Schizophrenia is a serious chronic mental illness in which people experience a distorted view of reality.   It is one of the most misunderstood psychiatric conditions. The symptoms of schizophrenia are divided into three categories: positive, negative and cognitive.  Positive symptoms reflect and excess or distortion of normal functions and include: delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thoughts, speech and behavior.  Negative symptoms are associated with disruptions to normal emotions and behaviors.

These symptoms usually appear months or years before positive symptoms, are harder to recognize, and may be mistaken for depression or other conditions.  The negative symptoms are: lack of motivation, loss of interest in daily activities, flat or restricted affect, inability to plan or perform everyday tasks, social isolation and neglect of personal hygiene.  Cognitive symptoms involve problems with the thought process.  These symptoms can be the most disabling, because it affects the person's ability to work and lead a relatively normal life.   These symptoms are: poor executive functioning, trouble with focus or paying attention, problems with working memory.

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