tutor2u | Schizophrenia: Positive Symptoms of Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia: Positive Symptoms of Schizophrenia

A Level

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

Schizophrenia can cause ‘positive symptoms’, which are symptoms that are not usually present in a normal person. Positive symptoms reflect an excess or distortion of normal functioning. People with schizophrenia often suffer terrifying symptoms such as hearing internal voices not heard by others, or believing that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them. These symptoms may leave them fearful and withdrawn. Their speech and behaviour can be so disorganized that they may be incomprehensible or frightening of others.

Delusions are false beliefs that are firmly held despite being completely illogical, or for which there is no evidence. Common types of delusions in schizophrenia include the following:

  • Delusions of persecution: The belief that others want to harm, threaten or manipulate you. Schizophrenics may believe that they are being spied on, that nasty rumours are being spread about them or that people are plotting to kill them.
  • Delusions of grandeur: This is the idea that you are an important individual, even god-like and have extraordinary powers. One of the most frequent of this type of delusion is the belief that they are Jesus Christ.
  • Delusions of control: Individuals may believe that they are under the control of an alien force that has invaded their mind and/or body. This may be interpreted, for example, as the presence of spirits or implanted radio transmitters.

Hallucinations involve disturbances in perception (rather than disturbances in thought). They are false perceptions that have no basis in reality. The most common hallucinations are auditory ones (hearing voices) but can include smell, touch and sight. There may appear to be a single person talking or many, and they may be familiar or unfamiliar. Many schizophrenics report hearing voices that instruct them to do something, or that tell them they are wicked and evil. Sometimes they instruct the patient to do something that could be harmful to themselves and others.

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