Module 4 - Schizophrenia and Other Psychoses

Features of Psychosis - Negative Symptoms

Negative symptoms are a progressive loss of emotions, feelings and thought and markedly reduced energy and drive. Although less obvious than positive symptoms they are often the most problematic of symptoms as they lead to lack of activity, poor self-care and social withdrawal and people with these symptoms no longer participate in life. A person with marked negative symptoms may experience the following: Loss of drive to do things, low energy levels, poor motivation and reduced spontaneity. It becomes more and more difficult to engage in, sustain and complete activities. The person may want  to participate in activities but cannot follow plans through. Reduced experience and expression of emotions (also called affective flattening) means that the person has reduced facial expression, little variation in tone of voice and reduced gesturing and body language. Eye contact may also be reduced and it may seem that the person no longer has any feelings, is disinterested and no longer cares.  People with this problem often describe a lack of enjoyment and that positive emotions such as happiness are experienced less intensely. Negative symptoms can also involve overall body movement and the person may be unnaturally still and immobile. Slowness and reduced amount of thinking lead to slow speech, difficulty contributing to conversations and a limited range of topics being discussed. Emotional withdrawal so that someone spends more and more time alone and has difficulties in maintaining relationships.  
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