Characteristic Symptoms of Schizophrenia
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Characteristic Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is characterized by hallucinations and delusions. In addition long lasting schizophrenia is characterized by negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia is a serious psychiatric disorder. It is characterized by the presence of delusions and hallucinations. Delusion is a false unshakable belief based on illogical grounds. Hallucination is a false perception without a stimulus.

What are the cardinal features of schizophrenia?

Following features are essential in diagnosing schizophrenia.

1. Third person auditory hallucinations: - This is characterized by hallucinatory voices referring the person in third person. For an example a person may hear “he is a very bad man".

2. Thought echo: - Here the person hears his/her thoughts spoken aloud. It is usually a very disturbing experience for the person.

3. Running commentary: - This is another disturbing hallucination, where the person hears his/her every action spoken aloud. These patients sometimes stops changing their cloths or stops bathing, simply because of their sense of lost privacy. For an example, these patients may hear voices saying “now she removes her underwear".

4. Delusion of control: - Here the person believes that he/she is being controlled by an outside agency. In addition they may feel that their actions, thoughts and feelings are not their own.

5. Delusional perception: - Here the patient attaches an abnormal and personal significance to a normal perception. For an example a patient may suddenly believe illogically that his brother may be in a tremendous danger, because the traffic lights turn to red. In this example turning traffic lights to red is a normal perception. However, believing that his brother is in danger has tremendous personal significance and it is not related to traffic the lights being turned into red.

6. Thought insertion and withdrawal: - Here the patient starts believing that his/her thoughts are manipulated by an outside agency.

7. Thought broadcasting: - This symptom is characterized by the belief that the patient’s thoughts are known to others.

8. Tactile, smell and gustatory (taste) hallucinations: - They are quite common in schizophrenia.

In addition schizophrenic patients have problems in the formation of thoughts. So their speech is sometimes not comprehensible.

Some patients who had the illness for longer duration may develop negative symptoms of schizophrenia. These are characterized by lack of initiation, lack of speech, social withdrawal, apathy (an absence of emotion or enthusiasm) and lack of interest. Usually negative symptoms are difficult to treat.


Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that is characterized by presence of delusions and hallucinations. In addition some patients can have negative symptoms such as lack of initiation, lack of speech, social withdrawal, apathy (an absence of emotion or enthusiasm) and lack of interest.


ICD -10 – Classification of Mental and Behavioral Disorders

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Comments (5)

Very nice to see a real authenticated article from a doctor himself!


I second Indranil's comment. Expert advice. Ideally, should come only from (trained) professionals. Excellent presentation. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your work. Voted and appreciated.

Nicely done. Very thorough and well written.

good to know