The Five Different Types of Schizophrenia

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Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder that’s characterized by hallucinations, delusional thinking, a distorted perception of reality, poor cognitive skills, and disorganized speech or behavior. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that schizoaffective disorder affects about 0.3% of the population. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates approximately 1.1% of American adults will be diagnosed with schizophrenia at some point in their life. Schizophrenia can occur at all ages but tends to occur in the late teens to the early 20s for men, and the late 20s to early 30s for women. Experiencing schizophrenia at ages younger than 12 or older than 40 is very uncommon.

What Does Schizophrenia Look Like?

Schizophrenia consists of symptoms that revolve around an individual’s ability perceive reality as it is and/or an individual’s mind creating visual sights or auditory sounds that aren’t there. Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that interferes with the way a person behaves, thinks, and feels, often resulting in the individual being prone to false, delusional beliefs about themselves or others. Some other signs of schizophrenia in adults and teens include difficulty concentrating, managing emotions, making decisions, or developing normal motivations, causing an individual to become unusually anxious, unresponsive, or withdrawn in social situations.

Types of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia typically includes a cluster of symptoms, some of which overlap with other mental health disorders like depression or bipolar disorder, which makes a schizophrenia diagnosis difficult. Due to overlapping symptoms, mental health professionals base the schizophrenia diagnosis on symptoms that last for at least six months. Individuals with schizophrenia may have episodic symptoms, while others have long-lasting symptoms.

Paranoid Schizophrenia

Of the different types of schizophrenia, paranoid schizophrenia is the most common in the U.S. and typically reveals itself during a person’s teenage or young adulthood years. Paranoid schizophrenia is like psychosis and is characterized by delusional thoughts like thinking that someone is out to harm you, or that a loved one will abandon you.

Schizoaffective Disorder 

An individual has schizoaffective disorder when they’re struggling with not only schizophrenia but also with co-occurring depression or bipolar disorder. For that reason, someone with schizoaffective will show a wide variety of symptoms including symptoms of mania, symptoms of depression, and general symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Symptoms schizoaffective individuals display with regularity include:

  • Depressive Symptoms – Persistent feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, sadness, guilt, or suicide. Severe lack of energy and takes no interest in activities that used to bring joy.
  • Mania Symptoms – Increased activity in all aspects of life, rapid thoughts, increased heart rate, sleeps less, becomes easily agitated or distracted, and talks rapidly.
  • General symptoms related to schizophrenia – Delusional thinking, hallucinations, disorganized movements, and lack of facial expressions.

Catatonic Schizophrenia

Catatonic schizophrenia is a rare form of schizophrenia with symptoms that are more recognizable in a person’s physical actions rather than their thoughts. Individuals with catatonic schizophrenia are often mistaken to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Individuals with catatonic schizophrenia often have symptoms that include:

  • Excessive movement with no purpose or exhibits a strange posture
  • Acts as if they’re in a stupor and are unresponsive to those around them
  • Imitates the words of other people or makes no sense in their speech
  • Displays unwarranted fits of anger

Disorganized Schizophrenia

Disorganized schizophrenia is commonly referred to as “hebephrenia” and is characterized by a schizophrenic individual that displays disorganized speech, thinking, and behavior. Disorganized schizophrenia is seen most often in teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 25. People displaying this subtype of schizophrenia often have difficulty with their cognitive skills like memory, motor skills, attention span and intelligence.

Residual Schizophrenia

Of the different types of schizophrenia, residual schizophrenia is the mildest, characterized by specific residual schizophrenia symptoms. This specific type is characterized by when an individual doesn’t display positive symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia (hallucinations, delusional thinking), although they still have the negative symptoms or more mild schizophrenia symptoms (no expression of emotions, strange speech). An individual with residual schizophrenia could have more mild schizophrenia symptoms as they may be transitioning from an acute phase of schizophrenia to remission or vice versa. Residual schizophrenia is not cyclical so the residual schizophrenia symptoms can disappear or reappear at any time.

Schizophrenia Treatment

All different types of schizophrenia are best treated using a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The most ideal schizophrenia treatment includes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), cognitive enhancement therapy (also called cognitive remediation therapy), social skills training, and individual psychotherapy. After an individual receives treatment for schizophrenia for several months, they become better equipped to manage their symptoms, especially as they age out of young adulthood.

Living a healthy and independent live with all different types of schizophrenia is possible. At Pasadena Villa, we provide treatment for schizophrenia in therapeutic environments that promote well-being, recovery, and personal motivation. There are multiple levels of care available at each of our Pasadena Villa psychiatric treatment centers, which treat all forms of schizophrenia. At each level of care, we provide the most appropriate support and the closest amount of supervision needed.

To learn more about schizophrenia treatment at Pasadena Villa, please call our admissions team at 844.250.6532 or fill out our contact form. Most insurance plans are accepted; clients and their families also can pay privately.



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