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Schizophrenia Symptoms & Diagnosis


Symptoms usually start in adolescence or early adulthood. They often appear slowly and become more disturbing and bizarre over time, or they may occur in a matter of weeks or months.

Symptoms include:

  • Hallucinations—seeing or hearing things/voices that are not there
  • Delusions—strong but false personal beliefs that are not based in reality
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Disorganized speech—lack of ability to speak in a way that makes sense or carry a conversation
  • Catatonic behavior—slow movement, repeating rhythmic gestures, pacing, walking in circles, negativism, repetitive speech
  • Emotional flatness—flat speech, lack of facial expression, and general disinterest and withdrawal
  • Paranoia—a psychosis characterized by systematized delusions of persecution or grandeur
  • Inappropriate laughter
  • Poor hygiene and self-care

Associated conditions include:


Early diagnosis is extremely important. People who are diagnosed early are able to:

  • Stabilize their symptoms
  • Decrease the risk of suicide
  • Decrease alcohol and substance abuse
  • Reduce the chance of relapse and/or hospitalization

A person must have active symptoms for at least two weeks, and other symptoms for at least six months before a diagnosis can be made. The doctor will rule out other causes such as drug use, medical illness, or a different mental condition.

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright © 2023 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved.

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