Schizophrenia is the kind of brain condition that comes with a veritable smorgasbord of positive and negative symptoms that differ from patient to patient. But what is consistent is the way symptoms are categorized—as positive or negative. “Positive symptoms are mental phenomena that normal people don’t have,” says Russell Margolis, M.D., clinical director Johns Hopkins Schizophrenia Center and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Positive symptoms are basically thought of as the hallmark symptoms of schizophrenia. Researchers have found they can be effectively treated with antipsychotic drugs. Here’s the 411 on what they are and how they manifest.

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Hallucinations are false perceptions of reality that can affect every sense: sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing. Most people with schizophrenia, however, experience auditory hallucinations and hearing voices in their head is the most common. These voices can be critical or even abusive. Or, there may be a running commentary of several voices that plays out like continuous chatter on repeat.

Updated: Oct 5, 2020
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