What are positive and negative symptoms?

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Author: Canadian Mental Health Association, BC Division

 

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Positive and negative symptoms are medical terms for two groups of symptoms in schizophrenia.

Positive symptoms add. Positive symptoms include hallucinations (sensations that aren’t real), delusions (beliefs that can’t be real), and repetitive movements that are hard to control.

Negative symptoms take away. Negative symptoms include the inability to show emotions, apathy, difficulties talking, and withdrawing from social situations and relationships.

There is also a third group of symptoms, usually called cognitive symptoms. This includes anything related to thinking, such as disorganized thoughts, memory problems, and difficulties with focus and attention.

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The Canadian Mental Health Association promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing a mental illness through public education, community-based research, advocacy, and direct services. Visit www.cmha.bc.ca.

 
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