PSY3 – Schizophrenia: Lesson 02

Schizophrenia Diagnosis

Now we know what positive and negative symptoms are we need to dig a bit deeper into the 4 main symptoms which constitute a diagnosis and would affect the classification of Sz.

Teachers or students who want the original PPT please tweet @psychopepper

Learning Objectives

  • To KNOW & UNDERSTAND what the clinical characteristics of Schizophrenia are.
  • To APPLY these characteristics to real life scenarios
  • To KNOW & UNDERSTAND what the issues of reliability and validity in diagnosing Schizophrenia are.
  • To ANALYSE these to consider the impact that they have on patients
  • To EVALUATE the evidence that these are an issue for the classification and diagnoses of Schizophrenia.

Lesson Outline:


  • Watch the four patients clip.
  • To take notes in booklet, on the four symptoms of Schizophrenia – Delusions, Hallucinations, Speech Poverty and Avolition.

Content Recap:

Delusions: These are fixed beliefs that are not amenable to change in light of conflicting evidence.  They are classified as bizarre, meaning that they are not understandable to peers in the culture you are from. These can be on a variety of themes for example:

  • Persecutory – belief that someone is out to ‘get’ you.
  • Referential – belief that certain gestures are directed at you
  • Grandiose – belief that you are important or exceptional or have special powers

Hallucinations: These are perception like experiences that occur without external stimuli. they are vivid and clear and appear to be as real to the sufferer as normal perceptions.  They can occur in any sensory modality, meaning taste, touch, vision, smell but the most common is auditory.  These most often take the form of either familiar or unfamiliar voices.

Speech Poverty: In the DSM this is a positive symptom of disorganised thought/speech but in the ICD (and your specification) it is a negative symptom leading to the reduction in quality and amount of speech.  It is characterised by switching from one topic to another, making loose associations, tangential responses and word salad.  If it gets severe enough it can resemble Wernicke or receptive aphasia.

Avolition: Is the decrease in motivated self-initiated purposeful activities.  this can present as the sufferer sitting for long periods without action, showing little interest in participating in work, hygiene, grooming or social activities.  This is sometimes also known as apathy.

If you would like to access PsychoPepper’s Glossary of Terms please click here

Resources Used

Study Notes – Classification & Diagnosis (TBC):

If you would like to download a set of study notes for this lesson, you can do so here. If you would like access to the original word file please tweet @psychopepper


I would suggest that you have a copy of one of the textbooks which will allow you to read around the subject matter, pre-read ahead of lessons or even take extra notes/practise questions afterwards. I would recommend the following (you do not need to replicate books, one of each type is plenty!)

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.