Of the various mental disorders that have been named, classified and chronicled by medical community, schizophrenia is one major disease. It is often difficult to diagnose a person with this disease, and the process of diagnosis is a method of ruling out possibilities of other mental disorders. The symptoms of mood swings, hallucinations, being paranoid along with other psychotic behavior could also be indicative of other disorders like schizoaffective disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Alzheimer’s, and other diseases or conditions. Once a person is diagnosed with schizophrenia, a further classification is made based on many factors including the symptoms exhibited.
Most of the disorders where symptoms similar to schizophrenic disorder are found are:
Head injury and trauma
Drug-interaction (adverse effects of medicines)
Thyroid and other hormonal deficiencies
Cocaine-opium-marijuana and other types of drug abuse
As previously mentioned, diagnosis of schizophrenia is a process of elimination. It is important to look for evidence of other disorders which could actually be the underlying causes of the psychosis.
If the symptoms of psychotic behavior, depression, slurred and disorganized speech, loss of motivation occur for no specific cause, and no underlying disease could be associated with the symptoms, the patient is considered schizophrenic, and psychiatric treatment begins.
What are the types of schizophrenia?
The various types of schizophrenia are Catatonic, Disorganized, Paranoid, Undifferentiated and Residual. Each type will be discussed below.
Overlapped by the widest range of behavioral abnormalities, a catatonic schizophrenic person will have any of the following disorder symptoms over a prolonged time period (at least over six months):
A person with Catatonic schizophrenia may gradually withdraw from social gatherings, sudden loss of cognitive recognition, stupor, and personality changes. The changes in personality may change one’s mannerisms. One’s behavior could become bizarre and even violent. The individual may also make grimaces with his/her facial expressions. The person may also have changes in posture. He/she may mimic the movements of others; this is called echopraxia. A person with catatonic schizophrenia may also be hyperactive without any apparent cause. With this type of schizophrenia, the person may have sudden attacks of muscle immobility. He/she may also have negative thoughts and behavior.
This type is characterized by prominent incoherence in speech and behavior. Most persons suffering with this disorder lack the ability to express appropriate emotions, and they falter in presenting their feelings. If the symptoms exhibited are not enough to be classified as catatonic, the person is termed to be suffering with disorganized schizophrenia.
This is often the easiest type to treat with a good chance of recovery from the symptoms expressed. A schizophrenic person who reports hearing voices, sounds and conversations that aren’t really happening are having auditory hallucinations. The auditory hallucinations cause the individual to become paranoid. He/she may believe someone is trying to cause harm or ill will towards him/her.
This type of schizophrenia is the category in which someone is placed when the person doesn’t fit into any of the above types.
If a person has once been diagnosed with schizophrenia, but no longer exhibits the severe symptoms of any of the other four categories, he/she is considered to be a residual schizophrenic. The person with Residual schizophrenia should be carefully monitored for schizophrenic behavior. Sometimes a residual schizophrenic can have episodes of schizophrenic behaviors that resemble one of the other forms.
There is no cure for schizophrenia. Once you are diagnosed with this disorder, you can be treated and you can improve greatly. You may improve to the point where you have no obvious symptoms, but there is always a chance that you could have attacks of schizophrenic behavior that fit into one of the other categories.