Negative symptoms of schizophrenia: a problem that will not go away


Stephen M. Stahl, 1930 Parlomar Point Way, Suite 103, Carlsbad, CA 92008, USA.


Objective:  Negative symptoms of schizophrenia are a common, enduring, and debilitating component of the psychopathology of schizophrenia. Although efforts thus far to elucidate a distinct schizophrenia subtype based upon negative symptoms have yielded mixed results, there are nevertheless neurobiological correlates of the negative symptom typology.

Method:  A review of nosology, typology, and assessment tools for determining core negative symptoms in schizophrenia.

Results:  Negative symptoms can be difficult to evaluate objectively. Current rating scales ‘capture’ key domains of negative symptoms, in spite of considerable overlap between these domains. However, each objective assessment trades off methodological rigor and detail against brevity of assessment and ease of use.

Conclusion:  The description of new methods for measuring these devastating symptoms, coupled with the ongoing development of novel antipsychotics and agents that augment antipsychotics have fuelled renewed interest in the evaluation of negative symptoms and optimism that better treatments for negative symptoms can be found.