A new study by King’s College London researchers shows that individuals with schizophrenia who have negative symptoms also tend to typically fair worse and have a worse outcome than those with this mental disorder who do not have negative symptoms. The patients who exhibited negative symptoms of schizophrenia had a much higher risk of admission to the hospital for this illness, the admission time was longer, and these patients were also more likely to be readmitted to the hospital after they have been discharged. Some of the negative symptoms that may be experienced include less speech and activity, poor motivation, and even failing to make eye contact with others. Positive symptoms include delusions and hallucinations, and these are usually the first symptoms targeted for treatment.
The study by the researchers is the biggest ever to look at and evaluate the link between clinical outcomes and negative symptoms for people with schizophrenia. The study involved sample cases from a pool of 7,500 individuals with schizophrenia. Department of Psychosis Studies researcher Dr. Rashmi Patel explained “Hospital admissions are the main drivers of cost in the care of patients with schizophrenia — yet they have traditionally been linked to the severity of positive psychotic symptoms. Our data indicate that negative symptoms are an equally important factor, and suggest that a greater emphasis on assessing and treating these features of schizophrenia may have significant health economic benefits. However, as our findings are drawn from observational data, interventional clinical studies are required to determine whether an effective treatment for negative symptoms would lead to better clinical outcomes.”