Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental health disorder that affects about 1 percent of Americans. People with schizophrenia often suffer from hallucinations and delusions. People with schizophrenia might see or hear others who aren’t really there. Or, they might believe that someone is listening to their thoughts and controlling their actions or that there is an elaborate plot to cause them harm. These beliefs can make people with schizophrenia afraid and cause withdrawal or agitation.
Some people with schizophrenia do not make sense when they talk. They can spend hours talking to people who aren’t there or spend similar periods of time staying very still and saying nothing. By contrast, they might interact normally and seem perfectly fine until they talk about their thoughts.
There are treatments that can relieve the symptoms of schizophrenia, and many people with schizophrenia are able to lead full lives and even hold jobs. Others, however, experience lifelong symptoms that make it difficult to do work for pay.
There are three types of symptoms associated with schizophrenia: positive symptoms, negative symptoms, and cognitive symptoms. Positive symptoms are behaviors that are not seen in healthy adults. These include:
- Hearing voices
- Disorganized thinking
- Movement disorders or repeated movements
Negative symptoms are disruptions in normal behavior and emotions, such as:
- Lack of facial expression or a flat tone when talking
- Lack of enjoyment of everyday life
- Lack of ability to plan activities
- Lack of motivation to start activities
- Neglect of personal hygiene or self-care
Cognitive symptoms are disruptions in the processing of thoughts. These symptoms, which can be subtle, include:
- Difficulty focusing or paying attention
- Difficulty understanding information and using that information to make decisions
- Difficulty remembering
A diagnosis of schizophrenia is not enough to qualify for Social Security disability benefits. You must be able to prove that your schizophrenic symptoms prevent you from working, despite treatment. To do this, you will need medical documentation of your symptoms. To learn more about documenting your medical condition, request a free copy of Massachusetts SSDI attorney John Keefe's book Unlocking the Mystery – The Essential Guide for Navigating the Social Security Disability Claims Process.
SSDI applicants who suffer from complex mental conditions like schizophrenia often benefit from the assistance of an experienced Massachusetts disability attorney. To schedule a free consultation, contact Keefe Disability Law at 888-904-6847.