Information Zone

The term ‘negative symptoms’ refers to loss of normal behaviours. The most common include loss of emotional expression, loss of motivation, loss of pleasure in experiences or other people, and reduced levels of speech. Negative symptoms are common.

  • No-one really knows what causes negative symptoms. One theory is that they emerge as a result of repeated experiences of failure and threat that result in the person losing motivation to explore their environment or seek support from others
  • Currently available treatments (medication and psychological therapies) are generally less effective in treating negative symptoms compared to positive symptoms
  • Negative symptoms of illness often cause the most stress and worry for other family members. They can carry on even after other positive symptoms have gone
  • People with negative symptoms may need extra practical help with looking after themselves. They need other people to understand that their negative symptoms are not due to laziness. Negative symptoms can also be difficult to distinguish from the effects of medication (because it makes people feel sleepy) and depression
  • Negative symptoms can make people more likely to try risky or illegal activities such as drug taking. They can’t enjoy the things they used to, so they try and find something else to take the place of these

Watch Professor Jo Smith providing information on how to get help and support for negative symptoms