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Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe psychiatric disorder. Students with untreated schizophrenia may hear voices, believe that they are being controlled by others or are being plotted against. These fears make them withdrawn or agitated. Treatment relieves many symptoms of the disease but some symptoms will persist at some level even with medication.
Students with schizophrenia may lose touch with reality and remember or believe that they have heard, seen or otherwise experienced things that haven't happened. Most often they will report that they have heard "voices." Students whose medication is not working optimally may have delusions and believe that others are plotting against them or that they have special abilities. Thought disorders are also common and will appear as unusual or dysfunctional ways of thinking and have significant difficulty organizing or connecting thoughts logically.

Observing Schizophrenia in the Classroom

Faculty may observe the following in students with schizophrenia:

  • May appear to have flat affect (face does not move or speech is dull or monotone)
  • Show lack of ability to begin and sustain planned activities
  • Speak little even when forced to interact
  • Monopolize conversation
  • Appear to ignore other students and normal rules of engagement


Related Functional Characteristics

Anxiety : If improperly medicated, students with schizophrenia may experience delusions and auditory hallucinations that cause anxiety or distort their understanding of reality.

Attentional Underfocus : Students with schizophrenia have difficulty with maintaining focus because they are constantly having to decide what is real and what is delusional.

Distracting Behavior : Students with schizophrenia may misinterpret social interactions and engage in behavior such as discussion monopolization, grandiose speech, and disregard of classroom rules.

Fatigue (Cognitive) : Students with schizophrenia may experience cognitive fatigue because of the difficulty they have in keeping their thoughts organized.

Fluid Reasoning : Fluid reasoning is difficult for students with schizophrenia because of the difficulty in determining what information is accurate and what is the result of delusional thinking.

Inability to Comprehend Social Cues : When a student with schizophrenia is not appropriately medicated, they may not have an accurate understanding of what is happening around them.

Working / Short Term Memory Deficit : Students with schizophrenia experience memory issues particularly remembering new information.

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