Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective Disorder

What Are the Symptoms of Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia symptoms can vary from person to person and usually start between early adulthood and the mid-30s. Some may experience many severe symptoms, while others experience just a few or less-severe symptoms.

Symptoms are one of the factors healthcare professionals use to diagnose a serious mental health condition. It is important to speak with a healthcare professional who can review your symptoms and history for an accurate diagnosis.

Generally, a doctor will diagnose a person with schizophrenia if he or she has experienced symptoms for at least 6 months.


These Symptoms Are Separated Into 3 Categories:

Positive Symptoms

Added behaviors that make a person appear to "lose touch" with reality.

  • Hallucinations—Hearing, seeing, smelling, feeling things that no one else experiences
  • Delusions—Having beliefs that are not true or logical
  • Disorganized speech and behavior—Having difficulty thinking or speaking

Negative Symptoms

Behaviors that are different from a person's usual way of being in the world.

  • Flat affect—Showing little emotion or facial expression
  • Avolition—Experiencing less pleasure in everyday activities
  • Alogia—Speaking very little

Cognitive Symptoms

Symptoms that affect a person's ability to complete daily activities, such as working.

  • Trouble focusing
  • Problems with memory
  • Limited understanding and decision-making ability

There are treatment options to help manage your schizophrenia symptoms. Work with your doctor and treatment team to learn more about all of the symptoms you might experience and create a treatment plan that is right for you.