Schizophrenia in Adults

ICD-10 code: F20.9

Schizophrenia is part of a cluster of diagnoses called the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.  Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders are a group of psychiatric conditions that include:

  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Delusional Disorder
  • Substance/Medication-Induced Psychotic Disorder
  • Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition
  • Catatonia
  • Schizotypal (personality) disorders
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder
  • Schizophreniform Disorder

These disorders are characterized by symptoms that can be divided into two groups: positive and negative.

Positive symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking (speech), and grossly disorganized or abnormal motor behavior (including catatonia). Delusions are fixed beliefs that are not amenable to change in light of conflicting evidence. Hallucinations are perception-like experiences that occur without external stimulus. Disorganized thinking/speech is characterized by a derailment or loose associations in an individual’s speech pattern. Grossly disorganized or abnormal motor behavior is a difficulty in sustaining goal-oriented behavior. This may manifest itself in a variety of ways, ranging from childlike “silliness” to unpredictable agitation.

Negative symptoms include diminished emotional expression, avolition, alogia and anhedonia. Negative symptoms are those that involve a loss of normal function or experience. Diminished emotional expression is the reductions in the expression of emotions in the face, eye contact, intonation of speech, and movement of hand, head, and face that normally give an emotional emphasis to speech. Avolition is a decrease in motivated self-initiated purposeful movement. Alogia is manifested by diminished speech output. Anhedoia is the decreased ability to experience pleasure from positive stimuli.

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a serious and typically chronic mental illness characterized by psychotic “positive” symptoms (hallucinations and delusions), negative symptoms (lacking emotional display, enjoyment of previously enjoyed activities, and/or motivations, impairments in role functioning, and cognitive deficits.

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Understanding Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia involves chronic or recurrent psychosis, and is commonly associated with substantial impairments in social and occupational functioning. In addition, schizophrenia is associated with deficits in cognitive impairment such as deficits in attention or vigilance, memory, and executive functioning.

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How is schizophrenia treated?

Pharmacological treatment is considered the cornerstone of schizophrenia treatment and typically targets psychotic symptoms. For best results, behavioral and psychosocial treatments should be used in combination with medications to improve functioning and help manage the chronic condition.  


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