Late adolescence and early adulthood are peak years for the onset of schizophrenia. These are critical periods in a young adult's social and vocational development, and they can be severely disrupted by disease onset. To minimize the effect of schizophrenia, much work has recently been done to identify and treat the prodromal (pre-onset) phase of the illness, which has been detected up to 30 months before the onset of symptoms, but may be present longer. Those who go on to develop schizophrenia may experience the non-specific symptoms of social withdrawal, irritability and dysphoria in the prodromal period, and transient or self-limiting psychotic symptoms in the prodromal phase before psychosis becomes apparent.
Schneiderian classification -The psychiatrist Kurt Schneider (1887–1967) listed the forms of psychotic symptoms that he thought distinguished schizophrenia from other psychotic disorders. These are called first-rank symptoms or Schneider's first-rank symptoms, and they include delusions of being controlled by an external force; the belief that thoughts are being inserted into or withdrawn from one's conscious mind; the belief that one's thoughts are being broadcast to other people; and hearing hallucinatory voices that comment on one's thoughts or actions or that have a conversation with other hallucinated voices. The reliability of first-rank symptoms has been questioned, although they have contributed to the current diagnostic criteria.
Positive and negative symptoms -Schizophrenia is often described in terms of positive (or productive) and negative (or deficit) symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, auditory hallucinations, and thought disorder, and are typically regarded as manifestations of psychosis. Negative symptoms are so-named because they are considered to be the loss or absence of normal traits or abilities, and include features such as flat or blunted affect and emotion, poverty of speech (alogia), anhedonia, and lack of motivation (avolition). Despite the appearance of blunted affect, recent studies indicate that there is often a normal or even heightened level of emotionality in Schizophrenia especially in response to stressful or negative events. A third symptom grouping, the disorganization syndrome, is commonly described, and includes chaotic speech, thought, and behaviour. There is evidence for a number of other symptom classifications.
An initial assessment includes a comprehensive history and physical examination by a physician. Although there are no biological tests which confirm schizophrenia, tests are carried out to exclude medical illnesses which may rarely present with psychotic schizophrenia-like symptoms. These include blood tests measuring TSH to exclude ….