First, as most people envision a schizophrenic person, a person with schizophrenia will experience either delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech. They may in fact experience more than one or all of these criteria.
Delusions are the false belief in something that is contraindicated. For example, a delusion of grandeur could be that a person believes they are the President of the United States, despite the fact that they see the President on news broadcasts and despite the fact that no one refers to them as the president. A delusion of persecution could consist of believing that a law enforcement agency is after the person in spite of there being no evidence or reason for a law enforcement agency to be tracking the individual. A person could experience a delusion of reference such as when they believe that a person on TV is talking directly to them. A final delusion that could be experience would be one of control. A delusion of control would consist of the persons belief that an outside force (such as aliens) is controlling or stealing their thoughts.
Hallucinations are perceptions that appear and feel real to the person, but in fact don’t exist at all. Most hallucinations in schizophrenia are auditory, though visual hallucinations occur frequently as well. An example of a hallucination would be seeing a demon or hearing God speak to them.
Disorganized speech consists of losing a train of thought or responding with irrelevant information to the conversation. Pe...
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Catalepsy – rigidity with a loss of sensation.
Waxy flexibility – decreased response to stimuli and immobile posture. Also, likely to
stay in position that someone else puts them in.
Mutism – unwillingness or unable to speak.
Negativism – opposition or no response to stimuli.
Posturing – posture against gravity that is maintained.
Mannerism – odd version of normal actions.
Stereotypy – repetition of an act for no purpose.
Agitation – has no legitimate stimuli.
Grimacing – a facial expression of disgust or pain.
Echolalia – repeating another person’s speech.
Echopraxia – repeating another person’s movements.
If treatment for schizophrenia has started before the onset of catatonic symptoms medication side effects would need to be ruled out.
Finally, the severity of schizophrenia can be specified through assessing the severity of the active symptoms.
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