It may come as a surprise to many people, but there are several types of schizophrenia. Schizophrenia, in general, is a blanket term that encompasses a spectrum of symptoms affecting someone’s perception of reality and thought/behavioral patterns. Schizophrenia and its causes are not very well understood. The most likely cause for the development of schizophrenia is believed to be genetic, but other factors can be responsible as well.
Our understanding of schizophrenia is often held back by several factors. This includes stigma, harmful stereotypes portrayed in popular media, and the general lack of frank discussion about mental health. People struggling with schizophrenia are often used as a cheap scare in horror and thriller movies, making it seem like those with this disorder are inherently bad or “wrong.” The lack of mental health education makes it unlikely that anyone knows much about schizophrenia besides that it is “scary.” The stigma around schizophrenia makes it difficult for those that have it to seek treatment or even a diagnosis.
The best way to combat these harmful stigmas is education. Calling your local mental health care facility, like Acera Health, can be very helpful. Mental health professionals are always happy to help educate people about mental health issues. By educating the public about schizophrenia and the individual types of schizophrenia, we de-mystify it. This makes people less afraid, and being less afraid allows us to give compassion and understanding to those that struggle with this difficult, but treatable mental health disorder.
5 Main Types of Schizophrenia
As mentioned before, schizophrenia is made up of several distinct symptoms. However, not everyone experiences the same type of symptoms as someone else. As a result, this mental health disorder can be broken down into five distinct types of schizophrenia, which makes diagnosis and treatment easier.
This is perhaps the most well-known form of schizophrenia. The main symptoms of this type of schizophrenia are frequent visual and auditory hallucinations, delusions, difficulties in concentrating, disorganized speech, and impairments in behavior. This is characterized by psychosis, which makes it difficult for someone to tell what is real or not. Someone with paranoid schizophrenia may sometimes struggle with delusions that they are being followed, harassed, conspired against, or persecuted. This is the type of schizophrenia often used negatively in media to portray those with schizophrenia as dangerous.
This is also known sometimes as hebephrenic schizophrenia. This type of schizophrenia is characterized by unusual speech patterns and disorganized behaviors. Someone may also experience inappropriate emotional and facial reactions and disorganized thinking. A good example is someone laughing when someone describes a sad or upsetting event. Those with disorganized schizophrenia may experience the “flat effect.” This is when someone shows little or no emotions in their speech, mannerisms, facial expressions, or voice tone.
This is a specific type of diagnosis used for those already diagnosed with schizophrenia. This refers to those that no longer have prominent symptoms of psychosis, yet still exhibit other types of symptoms. Symptoms also include disturbed speech and psychomotor difficulties. Psychomotor difficulties refer to the slowing down or hampering of physical and mental activities. Sometimes those with schizophrenia experience periods where their symptoms will increase/decrease in frequency and intensity over time. In these cases, residual symptoms are common.
This type of schizophrenia is quite rare, perhaps the rarest type of all. Those that have it experience something called “catatonia.” This is when someone experiences excessive movement (catatonic excitement) or decreased movement (catatonic stupor). When someone experiences catatonia, they may not react much to outside stimuli. Sometimes they may make odd movements, experience extreme limb rigidity, or remain in odd body positions. Additional symptoms may include mutism, echolalia (mimicking words), and echopraxia (mimicking actions).
The last main category of schizophrenia is known as undifferentiated schizophrenia. This describes someone whose symptoms cross into more than one different kind of schizophrenia. For example, someone who experiences extreme catatonia and psychosis may be diagnosed with undifferentiated schizophrenia.
A harmful stereotype about everyone struggling with schizophrenia is that they are violent. This is not true. Someone with schizophrenia is more likely to be victimized than someone without it. A person with schizophrenia is more likely to be harmful to themselves than they are to other people, especially if their disorder goes untreated.
That is why it’s so important for those who experience these symptoms above to get help as soon as possible. Not only to reduce the harm that could be done to themselves but because everyone deserves to be cared for in their time of need.
Getting Help for Schizophrenia
The most important thing to remember is that schizophrenia is a treatable condition. No mental health professional would judge you or treat you badly for having schizophrenia. Many mental health care facilities, like Acera Health, offer several types of treatments that can help someone recover from schizophrenia.
There is no cure for schizophrenia, as it is a lifelong condition. However, people can learn how to live with their condition so it doesn’t affect their lives so strongly. Of course, they must always be aware of their schizophrenia, but it offers room for them to enjoy life again. This is called recovery, and it’s the end goal of any treatment program.
Common types of treatment for schizophrenia include the use of antipsychotic medication, psychotherapy including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family therapy, and psychoeducation. Some treatment centers offer residential treatment programs, which help those with severe schizophrenia receive treatment away from daily stressors and triggers. There, they can focus on healing in a safe, supportive environment.
When people think of schizophrenia, they often think of paranoid schizophrenia. However, this is but one of many types of schizophrenia that a person can be diagnosed with. Regardless of which type it is, there is hope for treatment and recovery. Here at Acera Health in Costa Mesa, California, we offer a wide variety of treatment options to help those struggling with schizophrenia. We offer a holistic method of treatment, helping people feel better both mentally, physically, and spiritually. You don’t have to try and heal all by yourself. If you or someone you love is struggling with the symptoms of schizophrenia, don’t wait. Call us today at (949) 647-4090.
Melody is a highly skilled proactive clinical administrator, with more than 17 years of experience serving the community in the behavioral health field.
Her clinical management career started in 2011 as a compliance manager and program director. In 2018, she became an executive as chief clinical officer (CCO). She is a seasoned licensed marriage & family therapist.