people living with schizophrenia who have been treated and are recovering

will show evidence of negative symptoms. Negative symptoms include:

• Emotional flatness or lack of expressiveness.
• Inability to start and follow through with activities.
• Lack of pleasure or interest in life.

One distinction of some people living with schizophrenia is they do not expect enjoyable activities to give them pleasure, which likely causes them to not engage in pleasure-seeking behaviors.

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What is Paranoia?

The term “paranoia” is frequently used in association with certain mental illnesses, but is not always fully understood. In paranoia, an individual mistakenly interprets “others” actions and motives as being of a threatening nature. It can establish itself through a personality disorder and is also associated with schizophrenia, in which the individual becomes socially detached and in some cases shows little expression or emotion.

As well as unusual ideas and peculiar behavior, people with paranoia may also experience related “delusions” that are out of keeping with their normal culture and activities.

From Google Dictionary: [noun] a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.

Paranoid schizophrenia is a subtype of schizophrenia in which the patient has delusions (false beliefs) that a person or some individuals are plotting against him or her, or members of his or her family. An individual with paranoid schizophrenia may spend a disproportionate amount of time thinking up ways of protecting themselves from their persecutors. Interestingly, a person with paranoid schizophrenia typically has fewer problems with memory, dulled emotions and concentration compared to those with other subtypes; which allows them to think and function more successfully. Even so, paranoid schizophrenia is a chronic (long-term, lifelong) condition which may eventually lead to complications, including suicidal thoughts and behavior.

People with paranoid personality disorder are generally characterized by having a long-standing pattern of pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others.  A person with paranoid personality disorder will nearly always believe that other people’s motives are suspect or even malevolent. Paranoid personality disorder generally isn’t diagnosed when another psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia, has already been diagnosed in the person. Paranoid personality disorder is more prevalent in males than females. Like most personality disorders, paranoid personality disorder typically will decrease in intensity with age, with many people experiencing few of the most extreme symptoms by the time they are in the 40s or 50s.