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Schizophrenia: Signs | Symptoms | Diagnosis | Five Types

Updated on December 26, 2011

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental problem characterized by an alteration in the perception of real world, affecting the emotions, behavior, and thought process. The term schizophrenia comes from the Greek word schizo meaning “division” and phrenos meaning “mind” so schizophrenia refers to division of mind and its thoughts accompanied by delusions and associated disturbances. According to history and culture, schizophrenia is most often associated with only dissociative identity disorders or multiple personality disorders, but this is a mistake because schizophrenia actually refers to a variety of disorders with various symptomatologies. The alteration in perception of real world or distortion of reality is the main product of schizophrenia that can affect the senses of an individual who suffers from this disorder that can lead to other problems. Schizophrenia usually presents with paranoia, hallucinations, slurred speech, and disorderly thoughts that greatly affect social life and occupations of schizophrenics. Interestingly, this disease mainly affects young adults and almost 1% of the world population has this disorder.

Schizophrenia best pic
Schizophrenia best pic

SIGNS, SYMPTOMS, AND DIAGNOSIS OF SCHIZOPHRENIA

Typically, schizophrenics experience hallucinations, disordered thinking, delusions, and make strange and unusual marks and comments.

They see different things and create characters and situations that are not real and even some may think that they are another person, usually a famous personality.

Another problem expressed by schizophrenics is social isolation that may be caused by several factors. They also have a tendency of lack of interest or concern and discouragement, but despite these behaviors, it is a mistake to believe that they are violent people or are capable of killing because most of them do not show such behavior.

But it is important to note that none of the above signs is a diagnosis of schizophrenia and either can occur due to other medical problems. If the above-mentioned symptoms are present in a person from a month to six months, then the person can be diagnosed as having schizophrenia.

The signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are also accompanied by sleep disturbance, confusion, disinterest in previously pleasurable activities, unusual movements and postures including catatonia a condition in which a person does not speak for a long time, sometimes turns in strange body positions either rigid or extremely flexible, and also gets agitated without any reason but catatonia occurs in a very few cases.

Best possible image definition of combined schizophrenia.
Best possible image definition of combined schizophrenia.
Paranoid schizophrenia - hallucinations and delusions
Paranoid schizophrenia - hallucinations and delusions
Disorganized schizophrenia
Disorganized schizophrenia
Catatonic schizophrenia - sometimes rigid sometimes extremely flexible body movements.
Catatonic schizophrenia - sometimes rigid sometimes extremely flexible body movements.
Undifferentiated schizophrenia
Undifferentiated schizophrenia
Residual schizophrenia
Residual schizophrenia

Symptoms of schizophrenia can be described as negative and positive. Positive symptoms refer to hallucinations, delusions, and thought disturbances. These can be considered typical symptoms of psychosis but negative symptoms are those that include the loss of skills or normal traits such as the difficulty to express emotions, inability to speak, loss of desire to interact, difficulty of feeling pleasure, demotivation, etc. Those schizophrenics who have negative symptoms are more likely to have poor quality of life, problems with day-to-day functions, and other difficulties.

FIVE TYPES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA

According to medical science and psychiatry, there are five types of schizophrenia namely paranoid schizophrenia, disorganized schizophrenia, catatonic schizophrenia, undifferentiated schizophrenia, and residual schizophrenia.

  1. In paranoid schizophrenia, there exist primarily hallucinations and delusions, especially auditory. In this case, there are irregularities in behavior and thinking and there are no difficulties relating to others. This type of schizophrenia usually occurs between 20 and 30 years of age.
  2. In disorganized schizophrenia, there exist primarily disordered thoughts and communication as well as emotional difficulties. This type of schizophrenia most commonly occurs in adults and in this, a person is not able to express his/her emotions.
  3. In catatonic schizophrenia, as mentioned above, people become rigid or flexible and agitated without any reason. They sometimes become manic performing extreme flexibility of extremities and sometimes show rigidity to everything. This type of schizophrenia can become dangerous when the patient stops eating. Catatonic schizophrenics can start repeating words said by other people or start following other person’s body movements. Although not shown, these individuals think and feel, but do not respond to those impulses.
  4. Undifferentiated schizophrenia is a mixed clinical condition in which psychotic symptoms are not as specific as to be considered within the other types and subtypes. The symptoms fluctuate for some time mimicking a subtype of schizophrenia and then remain stable for some time and then again fluctuate mimicking another subtype of schizophrenia, which becomes a really confusing situation.
  5. Residual schizophrenia as the name defines refers to leftover schizophrenia associated with positive symptoms to a lesser degree. In other words, the delusions, hallucinations, and disordered thoughts are present but they become less prominent than what they were in the worse times of illness. It is interesting to note that according to some recent studies, adult onset schizophrenia has been associated with childhood infections of the central nervous system.

In the next article, we will talk about risk factors for schizophrenia and its treatment.

Psychosis
Psychosis
HubMob Weekly Topic: The return of the Health Hubs - Hub #14 by soni2006
HubMob Weekly Topic: The return of the Health Hubs - Hub #14 by soni2006

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    • profile image

      lisa 

      6 years ago

      great site. i stop speaking when in psychosis because it feels like my words are my insides coming out my mouth and that when people receive my words it will hurt cos they will touch my insides! i dont like to look at people either it all feels too raw and i prefer to shut away.

    • profile image

      kelleyward 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for the great information on schizophrenia. The dissociation that occurs is a way for the person to cope at the time. It's sad that something that can help with coping at a point in time if maintained can lead to long term mental disorders. Thanks again for the hub!

    • Jan Dils LC profile image

      Jan Dils LC 

      7 years ago from West Virgina

      Great information!

      It's true that people often confuse schizophrenia with dissociative personality disorder and multiple personality disorder. This kind of misinformation can lead to people not getting the kind of treatment that they need.

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      @equealla, thank you so much for sharing your story about your schizophrenic neighbor. I wish to God to treat him as soon as possible so that he can get out of this complex debilitating situation.

      Love, support, and understanding the problems associated with the condition by the caregiver will definitely help that man.

    • equealla profile image

      equealla 

      8 years ago from Pretoria, South Africa

      My next door neighbour's nephew, who also shares their house, has recently been diagnosed as a schizophrenic. Whilst they were trying to define his condition, he was so many time in dispair, went outside in the street at night time, and would shout on the top of his voice: Oh God I do not want to be like this. It was so sad.

      He is taking his medication now, and his life is much more stable, though he has relapses. Most probably when he forget/refuse to take his medication.

      Very useful hub, to see the basics and classification of this complex condition.

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks a lot dawn, MS Chievous, emnem, and ocbill for your views on schizophrenia. Also thanks for the praise.

    • ocbill profile image

      ocbill 

      8 years ago from hopefully somewhere peaceful and nice

      it is sad when this happens, especially to someone you knew for decades as in my case. I believe it can be attributed to old age?

    • profile image

      emnem 

      8 years ago

      Your hubs are always informative, either medically or technically and hence, very useful in one or the other to, I believe, many people including all us hubbers. Thank you very much.

    • Ms Chievous profile image

      Tina 

      8 years ago from Wv

      This is a very difficult disease to treat. Not necessarily because it is a mental illness, but a mental illness that affect mostly young adults. Medication most often works, but as soon as the young adult gets to feelingbetter he/she does not take the medication. The young adult is mostly in denial about the illness. This is very difficult.. they all have such promising lifes...

    • dawnM profile image

      Dawn Michael 

      8 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

      great information soni, when I worked in a Psychiatric hospital many years ago I counseled a man in group counsel he was on medication and he was schizophrenic, but functioning, he was at one time a professor, he told me that when he was a child his greatest fear was getting this dieses and then it happened to him on and off through his college days. He was a brilliant man, but I always found it fascinating that he had a premonition of getting it as a child. Great information on the very challenging disease of schizophrenia

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks for the visit Ingenira.

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 

      8 years ago

      interesting topic on psychology, one of my favourite subject.

    • soni2006 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajinder Soni 

      8 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Thanks a lot Tatjana. I think you also liked on FB.

    • Tatjana-Mihaela profile image

      Tatjana-Mihaela 

      8 years ago from Zadar, CROATIA

      Shizopephrenia, the world of alternative realities.

      Thank you for interesting Hub, Sony. Voted up.

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