When a person hears or sees things that are not present, they are known as hallucinations. Hallucinations can be visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, proprioceptive and receptive. Delusions are pathological fixed false beliefs. When the person believes that other people (who actually exist) are reading his thoughts and plotting against him, the person is said to suffer from delusions. Heightened perception is said to be present when the person feels that his senses are flooded with all the sights and sounds that surround him. Disorganized thinking and speech are said to be present when the person can not think logically and speaks peculiarly. Loose associations, perseveration, and neologisms are all manifestations of disorganized thinking and speech (Comer, 2007).
Negative symptoms are actually pathological deficits of emotion, thought and behavior. They include poverty of speech or alogia, emotional flatness or lack of expression, loss of volition, anhedonia and social withdrawal. A person is said to have alogia when his speech is brief and devoid of content. In other words, the person talks little and means little or he talks more and still means little. Symptom manifestations of blunt effect include showing less anger, sadness, joy and other feelings than most people. When the person shows no emotions at all, it is known as flat affect. Anhedonia means a general lack of pleasure or enjoyment. Avolition means marked apathy or inability to start or complete a course of action.
Positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia may be understood by discussing James, a 20-year-old college boy. His father brought him to the psychiatrist after a recommendation from his college. John was well until 2 years ago when he started taking less interest in school and behave differently at home. His father told that John was a good boy by nature but had changed suddenly for the past 2 years. There were some things which he felt John had become insensitive to.