(a) Disorganization in an area of previous functioning. The person has
been able to work, carry on social relations, and take care of himself in general. He
becomes unable to get organized to do any of these.
(b) Language and communication disturbance. This symptom is
sometimes called the "formal thought disorder." The individual does not lack education
or ability but seems to put words together in an illogical order. For example, "I'm
growing my father's hair." He meant something different obviously.
(c) Sense of self. The individual is usually confused about his identity,
even whether he is male or female. He may believe that he is being controlled by
"cosmic" or "oceanic" powers.
(d) Perception. The individual seems unable to sort out all the
information which comes to him through the senses. Typical reactions are that he feels
too alert, everything seems to be pouring in at once, his nerves are supersensitive,
objects seem brighter, noises are louder.
(3) Specific symptoms of schizophrenia. These symptoms may vary from
individual to individual.
(a) Disturbances of thought, speech, activity. Words may be in the
wrong order, and thoughts may be composed of sentence fragments. This reflects the
confusion in the person's thought processes.
(b) Inappropriate emotional responses. The person can appear
emotionally cold; happy news does not bring forth joy in the schizophrenic person.
Sometimes the schizophrenic makes inappropriate responses. For example, the person
is told of the death of a loved one and laughs.
(c) Withdrawal. The individual physically and/or psychologically may
pull back from interaction with other people and/or from his environment. Withdrawal is
a coping mechanism and is an individual's way of coping with the stress he sees in his
(d) Regression. Those who cope by regressing revert to an earlier
type of behavior in order to deal with the situation at hand. The earlier behavior is
characteristic of an earlier level of development. For example, an adult might resort to
behavior typical of his teenage years.