Clinical Characteristics of Schizophrenia

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Clinical Characteristics

Schizophrenia is a thought process disorder that involves a disruption to a person’s thought, emotion and behaviour and them losing touch with reality. It has been categorised under two types.

Firstly, acute schizophrenia – characterised by positive symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions and jumbled speech. For example, patients may suffer auditory hallucinations (hearing voices), often from God or the Devil.

Secondly, chronic schizophrenia – characterised by negative symptoms such as apathy and withdrawal, a lack of emotion. Patients here therefore show more catatonic behaviour. For example, they may stand still staring at a wall for hours on end or be mute for several weeks.

On the other hand, there are some patients who exhibit both positive and negative symptoms; these are disorganised schizophrenics, who while showing disorganised behaviour will also show slurred speech for example. The DSM-IV has included this as a sub-type of schizophrenia, as well as defining paranoia and catatonic schizophrenia as sub types.

The prevalence of schizophrenia is 1% of the world population and males and females have an equal chance of developing it. Onset for males is typically late teens to early twenties. Onset for females is far later on, typically late twenties. Schizophrenia can emerge later however. 

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