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Mental Health Concerns
189
with schizophrenia are not dangerous or violent toward
others while they are receiving treatment. In fact, people
with serious mental illness are much more likely to be the
victims rather than the perpetrators of violent behavior.
What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
No one symptom positively identifies schizophrenia.
Symptoms of this illness also can be found in other mental
illnesses. For example, psychotic symptoms may be caused
by the use of illicit drugs, may be present in individuals with
Alzheimer’s disease or may be characteristics of a manic
episode in bipolar disorder. However, with careful
assessment and understanding of the illness over time, a
correct diagnosis can be made.
The symptoms of schizophrenia are generally divided into
three categories—Positive, Negative, and Cognitive:
Positive symptoms
(the presence of abnormal
characteristics) include delusions and hallucinations. The
person has lost touch with reality in certain important ways.
Delusions cause individuals to believe that people are
reading their thoughts or plotting against them, others are
secretly monitoring and threatening them or that they can
control other people’s minds. Hallucinations are sensory
anomalies that cause people to hear or see things that are
not present.
Negative symptoms
(the absence of normal characteristics)
include emotional flatness or lack of expression, an inability