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Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders: Gender and Sex Differences

Schizophrenia is a type of psychotic disorder that is a chronic and lifelong condition with high social and economic costs. Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders are a complex, heterogeneous syndrome with no pathognomonic, or disease-defining, sign. It includes a cluster of symptoms and behaviors with different combinations present for different individuals. Symptoms of schizophrenia include positive symptoms (hallucinations [i.e., sensory experiences without external stimuli] and delusions [i.e., irrational, unrealistic, or bizarre beliefs], in addition to disorganized behavior, speech, and emotions) and negative symptoms (e.g., social withdrawal, avolition [i.e., lack of motivation]). Schizophrenia spectrum disorders also have significant cognitive and functional impairments. Individuals ultimately diagnosed with a schizophrenia spectrum disorder often show early or “prodromal” signs in late adolescence. This prepsychotic stage, or attenuated psychosis ...

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