Fast Five Quiz: Schizophrenia Presentation and Diagnosis

Stephen Soreff, MD


April 13, 2021

Deficits in executive function, working memory, and attention are cognitive symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Patients with schizophrenia who experience neurocognitive deficits often find it difficult to understand nuances and subtleties of interpersonal cues and relationships. These patients also have difficulty concentrating and being attentive, and they are challenged in organizing their thoughts and days. They also are unable to employ abstract reasoning and typically think concretely. For example, upon hearing the expression "people in glass houses should not throw stones," the patient with schizophrenia is likely to respond by saying something such as "it could break the windows." As another example, if a person says to a patient with schizophrenia, "I'll be home when the cows come home," he or she is likely to believe that person will literally come home with cows.

In addition to impairments in executive function, patients with schizophrenia are often unable to make decisions on their own. Furthermore, they may appear unmotivated and demonstrate inertia in their activities.

A loss of interests and motivation and a decrease in emotional range are negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia.

Psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, which are usually auditory, and delusions are positive symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. Disorganized speech and behavior are other positive symptoms in patients with schizophrenia.

Learn more about the symptoms of schizophrenia.


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