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.
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There are five types of schizophrenia. The first is called Catatonic Schizophrenia, which symptomatically results in difficulty with movement; reduced movement (sometimes motionlessness); repetitive movements, and rigidity and immobility.
Disorganized schizophrenia results in cognitive disorganization, along with problems with thinking, concentrating, and processing information. Additionally, this type of schizophrenia induces mild hallucinations, delusional thinking/catatonic behaviour, unregulated emotion and confusing speech (moving from topic to topic without logic).
Paranoid schizophrenics deal with disturbances of perception, in addition to auditory and visual hallucinations, and delusional thinking. Furthermore, this type of schizophrenia often results in delusions of persecution and paranoid fantasies about the government, aliens, or other strange conceptions.
Undifferentiated schizophrenics do not have one set “dominant” symptom, but rather many symptoms associated with the other types that are all equally present. Needless to say, this often makes diagnosis very difficult. In other words, undifferentiated schizophrenia’s main feature is….having no main feature.
Residual schizophrenia show symptoms that have subsided in some ways, but may still be present. This type of schizophrenia may result in non-acute hallucinations, and relapses are possible, if medication is discontinued.
There are both ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ symptoms when dealing with schizophrenia. This simply means that certain traits highlight the expressive and inexpressive qualities within each schizophrenic individual. The symptoms most people are aware of are hallucinations and delusions, which are both positive symptoms.
The “positive” symptoms of schizophrenia are considered to be auditory hallucinations; visual hallucinations; gustatory hallucinations; olfactory hallucinations; kinesthetic hallucinations; delusion; paranoia; feelings of persecution; disorganized speech; purposeless behavior; unpredictable behavior; bizarre behavior; delayed/decreased reaction, depersonalization and derealization.
The “negative” symptoms of schizophrenia include: flattened emotion; minimal expression of emotion through body language and facial expressions; alogia (lack of vocalization), short, concise, simplistic wording; difficulty intellectualizing; avolition (the absence of will-power); disinterest; lack of enthusiasm, memory problems and difficulty concentrating/making decisions
Schizophrenia Diagnosis Criteria
These are three specific criteria that must be present within a certain timeframe to qualify a schizophrenia diagnosis.
Two or more of the following characteristic symptoms must be present for more than six months: delusions; hallucinations; disorganized speech (indicative of a thought disorder); extreme positive or negative behaviors (such as overly emotional or catatonic postures); negatives symptoms (such as a flattened affect, alogia, or avolition, all being a lack of response).
If the delusions of the patient are deemed by the professional to be very bizarre, then only that one symptom is required. If the hallucinations feature one or more voices conversing and keeping a running commentary of dialogue, then only that one symptom is required. Speech disorganization must significantly impair communication to count.
In terms of disruption in one’s social life or occupation, at least one major area of life must have been impaired significantly. Such impairments include hygiene, work and socializing. The disturbances associated directly with the symptoms must have persisted for at least six months, with one month of acute symptoms being present.
If any of your friends or loved ones behaviors are changing and they’re becoming more isolative, try to keep in touch with them regularly, and try help them if symptoms increase. Read more at Schiz Life for advice, tips and information on coping with schizophrenia.