Dr. Lieberman shares the symptoms associated with schizophrenia.
Over-activity in the brain that leads to delusions, which are false beliefs; “I think the CIA has embedded a computer chip in my brain and nobody can talk me out of it because I know what’s true;” hallucinations, which are false perceptions. “I’m hearing voices. People are talking to me,” but there’s nobody in the room, or there’s nobody in the room who is saying anything. And, this is the main forms of so-called positive symptoms.
You can also see disorganization of thinking, which means that people, by the way they speak, are having kind of disconnected and disorganized and sometimes incoherent thoughts.
The second category of symptoms are what are called negative symptoms and these are believed to reflect a deficiency, or an under-activity of areas of the brain, that control emotional regulation, and these symptoms include lacking interest in things, lacking the ability to experience pleasure, the kind of what’s called flatness of affect, meaning, “I talk but I am talking in this monotone, and I don’t seem to get excited,” even if there is a tremendous parade, or, you know, U2 is playing a rock concert, or we’re going to go to a movie or a birthday party. There is no emotion shown.
And then the third category of symptoms are what are called cognitive symptoms, and this is impairment of the normal cognitive functions that we all use every day to perform our daily jobs and responsibilities; so the ability to remember things, to focus, to pay attention, to concentrate, to remember something, to make mental evaluations about problems. In other words, “I have got to meet so and so for lunch, but I have got to finish my job first,” or “I have got to get up at such and such of time to be at the doctor’s office,” so I don’t plan things well. I don’t sort of figure out a way to solve a situation. These are the main forms of symptoms that characterize schizophrenia.
About Dr. Lieberman, M.D.:
Jeffrey A. Lieberman, M.D. currently is the Lawrence E. Kolb Chairman of Psychiatry at the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and Director of the New York State Psychiatric Institute. He also holds the Lieber Chair and Directs the Lieber Center for Schizophrenia Research in the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia.