Subtypes of Schizophrenia

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There are currently 5 subtypes of schizophrenia included in the DSM-IV: paranoid, disorganized, catatonic, undifferentiated, and residual. A person is diagnosed with a subtype of schizophrenia based on their most prominent symptoms. Because symptoms can change over the course of the disease, subtype diagnosis may change as well. The work group charged with making recommendations schizophrenia in the DSM-5 has recommended that the subtypes not be included in the new edition.

Paranoid Schizophrenia

  • Characteristic feature: Hallucinations and delusions, typically auditory hallucinations and delusions of persecution or conspiracy. These hallucinations and delusions usually revolve around a consistent theme.
  • Paranoid schizophrenics tend to have a higher level of functioning than other schizophrenics, with less disordered thinking and behavior. This type of schizophrenia is often less obvious to observers.

Disorganized Schizophrenia

  • Characteristic feature: Disorganization of thought processes, often with emotional impairment and difficulty communicating effectively. Hallucinations and delusions are either absent or less pronounced than in paranoid schizophrenia.
  • Disorganized schizophrenia usually develops gradually, at a younger age than other subtypes of schizophrenia. Disorganized schizophrenics may have significant difficulty with tasks related to daily living, such as bathing and dressing.

Catatonic Schizophrenia

  • Characteristic feature: Disturbances in movement, either a dramatic reduction in voluntary movement or a dramatic increase in activity.
  • Catatonic schizophrenia is a very rare subtype, in which people may assume odd positions or exhibit symptoms of echolalia (repeating words said by others) or echopraxia (mimicking movements).

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

  • Characteristic feature: Symptoms of schizophrenia, including positive symptoms like hallucinations or delusions, which are not specific enough to be classified as a particular subtype.
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia may be diagnosed in people with fluctuating or atypical symptoms.

Residual Schizophrenia

  • Characteristic feature: Schizophrenic symptoms, including positive symptoms, which are less severe than experienced in acute schizophrenia.

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