Video transcript

Dr Matthew Cullen, Psychiatrist, St Vincent’s Hospital, Sydney

Schizophrenia has several core symptoms. The first is when people have schizophrenia, they have symptoms of psychosis.

What is psychosis? Psychosis is 2 types of symptoms, the first being hallucinations, which is usually the experience of hearing or seeing things that aren’t there.

The second core symptom of schizophrenia is delusions, which is abnormal beliefs about something that is actually not occurring. An example of an abnormal belief would be paranoid feelings, a feeling that people are watching you or following you or trying to harm you when of course there is no evidence to support that whatsoever.

They are the typical core symptoms which are often called positive symptoms.

The other element in schizophrenia is disorganisation of thought. Sometimes called thought disorder. The person is unable to construct their sentences in a logical manner. The person is unable to describe in a long-term or short-term manner exactly what is going on without losing track. That is the other element within schizophrenia. And the final symptomatic element is disturbance of concentration, disturbance in their ability to focus, a withdrawal.  These are often called negative symptoms.

So these symptoms can come on very acutely or abruptly or they can develop over a longer period of time. And for a family member recognising these symptoms one often sees a change in personality which indicates underneath it all that some of these more significant symptoms are actually occurring.

Last Reviewed: 03/06/2020

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