Artwork by

Schizophrenia Symptoms: All you need to know

Medically reviewed by

Written by

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder where individuals interpret reality abnormally, and it affects the way they behave, think, and see the world Schizophrenia characterizes a combination of delusion, hallucinations, abnormal thinking, and impaired behavior affecting daily activities.

Schizophrenia is not to be ignored! Schizophrenia is not curable, but if left undiagnosed, this condition can worsen. Hence, timely treatment is needed to manage schizophrenia symptoms. A schizophrenic person can cause harm to self and to others. Early detection of Schizophrenia Symptoms in adults can help the person to manage schizophrenia and live a normal life.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia usually starts between ages 16 and 30. It disproportionately affects men more than women. A schizophrenic person needs a collaborative treatment of medications, therapy, social support, lifestyle modifications, etc. It is estimated that 50 percent of people can lead normal lives with schizophrenia, while 50 percent need family or medical support. The hard fact lies in that there is poor awareness about this psychiatric disorder, and caregivers can suffer more than the suffering individuals.

To learn more about what are the symptoms of Schizophrenia and how a schizophrenic person deals with their daily life. Watch this video of a popular film, ‘A beautiful mind’, based on a protagonist who struggles with Schizophrenia.

What are the symptoms of Schizophrenia Disorder?

There are two types of symptoms majorly seen in schizophrenia, i.e., positive and negative. The concept of positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia has been around for quite a while. A schizophrenic person may exhibit positive symptoms or negative or even a combination of both. Some individuals may experience negative symptoms at first and positive symptoms later on, and vice versa.

Positive Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Why are they called positive symptoms? Does it mean that they are good or beneficial? The answer is ‘No’. These positive symptoms do not imply that the patient is cured. Schizophrenia causes a surplus of mental experiences, and positive symptoms refer to those that are in excess or added to normal mental functioning. Positive symptoms consist of hallucinations such as hearing voices and delusions.

  • Hallucinations: Here, the individuals tend to feel, hear, smell, and see things that are not real.  Among them, hearing voices (auditory hallucinations) is most common. Sometimes, the individual misinterprets their self-talk as coming from an external source. Visual hallucinations are also quite common.
  • Delusions: Delusions are strong false beliefs that individuals have, and they can be of any kind. The person may believe that some external forces are controlling their thoughts or actions. The person may also believe that they have supernatural powers, and they may feel that he/she is a famous personality.
  • Disorganized thoughts and speech: Individuals with schizophrenia can experience difficulty in organizing thoughts. They are easily distracted or unable to follow the given instructions. When they talk, their word does not make sense, and they answer questions irrelevantly. Speech is also affected: they speak in a disorganized manner, and their statements may consist of meaningful but jumbled words, creating a word salad.
  • Disorganized behavior: The individual may face issues with goal-directed self-care behavior like poor personal hygiene, and sudden impulsive and socially inappropriate behavior may be seen. For example, the individuals may wear a cotton shirt in winter, and they may wear odd or improper makeup, or they may shout at others without reason, etc.
  • Disorganized movements: The individual may perform the same movements again and again, but sometimes, they may still be rigid in a particular posture, and they cannot move for hours or days.

Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Negative symptoms are where the individual may have a lack of facial expression and have monotonous and monosyllabic speech. They may seem to be less interested in other people. They find it difficult to experience pleasure or act spontaneously. A schizophrenic person tends to lack interest in activities. These symptoms are hard to recognize in teenagers because healthy adolescents also may have frequent mood swings.

  • Apathy: The individual may have an absence of enthusiasm for activities that were interesting to them, for example, their work or studies or entertaining activities such as sports. Likewise, they may quit caring for themselves properly, and decreased cleanliness and appearance are noticeable. They may feel hesitant to go out or even their room.
  • Emotionless or blunted: The individual may not react appropriately when they hear good news or bad news. For example, laughing at sad news or feeling unhappy when hearing good news.
  • Decreased speech: The individual may have low interest in talking with others and they are unable to respond properly to a particular question. A lack of communication skills can affect individual ability to take part in all activities or find employment.
  • Social withdrawal: The individual may keep away from social contact and have an interest in being alone. There is a difficulty with mingling the people around them.
  • Impaired attention: The individual may have trouble concentrating on discussion and lack of concentration on even simple tasks.
  • Anhedonia: Anhedonia means unable to experience pleasure. The individuals may often feel empty or hollow.
  • Laziness: The person may have difficulty in doing day-to-day activities and also feel tired frequently. This may cause them to spend most of the day watching television.

Negative symptoms greatly affect an individual’s quality of life and influence their ability to experience many facets of life, such as long-term relationships, financial stability, and work.

Cognitive Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Among the most widely known schizophrenia facts, there has been evidence that the disorder affects thinking and cognitive abilities. These symptoms are often very hard to detect:

  • Memory deficits: Individuals with schizophrenia may showcase instances of poor long and short-term memory. Their IQ levels also tend to be lower than normal.
  • Poor thought processing: The working memory of a person with schizophrenia can show signs of dysfunction, leading to an inability to arrange and encode information.
  • Low attention spans: Individuals are less likely to stick to any given task for a prolonged and consistent amount of time.
  • Verbal deficits: The speech patterns and fluency of the language is also affected, rendering a person with schizophrenia unable to structure a coherent sentence.

Paste typeform embed here. Don't forget to delete this before pasting!

Recognizing the Early Signs of Schizophrenia

Recognizing the early symptoms of a disorder like schizophrenia is crucial in ensuring that the person seeks treatment at an early stage. Research has shown that early intervention can significantly improve prognosis in the case of schizophrenia. Early signs of the disorder include:

  • Social Withdrawal: Decreased interest in social activities..
  • Drop in Academic or Work Performance: A noticeable decline in professional or academic performance.
  • Personal Hygiene and Appearance Changes: Neglecting personal care, such as bathing regularly or dressing properly.
  • Strange Thoughts or Beliefs: Beliefs and thoughts that are not based on reality.
  • Decreased Emotional Expression: Reduced facial expression, avoiding eye contact, and a flat voice.
  • Difficulty Concentrating: Struggling to focus on tasks or to follow conversations.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia in Teenagers

Schizophrenia is often diagnosed in teenagers. The disorder can be identified by a trained mental health professional. Identifying the early signs of the disorder in teenagers can significantly improve the chances of management and recovery. 

Changes in Cognitive Process

One of the most common symptoms of the disorder is changes in a person's cognitive processes. The teenager may develop odd or unusual thinking, might have paranoid thoughts, and have magical beliefs. These changes are usually small, to begin with but become increasingly evident as time progresses. 

Changes in Emotional Responses

Schizophrenia also causes changes in a person’s emotional responses. This could include decreased expression of emotions, a flat tone of voice, and more. These changes are subtle and might often be associated with the normal emotional turmoil of the teenage years, thereby delaying diagnosis.

Changes in  Behavioral Patterns

The disorder also causes significant changes in a person’s behavior. A once outgoing and conversational person might suddenly become withdrawn and prefer to spend time alone. They might avoid eye contact while speaking and not show interest in things that they once loved being a part of. Changes in behavioral patterns are often obvious and can be used as a marker when seeking help.

Undiagnosed Schizophrenia: What to Look For

Undiagnosed schizophrenia can be extremely dangerous for the person and their loved ones. Identifying the Undiagnosed Schizophrenia symptoms and seeking help is extremely crucial. Important signs to look for in a loved one if you believe they might be facing schizophrenia include changes in thought patterns, social withdrawal, emotional blunting, hallucinations, and delusions. If you believe someone you know is exhibiting these symptoms, then it becomes imperative to seek professional help as soon as possible. 

The Diagnostic Process for Schizophrenia

Early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can prevent complications. Family and friends play a major role in encouraging and supporting the individual to seek treatment and follow it.

There is no single health test or brain scan that can suffice for the diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Since the doctors are still unaware of the exact cause of schizophrenia, to determine how to treat schizophrenia, multiple psychometric tests and exams need to be done before confirming the diagnosis. These health exams comprise the following:

  • Initial Consultation and Medical History: During the initial appointment checkup, the doctor needs to know the entire medical history of the patient and their family, followed by their normal mental health, mood patterns, and substance abuse problems. They may also ask for school or work performance reports to get insights into the cognitive abilities of the patient.
  • Physical Exams and Tests: For the next step, the doctor may prescribe several blood tests, physical exams, and imaging tests like Computed Tomography (CT) scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).
  • Psychometric Assessments: Even psychometric assessments are essential to establish the diagnosis.
  • Observation of Symptoms: For the final step and confirmed diagnosis, the patient should have experienced symptoms of ‘positive’ schizophrenia in a one-month period. These symptoms are hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized speech.

People with schizophrenia lose interest in things. One of the common examples is a lack of self-interest in hygiene and grooming. These signs can be hard to find, especially in cases of teenagers, because of the reason that teens have big emotional mood swings between highs and lows. Also, depression has the same symptoms as that of schizophrenia. 

The Overlap of Depression and Schizophrenia Symptoms

One-fourth of people diagnosed with schizophrenia meet the criteria for depression. It’s very easy to misjudge a person’s disorder as the following symptoms are common in depression and schizophrenia –

  • Depressed mood nearly every day
  • Diminished interest in all activities
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Sleep disturbance (insomnia or hypersomnia)
  • Psychomotor agitation (restlessness)
  • Retardation (slowing down)
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
  • Decreased ability to think or concentrate or decision-making
  • Recurrent suicidal ideation
  • Research studies show that family support is vital to help schizophrenic patients manage the symptoms of schizophrenia in adults. 

If you or your loved one is fighting Schizophrenia, seeking early treatment is key to a better quality of life.

‍Schizophrenia Treatment

Schizophrenia treatment includes a combination of medications, therapies, social support, and lifestyle changes to help reduce Schizophrenia symptoms. Even if a schizophrenic person feels better within a few months of treatment, long-term treatment for schizophrenia is very crucial to avoid new episodes and to effectively manage.


Antipsychotics are medications that a psychiatrist prescribes for those exhibiting symptoms of psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions. Antipsychotics work on reducing the incidence and severity of such symptoms, allowing a person to remain connected to reality while pursuing recovery.

Other medications

A psychiatrist might also prescribe other medications such as antidepressants and more. These are generally to regulate a person’s mood and can help them combat the bouts of depression and anxiety associated with schizophrenia. 


Psychotherapy is a structured therapeutic approach under the guidance of a clinical psychologist. Research has shown that psychotherapeutic approaches like CBT and more are extremely effective in treating schizophrenia. These approaches can help a person develop coping mechanisms against the symptoms of the disorder. 

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is used to treat schizophrenia. However, this method is primarily only used when other treatments have failed or in emergencies. ECT can reduce symptoms, including severe hallucinations and delusions, and improve mood and cognition.

Towards a Better Life: Schizophrenia Care with Cadabams

At Cadabams, we understand the distress that schizophrenia causes to the person and their family. We have over three decades of experience in treating the disorder comprehensively. Our expert team combines experience and empathy to create a structured treatment plan for the person while also guiding the family members on how to cope with the diagnosis.

The difference with us is that we address the root cause of the disorder while also focusing on symptom reduction to ensure holistic recovery. 

If you are searching for a solution to your problem, Cadabam’s Rehabilitation Centre can help you with its team of specialized experts. We have been helping thousands of people live healthier and happier lives for 30+ years. We leverage evidence-based approaches and holistic treatment methods to help individuals effectively manage their Schizophrenia. Get in touch with us today. You can call us at +91 96111 94949

Book screening with our director of triage,  Kamlesh Verma
Take the first step


1. What are the common symptoms of schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects over 1% of the world’s population. The symptoms of the disorder include hallucinations, delusions, emotional flattening, changes in behavior, cognitive changes, and more. 

2. How early should treatment for schizophrenia begin?

Schizophrenia is a serious mental health disorder. Ideally, treatment should begin the moment a person or their loved ones observe any symptoms related to the disorder. Research has shown that early treatment of the symptoms of the disorder can significantly improve the prognosis.

3. What role does family support play in managing schizophrenia?

A person's family plays an important role in their recovery from schizophrenia. Having a supportive social environment with well-set routines and proper emotional regulation can make a world of difference to a person’s recovery journey. 

4. How does Cadabams support individuals with schizophrenia?

At Cadabams, we offer evidence-based recovery programs for those battling the disorder. Our multidisciplinary team and cutting-edge infrastructure create an unparalleled healing experience and accelerate recovery.

Share this article on social media

Articles you may like

Also watch