Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia

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Mental health illnesses affect many people worldwide among them is schizophrenia which is a chronic mental health disorder affecting a person’s brain. Patients with schizophrenia can experience various symptoms as well as functional impairments. Symptoms include delusions, trouble concentrating and hallucinations (Parekha,2017). Schizophrenia also interferes with activities of daily living, social interactions and occupational performance.

Most patients will require financial assistance to help support themselves because only a very low percentage of people are able to work full or part time jobs. In fact, only 10-20% of patients with schizophrenia can work at all. It is imperative to improve the functional outcomes for these patients and make it a mental health priority (Velligan & Alphs, 2014).

Article Summary

This article concentrates on current methods for evaluating negative symptoms of schizophrenia and treatments that are presently used for the patients who demonstrate these negative symptoms. Attributes of negative symptoms are clarified by a diminished emotional responsiveness, socialization, motivation, movement and speech (Velligan & Alphs, 2014). These are all identified with the pathophysiology of schizophrenia or subsidiary of different symptoms of medications, other ailments or the environment. For instance, symptoms like akinesia and blunted affect are created by antipsychotic medications. A depressed patient may encounter symptoms of social withdrawal, anhedonia and a decrease in motivation (Velligan & Alphs, 2014).

As indicated by the article negative symptoms can be evaluated by the Negative Symptom Assessment. This assessment tool aids in finding the presence, severity and the range of negative symptoms frequently connected with schizophrenia (NSA, 2017). The Negative Symptom Assessment is derived from a table of 16 domains displaying the areas of negative symptoms which describe the behaviors that might be observed in each domain.

Additionally, important questions are asked with regard to the patient’s day to day activities and engagement with others. However, this assessment is not useful for routine use in a public outpatient setting. In order to be able to identify negative symptoms in this setting a two 4-item version of negative symptom rating scale is utilized to rapidly distinguish and record symptoms (Velligan & Alphs, 2014).

There are other possibilities for treatment which are generally founded on elements that cause the symptoms. An example would be if the patient’s negative symptoms are due to taking an antipsychotic drug or extrapyramidal syndrome. In these cases, the symptoms can be diminished by decreasing the dosage of the particular medication currently being taken or by prescribing a different antipsychotic drug to the patient that will produce less EPS. Additionally, if the patient’s symptoms are resulting from depression then treatment of depression will need to be considered.

The article goes on to say that if antipsychotic medications, adjunctive treatments and psychosocial interventions are used in conjunction these can improve negative symptom outcomes better than pharmacotherapy alone. In fact, studies have shown that 80% of patients with schizophrenia who used combined therapy displayed improvement in functional abilities such as daily activities, more engagement in the outside world and overall took better care of themselves (Velligan & Alphs, 2014).

This author believes this article can be useful as an educational tool providing caregivers, medical personal, and nurses essential information regarding negative symptoms, assessment and treatment options for schizophrenia. Additionally, the article can even be used as a good study source for students providing information about negative symptoms of schizophrenia that a textbook may not provide.

Article Critique

This article provides relevant information with regards to negative symptoms of schizophrenia. It explains the assessment process and treatment options in a brief manner while providing the reader with up to date information allowing them to enhance their knowledge of the illness. Despite the fact that this article essentially centers around the negative symptoms of schizophrenia it does not provide any information in regards to positive symptoms of schizophrenia. For individuals learning about this illness for the first time they may feel something is absent from this article. This author believes if the article provided a brief description of both negative and positive symptoms of schizophrenia and comparison of the two it would make for a clearer understanding of the illness.


As with all mental illnesses, schizophrenia not only affects the life of the patient it also impacts the lives of the people who care for them. Educating families about schizophrenia and its negative symptoms displayed by the patient such as poor motivation and flat affect can help decrease the likelihood of family members being critical of these behaviors (Velligan & Alphs, 2014). Unfortunately negative symptoms are difficult to treat and often tend to continue longer than positive symptoms.

Recognizing symptoms is critical in order to properly treat and manage the illness. As stated in the article the best treatment outcome results when antipsychotic medications and psychosocial interventions like social skills training and environmental support are instilled (Velligan & Alphs, 2014).

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Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia. (2019, Aug 11). Retrieved from

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