There are many types of schizophrenia but you should know what actually schizophrenia is.
What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder characterized by:
- Ability to think clearly and rationally
- Interaction with others and the ability to relate to them
In the United States, schizophrenia affects approximately 1 percent of the population, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Women and men are usually diagnosed with the condition in mid-adolescence or early 20s, respectively.
A person suffering from the illness may experience intermittent episodes, similar to a person suffering from remission. A person might experience the following during an “active” period:
- Trouble thinking and concentrating
- A flat affect
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Current DSM-5 status
Schizophrenia was among the disorders whose diagnostic criteria changed in the new edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Previously, an individual could be diagnosed just by displaying one symptom. Two symptoms must be present for a person to be diagnosed.
The DSM-5 also eliminated the distinct diagnostic categories of subtypes based on the presentation of symptoms. In the view of the American Psychiatric Association, this is not useful because many subtypes overlap and decrease diagnostic validity.
Instead, they serve as specific elements within the overarching diagnosis, providing more detail to the clinician.
Types of schizophrenia
However, the subtypes are still valuable as diagnostic specifiers and treatment planning sources, even though they are no longer clinically distinct. Classically, there are five types of schizophrenia:
- Paranoid schizophrenia
- Hebephrenic schizophrenia
- Undifferentiated schizophrenia
- Residual schizophrenia
- Catatonic schizophrenia
Psychosis with paranoid symptoms was once the most common kind. Paranoia was deemed a positive symptom of the disorder in 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association, so paranoid schizophrenia was not considered a separate condition. As a result, it was shortened to schizophrenia.
Although it is no longer used, most subtypes are still listed there. Affected individuals may experience:
- Disorganized speech (echolalia, word salad)
- Trouble concentrating
- Behavioral impairment (emotional lability, impulse control)
- Flat affect
DO YOU KNOW?
Word salad refers to the scenario where random words are strung together without any logic.
The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) continues to recognize hebephrenic or disorganized schizophrenia, nevertheless, it’s no longer part of the DSM-5.
It is characterized by the absence of delusions or hallucinations. As a result, their speech and behavior are disorganized. You can include the following:
- Flat affect
- Speech disturbances
- Disorganized thinking
- Unacceptable facial reactions or emotions
- Problems with daily tasks
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The term undifferentiated schizophrenia refers to individuals exhibiting behaviors that could be attributed to different types of schizophrenia. In this case, it may be categorically incorrect to diagnose an individual with undifferentiated schizophrenia if they also have delusions or hallucinations, in addition to word salad.
A variety of symptoms are simply indicated to the clinician by the new diagnostic criteria.
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It’s a little tricky to deal with this “subtype”. Usually used in cases where a person has been diagnosed with schizophrenia in the past but no longer exhibits any prominent symptoms. It has generally become easier to manage the symptoms.
In addition to these “negative” symptoms, residual schizophrenia usually is accompanied by:
- Flattened affect
- Psychomotor difficulties
- Slowed speech
- Poor hygiene
It’s not uncommon for people with schizophrenia to experience periods of waxing and waning symptoms, which vary in frequency and intensity. As a result, nobody uses this term anymore.
The DSM previously classified catatonic schizophrenia as a subtype, but it has been argued that catatonia should be a distinct diagnosis. It can be caused by both psychiatric conditions and general diseases.
Immobility is the most common symptom, but it can also take the form of:
- Mimicking behavior
- A stupor-like condition
Childhood schizophrenia is not a subtype of schizophrenia, but a point in time at which a diagnosis is made. It is rare to find a diagnosis in children.
In rare cases, it can lead to severe consequences. Schizophrenia with an early onset typically affects people aged 13 to 18. It is very rare to discover the disease under the age of 13 years old.
Early childhood symptoms resemble those of disorders like autism and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The following symptoms can occur:
- Language delays
- Crumbling or walking late or unusually
- Abnormal motor movements
If schizophrenia is diagnosed at a very early age, developmental issues need to be ruled out.
Children and teens may experience the following symptoms:
- Social withdrawal
- Sleep disruptions
- Impaired school performance
- Odd behavior
- Substance use
Hallucinations are more common in young people, but delusions are less common. When teens get older, they tend to develop more typical symptoms of schizophrenia, including those seen in adults.
The diagnosis of childhood schizophrenia must be made by a knowledgeable professional since it’s rare. If there are any other conditions, such as substance abuse or organic medical conditions, they should be ruled out.
Psychiatrists who have experience treating child psychosis should lead treatment. There are usually several treatment options, such as:
- Skills training
- Hospitalization, if needed
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Schizoaffective and schizophrenia are two separate conditions, though they are often lumped together. Both schizophrenia and mood disorders are present in this disorder.
Psychosis – a cause of losing contact with reality – is often involved. Mania and depression are both mood disorders.
A person suffering from the schizoaffective disorder can be subcategorized based on whether they primarily suffer from depression, or whether they also experience manic episodes as well. Affected individuals may experience:
- Paranoid thoughts
- Hallucinations or delusions
- Concentration problems
- Mania or hyperactivity
- Unhygienic habits
- Disturbed appetite
- Sleep disturbances
- Isolation from society
- Behavior or thinking that is disorganized
Psychological testing, physical examination, and interview are typically used to make a diagnosis. A medical condition or mental illness such as bipolar disorder should be ruled out first. Treatment includes:
- Individual or group therapy
- Skills training for real-world situations
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Other related conditions
The following conditions are related to schizophrenia:
- Delusional disorder
- Brief psychotic disorder
- Schizophreniform disorder
Numerous health conditions can lead to psychosis as well.
What you need to know
Schizophrenia is a complex mental illness. It does not always present the same symptoms or present the same way for everyone diagnosed with it.
The use of subtypes for clinical treatment planning continues even though the diagnosis is no longer done. The information you learn about schizophrenia and its subtypes will also be helpful to you in managing your condition.
Creating and implementing a treatment plan is possible when your healthcare team receives an accurate diagnosis.