Schizophrenia - Description

Schizophrenia Description 2647
Photo by: Nomad_Soul

Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder that affects millions of people worldwide. By some estimates, 1 percent of the world's population may be schizophrenic. People diagnosed with schizophrenia make up about half of all patients in psychiatric hospitals and may occupy as many as one quarter of the world's hospital beds.

Schizophrenia can affect people of any age, race, sex, social class, level of education, or ethnic background. Slightly more men than women develop the condition. Most patients are diagnosed in their late teens or early twenties, but the disorder can appear at any time in a person's life. Schizophrenia is rarely diagnosed in children, though it has been reported in children as young as five years of age.

Psychiatrists today recognize five subtypes of schizophrenia.

Paranoid Schizophrenia

Patients diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia tend to suffer from delusions and hallucinations. A delusion is a belief about the world that is not consistent with the facts. For instance, a patient may believe he or she is someone other than who he or she really is. A patient suffering from a paranoid delusion may believe, unrealistically, that someone intends to do the patient harm.

Hallucinations often take the form of hearing imaginary voices and a patient may believe that he or she is receiving messages from a supernatural or unknown source.

Although people with paranoid schizophrenia have relatively normal emotions and cognitive (thinking) functions, compared to those who suffer other forms of schizophrenia, their delusions and hallucinations, put them at high risk for violent or suicidal behavior.

Disorganized Schizophrenia

Patients with disorganized schizophrenia have confused, disorganized patterns of speech, thought, and behavior. They may act silly or withdraw from the world around them. At one time, disorganized schizophrenia was called hebephrenia (pronounced HEE-buh-FREN-ee-uh).

Catatonic behavior:
Behavior characterized by muscular tightness or rigidity and lack of response to the environment.
Computed tomography (CT) scan:
A technique in which X-ray photographs of a particular part of the body are taken from different angles. The pictures are then fed into a computer that creates a single composite image of the internal (inside) part of the body. CT scans provide an important tool in the diagnosis of brain and spinal disorders, cancer and other conditions.
Computerized axial tomography (CAT) scan:
Another name for a computed tomography (CT) scan.
A fixed, false belief that is resistant to reason or factual disproof.
Depot dosage:
A form of medication that can be stored in the patient's body for several days or weeks.
A perception of objects (or sounds) that have no reality. Seeing or hearing something that does not actually exist.
Chemicals that carry electrical messages between nerve cells.
Excessive or irrational suspicion or distrust of others.
Psychotic disorder:
A mental disorder characterized by delusions, hallucinations, and other symptoms indicating a loss of contact with the real world.

Catatonic Schizophrenia

Catatonic schizophrenia is characterized by abnormal types of posture and movement. A patient may stand or walk in peculiar patterns, may repeat certain motions over and over again, or become rigid and unmoving for long periods of time.

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

This category is reserved for patients who show some symptoms of schizophrenia but do not fit into any of the three categories described above.

Residual Schizophrenia

Patients in this category have had at least one schizophrenic episode but no longer display the most severe symptoms of the first three types of schizophrenia.

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic:

The Content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of Content found on the Website.