Family and Caregiver Schizophrenia Discussion Forum

Cognitive Impairment

This illness adds so many unwanted symptoms (the positive symptoms), but it also takes so much away (the negative symptoms).

Today, I’m grieving a negative symptom (cognitive impairment). Did this happen because my son was psychotic for a long enough period of time, and his brain was not “protected” by AP meds, and this caused brain trauma? Doctor #1 warned us that this could/would happen. Doctor #2 brushed this theory off, saying there was no hard research that suggested psychosis caused damage to the brain. Was that doctor just saying that so his new patient would trust him? Was he just saying that because his therapy program was being offered as an “alternative to meds”? I’ll never know, but this question will probably always haunt me.

But, If I could go back in time, oh how I wish I had listened to doc #1. I would’ve called the police so much earlier, so the meds would’ve been forced and started that much earlier. Perhaps the cognitive impairment could’ve been avoided? Maybe the impairment would’ve happened anyways, just due to the illness?

Will his brain heal, and cognitive function improve, now that he’s on AP drugs? I pray so.


I don’t know too much about this, but we were told by PDoc that with each instance of being in a catatonic state (a form of negative symptoms) it would be harder to get our person out of that state the next time. However, the last 4 times we saw or know of a catatonic situation they were not as bad as what we saw last summer. I can’t affirm by observation that repeated catatonic states has affected cognitive function. At times, our person seems very normal with cognitive function. Perhaps it affects some function and not others?


With different diagnoses come different prognoses… Sz is kind of the worst for cognitive symptoms. In the diagnosis of schizophrenia, cognitive symptoms are among the three main categories along with positive and negative. This article says that they start at the beginning of the illness and stay somewhat consistent, if I am reading it correctly:

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Thank you Hereandhere.

That was a tough read, but unfortunately it is what it is. We didn’t cause this. We cannot fix this.

Yeah it makes sense that cognitive dificits are considered a 3rd category of the impact of schizophrenia, not just part of the negative symptom category.

As compared to bipolar disorder, it looks like our loved ones have the worst of the worst. Heart sinking.


It also says that second generation APs help with cognition, so depending on what medication your son is on, his cognition will improve.

It’s so sad to have this illness. These specific symptoms are hard for me too. Cognitive deficits are the most debilitating over time depending on how severe they are, but they do improve for up to two or three years after a psychotic episode if there is no really bad relapse. I heard that in NAMI class.


This article made me very sad and is further proof, even if doctors won’t admit it, that my 10 year old has this disorder and that it is severe. Her working memory is horribly affected every day, so much so that at times she can’t remember what happened 10-15-20 minutes prior. She has a great deal of trouble with short-term memory which means her ability to learn new things and retain them are extremely impaired and have been for the last three years. It explains quite clearly why she hasn’t progressed at all in school and lowers her recovery options significantly. While the medication has helped with her symptoms, the cognition impairment will be extremely difficult to overcome for her and because she’s so young, she may not be able to develop skills that adults have already had a chance to develop.