While the most infamous (and conspicuous) symptoms of schizophrenia are hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking, known as “positive” symptoms, or things a person wouldn’t normally experience, the brain disorder is also characterized by “negative” symptoms. “Negative symptoms are things that are missing—a sense of motivation, mental energy, willingness to do things, lack of interest, and a sense of apathy,” says Russell Margolis, M.D., clinical director Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

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In non-technical terms, this is basically not wanting to do anything. Technically, it’s a decrease in self-motivated, self-initiated, or goal-directed behavior or activities. Avolition can include emotional and social withdrawal, apathy, poor grooming or hygiene, or the inability to complete goal-oriented tasks like making appointments, paying bills, or running errands.

Updated: Nov 12, 2020
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