Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia

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Updated: Aug 21, 2023
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Mental health illnesses affect many people worldwide, among them is schizophrenia which is a chronic mental health disorder that affects 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.

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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 the negative symptoms of schizophrenia and treatments that are presently used for patients who demonstrate these symptoms. The attributes of negative symptoms are clarified by a diminished emotional responsiveness, socialization, motivation, movement, and speech (Velligan & Alphs, 2014). These are all associated with the pathophysiology of schizophrenia or are secondary to different symptoms of medications, other ailments, or the environment. For instance, symptoms like akinesia and blunted affect are produced by antipsychotic medications. A depressed patient may experience symptoms of social withdrawal, anhedonia, and a decrease in motivation (Velligan & Alphs, 2014).

According to 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 associated 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 suitable for routine use in a public outpatient setting. In order to identify negative symptoms in this setting, a two 4-item version of a negative symptom rating scale is utilized to rapidly distinguish and record symptoms (Velligan & Alphs, 2014).

Other treatment possibilities are generally based on elements that cause the symptoms. For instance, if the patient’s negative symptoms are due to taking an antipsychotic drug or extrapyramidal syndrome, the symptoms can be diminished by decreasing the dosage of the particular medication being taken, or by prescribing a different antipsychotic drug to the patient that causes less EPS. Additionally, if the patient’s symptoms are resulting from depression, the treatment of depression needs to be considered.

The article states that if antipsychotic medications, adjunctive treatments, and psychosocial interventions are used in conjunction, they 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).

The author believes this article can be useful as an educational tool, providing caregivers, medical personnel, and nurses with essential information regarding negative symptoms, assessment, and treatment options for schizophrenia. Additionally, the article could serve as a valuable study resource 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 the 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 the positive symptoms of schizophrenia. For individuals learning about this illness for the first time, they may feel something is absent from this article. The author believes that if the article provided a brief description of both the negative and positive symptoms of schizophrenia, and a 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, but 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