Reviewed by Whitney White, MS CMHC, NCC., LPC
Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder that may be described as chronic—people who have schizophrenia experience a distorted reality, often through delusions and hallucinations.
Getting the exact estimate of persons who have schizophrenia has proven difficult, though the estimated figure is about 1% of the total population.
Women and men of all ages can develop schizophrenia, but it has been shown that men may begin to exhibit symptoms much earlier than women. Regardless of when the onset of schizophrenia is noticed or diagnosed, help is out there. All types of schizophrenia, including residual schizophrenia, are manageable with the necessary help and treatment.
Symptoms of schizophrenia
The symptoms that accompany schizophrenia include:
- Isolation of oneself from family and friends
- Alteration in levels of concentration and focus
- Irritability and Nervousness
- Issues with sleeping patterns
- Changing one’s friends and social groups
- Experiencing hard times with schoolwork. This tends to occur alongside poor performance academically.
- Movement disorders
- Thought disorders
- Finding it difficult to control one’s impulses
- Absence of expressions or emotion
- Isolation of oneself from others
- Difficulty when it comes to experiencing pleasure
- Emotional reactions that tend not correlate with corresponding situations
- Absence of interest in life
- Disorganization in areas of thinking and speech
- Difficulty coming up with plans or following them through
- Trouble finishing daily tasks
- Disorganization in thinking
- Poor understanding and application of given information
- Unawareness of symptoms and a lack of insight
Causes Of Schizophrenia
While the exact causes of schizophrenia are unknown, the following are believed by researchers to be factors that can contribute to the development of schizophrenia in individuals:
- Biological factors
- Environmental factors
It has been suggested by recent studies that people who have schizophrenia might exhibit some abnormalities in some of the brain structures.
Types Of Schizophrenia
There are primarily five types of schizophrenia. This classification is based on the dominant symptoms that a person may be experiencing as at the time a mental health professional made an evaluation of their condition. The type of schizophrenia a person may experience may change during the mental health disorder.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, did not include or reference the five types of schizophrenia. This is because the American Psychiatric Association believed that the five types of schizophrenia were “not helpful to clinicians because patients’ symptoms often changed from one subtype to another and presented overlapping subtype symptoms, which blurred distinctions among the five subtypes and decreased their validity.”
The 5 types Of schizophrenia are as follows:
This type of schizophrenia is characterized by paranoia (an unreasonable suspicion) and other symptoms that are primarily positive. Persons that experience this type of schizophrenia are preoccupied with a minimum of one delusion, which usually is persecutory in nature. They may also frequently experience auditory hallucinations. Meanwhile, other symptoms characterize schizophrenia-like flat affect, disorganized speech, disorganized or catatonic behavior. These symptoms are usually not present, and when they happen to be present, they are not as prominent as the positive symptoms.
This type of schizophrenia is also referred to as hebephrenic schizophrenia. It is predominantly characterized by disorganized symptoms. Every one of the following has to be noticed in a person for them to fit the requirements for this type of schizophrenia:
- Disorganized speech
- Disorganized behavior. For example, experiencing trouble when starting or finishing a task, difficulty acting appropriately when in social situations.
- Inappropriate or flat affect. For example, the absence of facial expressions and poor eye contact.
This type of schizophrenia has now been considered to be a rare type of schizophrenia. This is because experts believe that the condition is largely due to schizophrenia that is left untreated. With early treatment and intervention becoming more advanced, itis a condition that no longer occurs as frequently. It is primarily characterized by an increase or decrease in an individual’s movement, with a minimum of two symptoms out of the symptoms that follow being present.
An individual with catatonic schizophrenia has the likelihood of being grossly immobile; they may maintain a rigid posture. They may resist the efforts of others attempting to move them. Contrastingly, they may exhibit a seemingly purposeless movement that may be excessive. Examples of this may include echopraxia, which tries to mimic other people’s movements, and echolalia attempting to repeat everything said by other people. Certain peculiarities may exist in some voluntary movements like grimacing, unique posturing, or other movements such as hand waving, rocking, and nail-biting.
This type of schizophrenia is a unique categorization that is peculiar to persons with schizophrenia but cannot fit into any one of the previous three types of schizophrenia. While those individuals may experience significant levels of hallucinations, delusions, catatonic or disorganized behavior, or disorganized speech, the symptoms of schizophrenia they experience cannot be classified as being predominantly positive, neither can they be classified as movement disordered or disorganized.
This term describes a person who is not actively experiencing any prominent hallucinations or delusions, disorganized speech, or catatonic or disorganized behaviors. However, it is possible that they are experiencing a minimum of two symptoms out of those categories to a much lesser extent, for example, distortion of thoughts or having odd beliefs. They may also keep experiencing the negative symptoms associated with schizophrenia, such as difficulty focusing, withdrawal from people, apathy towards general life, and a reduction in their speech.
This type is entirely different from the “residual phase” under phases of schizophrenia. However, often, negative symptoms may remain. As a result of this phenomenon, persons taking medication for schizophrenia that may no longer experience delusions or hallucinations may sometimes be considered in the “residual phase” of schizophrenia. During this period, the person may be categorized into the residual type of schizophrenia, or they may not.
Diagnosis Of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia cannot be diagnosed using any test. A total psychiatric examination can aid the doctor to achieve a proper diagnosis. You have to reach out to a mental health professional or a psychiatrist to get a complete diagnosis. If you or a loved one are currently experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, reach out for help today.
During your appointment, you will be asked questions relating to the following areas:
- Personal medical history
- Family medical history
- Mental health
The doctor may carry out the following:
- Physical examination
- Imaging tests
- Blood work
In some instances, other factors may be responsible for the symptoms you are experiencing, even when the symptoms may seem alike to those of schizophrenia. These factors include:
- Certain medications
- Substance use
- Other mental health disorders
You may be diagnosed with schizophrenia if you have experienced a minimum of two of these symptoms for longer than a month:
- Disorganized speech
Treatment Of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a condition that cannot be cured. It can, however, be managed effectively to reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Possible treatment options may include:
The most common medication administered in the treatment of schizophrenia is an antipsychotic medication. Using medicine will help relieve the following symptoms:
- Symptoms of psychosis
Please be advised, the information found in the article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have.
This involves individual therapy to help you cope better with the disorder and the stress that may accompany it. This will allow you to understand any potential triggers and build a toolset to cope with symptoms of schizophrenia in the future.
This treatment option aims to help you develop the required skills that you may need to go back to work.
Complications Of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder that must not be left untreated or ignored. If left untreated may lead to an increased effect of symptoms.
Schizophrenia may also significantly affect work, school, and interpersonal relationships. However, it is essential to remember that once a person with schizophrenia gets the help they need and deserve, this disorder is manageable.
Prevention Of Schizophrenia
Schizophrenia cannot be prevented. However, experts are focused on attaining proper identification of persons with higher risk levels and how to reduce such risks.
It is still very possible for an individual who has schizophrenia to live a normal and healthy life without the interference of any symptoms.
Based on a report by the Royal College of Psychiatrists, it has been estimated that at least 3 persons out of every 5 persons who are diagnosed with schizophrenia will experience improvement with treatment. To achieve that improvement, it is necessary to:
- Learn more about your condition
- Properly understand the high-risk factors
- Comply with your recommended treatment plan
If you think you may have schizophrenia, try to take this test to find out more about your symptoms today.