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Schizophrenia Infographic – Types, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Schizophrenia is a mental illness that distorts a person’s sense of reality, and is estimated to affect 2.2 million Americans each year.

Please see the infographic below and read on for more information concerning the types, symptoms, and diagnosis of schizophrenia and follow any of the links to find even more in-depth information on the respective topic.

Schizophrenia Infographic

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Schizophrenia: Types, Symptoms &amp; Diagnosis

 

Breaking Down Barriers: Understanding the Types of Schizophrenia

No matter how much progress has been made, talking about mental illness is still seen as taboo by many people. People are afraid to bring it up, others don’t want to reach out for help, and thousands suffer in silence in fear of appearing “crazy.”

Mental illness is just what it sounds like, an illness. Although you cannot physically see its symptoms, it is just as real as any other disease. Schizophrenia is one of those, which affects nearly 2.2 million American people every year.

It’s likely that you’ve heard the word “schizophrenia” before, but do you really know what that means? Schizophrenia distorts people’s view of the world around them, breaking reality.

Understanding the types of schizophrenia, along with its symptoms and diagnosis can not only help bring clarity to the disorder but allow you to better support those who live with schizophrenia themselves.

Five Types of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia, on its own, is a mental disorder that causes the person to become disoriented with reality. What is real may feel fake and what is fake may feel real. This comes in a number of different forms with varying levels of symptoms.

Let’s dive a bit deeper into the five types of schizophrenia to understand it all a bit more clearly.

Disorganized Schizophrenia

Imagine trying to ask someone for directions, but your words get all jumbled up and spew out something else in the process. In a broad sense, that’s sort of what disorganized schizophrenia is like.

The main characteristic with this branch of schizophrenia is the way it scrambles, mashes, and disturbs people’s basic functions. Behavior and speech can become completely disorganized and can be hard to understand as an outsider.

This can also cause disturbances in a person’s emotional expression, causing them to express an emotion in a way that seems to convey something entirely different. For example, a person may begin to laugh when they are feeling sad, or sob when they are happy.

While it is possible for those with disorganized schizophrenia to experience hallucinations or delusions, it is less prominent than in other branches of the disorder. Catatonic behavior is also far less common in these types of schizophrenia patients.

Paranoid Schizophrenia

This one of is the most common types of schizophrenia out there and is now sometimes referred to as schizophrenia with paranoia.

Living with this disorder makes you feel as though you cannot trust anything. You become incredibly suspicious of your boss, your father, the clerk at the grocery store, and even your partner.

The delusions in this disorder are deeply rooted in fear and anxiety. They make it difficult for the person to grasp what is real, often believing that their hallucinations are reality no matter how much evidence is presented against it.

The paranoia can come in many forms and often differs from person to person. Someone might be cheating on you, trying to poison you, plotting to kill your sister, or gossiping about you.

Now imagine trying to live with your spouse when you constantly believe they are seeing someone else. Makes things difficult, right? Which is why many people with this disorder often have trouble maintaining relationships with friends, co-workers, family, and loved ones.

In some instances, this paranoia stretches to things outside the realm of reality. This is where people start to believe aliens are on Earth and are plotting to take over the world. Or that the government is spying on them, trying to get inside their brain.

Catatonic Schizophrenia

Do you know that feeling when you feel so right in a certain position in your bed that you think you may never move? In some ways, this catatonic schizophrenia is like that.

Unlike some of the other types of schizophrenia, catatonic schizophrenia has a lot to do with the physical body. People may fall into conditions of great rigidity or stupor without any sort of external warning or stimulus.

They might become unable to talk, move, respond, or do anything at all. A lot of the time, it appears as though they are in an incredibly uncomfortable position. If you try to assist them and move them into something a bit more relaxed, they may resist.

On the exact opposite end, another person may experience an extreme boost in movement. Perhaps they move their arms around erratically or continuously pace in the same pattern for hours on end.

No matter which end of this mobility spectrum the person may be on, they will often remain in that state for a great deal of time. They may also experience some of the other signs of schizophrenia, like hallucinations, difficulty expressing emotions, and cognitive disturbances.

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

So what happens if you do not fall into any of these categories? Perhaps you have a bit on one and a bit of another. This would be referred to as undifferentiated schizophrenia.

Surprisingly enough, the main feature in these types of schizophrenia patients is that there is no main feature. There is not a defining characteristic to this type as it is often different for each particular case.

Some people with this disorder experience a mixture of symptoms. They may have some catatonic symptoms, some disorganized symptoms, and some paranoia symptoms. The levels can vary for each case, and the types of symptoms will also vary.

The downside to this is that diagnosis is quite difficult to do. Without a clear diagnosis, treating the schizophrenia can become much more complicated.

Undifferentiated schizophrenia can sometimes also be applied to people who switch between different sets of symptoms. They may experience catatonic symptoms for a long stretch of time but then switch over to paranoid symptoms later in their life. These cases are truly unique and require a great deal of attention to properly treat.

Residual Schizophrenia

Residual schizophrenia is far different from the rest of them as it’s not actually a type you can naturally start out in.

Regardless of which of the types of schizophrenia a person starts out in, if their symptoms begin to subside, with most of their positive symptoms fading out, they will likely experience residual schizophrenia.

Their schizophrenia is still there, always present, but the symptoms become much milder and easy to manage. They may still experience hallucinations, but again, they will not be nearly as present.

If a person is able to make it to this stage, they may be able to find more ease in making relationships, performing daily tasks, and living the life they hope to lead. Relapse is possible if medication is not taken as directed.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

An import thing to remember here is that the main symptoms are divided into two separate categories: positive and negative. These should not be confused with being either good or bad, but rather as something that is either expressive or inexpressive.

It should also be noted that not every person will suffer from all of these symptoms. Each case is unique to the person, and a person does not have to check every single thing on this list in order to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.

Positive Symptoms

As we’ve mentioned, positive symptoms in the different types of schizophrenia have to do with being expressive. These are symptoms that have added to a person’s mental organization.

Some of the most common types of positive symptoms include hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations add some sort of sensory conception. They may hear, touch, taste, or see something that isn’t actually there. Delusions are added disturbances to thoughts that make people believe something that is illogical.

Disorganized speech and thoughts, along with paranoia, are also considered positive symptoms. They express a certain idea or disturbance in the person’s brain and prohibits them from functioning normally.

Negative Symptoms

On the opposite end of things, negative symptoms are those that are inexpressive. Think about this in terms of what gets taken away from a person’s mind, personality, or actions.

For example, things like minimizing expressions, cutting back speech or completely eliminating it, feeling a lack of enthusiasm, and memory issues are all types of negative symptoms in types of schizophrenia patients.

Diagnosing Schizophrenia

When you go into a doctor’s office, you sometimes think that you’ll go in with a problem and come out with a solution. Which would be ideal, but often is not the case. They likely need to conduct some tests, evaluate you, and determine the likelihood of different diagnoses with your symptoms and current state.

Similarly, to diagnosis one of the five types of schizophrenia, a doctor must conduct their own sorts of tests and determine the likelihood of the disorder. To fully come to a diagnosis, a person must check all three of the following boxes: characteristic symptoms, dysfunctional life, and significant duration.

Characteristic Symptoms

Perhaps one of the simplest portions of a schizophrenia evaluation is the symptoms themselves. In order to be diagnosed with one of the five types of schizophrenia, a person must be experiencing at least two, if not more, of the main symptoms of the disorder.

It does not matter which two, nor does it matter how many more than two. The only other thing that matters is whether or not the symptoms have been present for at least six months.

It’s important to remember that just because some of these symptoms are present, that does not immediately mean schizophrenia should be the diagnosis. Many other mental disorders and physical diseases share some of these symptoms.

Things like speech disorganization, negative symptoms, extreme highs and lows in behavior, and even hallucinations can be common symptoms in a variety of medical issues. Be sure that the other aspects of the diagnosis process are thoroughly considered before accepting a diagnosis.

Dysfunctional Life

Everyone feels like their life is dysfunctional in one way or another, but for those living with schizophrenia, many aspects of life can be flipped upside down. These areas, which we often take for granted, can permanently change a person’s life and make it difficult to function.

In order for someone to be diagnosed with schizophrenia, they must have had some aspect of their life be significantly impaired because of their symptoms. This should not be confused with life disturbances of natural causes.

For example, if someone lost all of their friends because of a fight, that would be of natural cause not related to schizophrenia. However, if a person lost their friends due to their catatonic state that prohibited them from ever going out to meet with them, that would be cause for a schizophrenic diagnosis.

Significant Duration

If a person experiences a hallucination once in their life, that does not mean that they temporarily had one of the main types of schizophrenia. In order to actually be diagnosed with this disorder, a person must show symptoms consistently for at least six months.

On top of that, at least one of those months must have been spent with acute symptoms. In the medical field, acute refers to an abrupt onset. Typically, this means that the symptoms are rapidly progressing over a short period of time. This should be a major signal to let you know that they need care immediately.

Understanding and Connecting

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for schizophrenia, no matter which of the types of schizophrenia you face. That being said, there are treatments out there that can help bring back some of the happiness the disorder has stolen away.

Whether you face the disorder yourself or have someone in your life going through it, it’s important to understand what it is and how it works. By understanding the facts, you can help bring them back to reality in a way that is both passionate and effective.

Honestly, one of the best things you can do for those struggling with one of the many types of schizophrenia is to stay connected to them. Reach out, check on how they’re doing, and try to keep them involved in your life. It can truly make all the difference.

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