Jefferson Journal of Psychiatry


The illness of schizophrenia, as it is understood today, appears to consist of a heterogeneous group of disorders which share several common features, such as partial response to medications, poor long-term prognosis, and the presence of psychotic symptoms. These psychotic symptoms have been arbitrarily divided into two subgroups, positive and negative, in an attempt to better understand this disease process (1,2). The positive symptoms, such as delusions and hallucinations, generally have an acute onset with frequent exacerbations and remissions and a favorable long-term prognosis and response to medications. The negative symptoms, which include affective blunting , social withdrawal, apathy, and anhedonia, tend to be chronic and typically fail to respond satisfactorily to standard neuroleptics (3). This fact has been illustrated in some schizophrenic patients by the retention of negative symptoms even after treatment and subsequent reduction of their positive symptoms. Researchers have concluded that the negative symptoms are more refractory than their positive counterparts based upon this frequently observed phenomenon (4).

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