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Negative symptoms

Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are clinical manifestations that reflect a weakening of psychic life in the different mental, emotional and behavioral spheres. These manifestations make up the negative side of schizophrenia in contrast to its so-called positive dimension (hallucinations, delusion).  These signs are considered "primary" when they directly express the pathological process of schizophrenia. In some cases these negative signs are termed "secondary, i.e., they are considered to be its consequences:

  • either of other dimensions of schizophrenia (e.g., social withdrawal may follow an intense hallucinatory episode)
  • or side effects stemming from certain treatments (excessive doses especially of the classic neuroleptics) or a hospitalization that lasts too long.

Negative symptoms often develop over the long term. The functional consequences of this clinical dimension can be devastating. The capacities for action and investment are reduced and social interactions are greatly diminished. Patients afflicted by schizophrenia with a dominant negative symptomatology face significant challenges in the areas of learning and professional activity that amplify the disability and social exclusion.