Schizophrenia usually begins when people are teenagers or young adults, but it can begin later on.   Symptoms must be present for at least 6 months in order for schizophrenia to be diagnosed.  The symptoms of schizophrenia are generally categorized with positive or negative symptoms.
  • Positive symptoms - (the outward or more visible symptoms) include delusions, hostility, hallucinations, feelings of persecution, disorganized thinking, incoherence or excitement.
  • Negative symptoms - (the inward or less visible symptoms) include emotional withdrawal or isolation, apathy or social withdrawal, lack of emotion or inappropriate emotion, or inability to follow the flow of conversation.

These symptoms can make it difficult for people to get along with others, hold jobs, go to school, or even take care of themselves.  Getting appropriate treatment depends on the accurate diagnosis of a qualified professional, since these symptoms may be associated with other illnesses or with using alcohol or drugs like LSD. 

Other schizophrenic disorders include:  schizophreniform disorder, which is the same as schizophrenia except that symptoms are present for less than 6 months; and schizo-affective disorder, an uninterrupted period of illness during which, at some time, symptoms of mania and/or depression (see mood disorders) are present along with positive and/or negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

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