The symptoms of schizophrenia are classified as either positive or negative. Positive symptoms, like hallucinations and delusions, are outward expressions that usually involve distorted perceptions of reality.

Negative symptoms, like lack of emotion, loss of energy, poor speech (alogia), and a loss of will to pursue interests (avolition) refer to a reduction of normal function. Generally, negative symptoms distort internal emotional states. A schizophrenic person typically has both positive and negative symptoms.

Positive and negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia include the following:

  • Agitation (i.e., psychomotor agitation that can cause rocking or pacing)
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Hyperactivity and distractibility
  • Impaired coordination
  • Insomnia and sleep deprivation
  • Loss of appetite or delusional motivation to resist eating
  • Loss of pleasure
  • Poor judgment and lack of insight
  • Sleeping too much
  • Slowed reaction, including poor eye movement and tracking
  • Unexpected or inappropriate smiling, laughter, or excitement

All symptoms are nonspecific—some are found in neurological disorders, too. But nearly all people who suffer from schizophrenia experience most of them.

Publication Review By: the Editorial Staff at

Published: 01 Feb 2001

Last Modified: 08 May 2014