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What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a complex chronic brain condition that affects a person’s ability to think, behave, and feel clearly. It affects 1 in every 100 people worldwide, and is a life-long mental health disorder with no known cure. Schizophrenia treatment is primarily focused on managing and mitigating symptoms.

How is Schizophrenia Diagnosed?

Schizophrenia is a complex mental health disorder. Symptoms are usually described as positive or negative. Positive symptoms are experienced in addition to reality and include delusions, hallucinations, or paranoid. Negative symptoms are exhibited by the loss of the ability to do something. Historically, schizophrenia diagnoses were sub-categorized into one of five types: 

  • Paranoid
  • Hebephrenic
  • Undifferentiated
  • Residual
  • Catatonic

While the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) no longer differentiates between subtypes of schizophrenia, they are still useful for helping to understand the layered and challenging nature of the disorder.

Paranoid Schizophrenia

Paranoid schizophrenia was the most frequently diagnosed form of the condition, and has occurrences of:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • Behavioral impairment
  • Echolalia
  • Flat affect

Hebephrenic Schizophrenia

Hebephrenic or disorganized schizophrenia is marked by the absence of hallucinations and delusions. Instead, individuals with hebephrenic experience disorganized speech and behavior. Symptoms may include:

  • Speech disturbances
  • Flat affect
  • Inappropriate facial expressions or emotive responses
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Trouble with daily activities

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

Undifferentiated schizophrenia was a catch-all term to diagnose someone who exhibited symptoms of two or more subcategories of schizophrenia. Today, it lets clinicians know that a wide variety of symptoms are present in the patient.

  • Trouble paying attention or focusing.
  • Difficulty using information recently learned.
  • Difficulty with decision making.

Residual Schizophrenia

Residual schizophrenia is usually indicated by the presence of primarily negative symptoms. It was a sub-category usually used for people who had some “left over” manifestation of schizophrenia, but whose primary symptoms had lessened in intensity and frequency. However, schizophrenic expression can cycle through periods of intensity and periods of inactivity, so this diagnosis is no longer used.

Residual symptoms include:

  • Psychomotor difficulties
  • Flat affect
  • Poor hygiene
  • Slow speech

Catatonic Schizophrenia

Catatonic Schizophrenia was once considered a sub-category, but is now a diagnostic criterion for a number of psychiatric and medical conditions. Symptoms include:

  • Mutism
  • Mimicking behavior
  • Waxy flexibility
  • Negativism
  • Catalepsy

Risk Factors That Can Contribute to Schizophrenia

Researchers believe that a combination of heredity and environment are at the root of the development of schizophrenia. Recent studies have suggested that genetics may play a larger role in the onset of the disorder. Trauma and stress can trigger the develop symptoms, particularly in individuals with a genetic predisposition for schizophrenia.

Genetics: Schizophrenia can run in your family. This does not mean if someone in your family has the disorder other family members will get it as well. A lot of different genetic studies suggest it is multiple genes that increase the development of schizophrenia.

Environment: Scientists believe environmental factors like poverty, exposure to viruses, nutritional problems before birth and stressful surroundings may play a role in the development of schizophrenia.

Brain Structure/Function: Scientists believe differences in brain function, structure, and interactions among neurotransmitters can contribute to the development of schizophrenia.

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Effective Treatment for Schizophrenia in West Palm Beach

While schizophrenia remains incurable finding the right treatment can help individuals lead productive and rewarding lives. Treatment options usually involve a combination of medication and psychosocial interventions. Neuroscience Research Institute is a renowned leader in schizophrenia care. We offer multiple ethical and innovative research-based methods to treat people living with schizophrenia.

Contact us today to talk to a member of our caring and compassionate team about schizophrenia treatment options. 

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