Negative symptoms of schizophrenia

Schizophrenia causes two types of symptoms: negative and positive. Negative does not mean "bad." Negative symptoms are things that are "lost" from your personality or how you experience life because of schizophrenia. Positive symptoms are those that "add" to your personality or how you experience life.

Negative symptoms usually occur first, and you may still have them when the positive symptoms, such as hallucinations, have gotten better.

You may:

  • Find little or no pleasure in life. You may not enjoy things you once enjoyed, such as playing sports or video games or visiting with friends. This is a common symptom of schizophrenia.
  • Feel like you have no emotions. You may not smile or frown, make eye contact, or use other facial cues that show how you feel. Or you may have emotions that don't make sense to others, such as becoming angry with strangers.
  • Have a hard time focusing or paying attention. You may not understand how to use information well and feel confused. You may not have whole thoughts.
  • Not be interested in succeeding or meeting goals.
  • Not take care of yourself. You may not bother to wash, do laundry, or clean your living space.
  • Not talk or make only short statements.
  • Have a hard time starting or finishing tasks. These include everyday tasks such as eating, bathing, or grooming.

You can help these symptoms by getting treatment and by making and following a recovery plan.

Last Updated: August 28, 2008

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