What Are The Different Types Of Schizophrenia?

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Symptoms Of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder with many different kinds of symptoms. There are different subtypes of schizophrenia recognized by professionals. Each subtype of schizophrenia has its own features and symptoms. Here is a list of the different subtypes of schizophrenia:

Catatonic subtype

People with catatonic subtype schizophrenia will show two extremes in their overall personality. They will either:

  • Catatonic – This means they will show limited movement and activity. There will be unusual behavior, like being completely immobile and non-communicative. It will seem as though the person is frozen and non-responsive.
  • Excited – This is called catatonic excitement. There may be behaviors on the other side of the spectrum from catatonic symptoms. Such behaviors include unusual movements of the face, limbs, and posture. A person with schizophrenia may also seem to nonsensically speak. Such speech behavior includes arguing with oneself, counting, or repeating a sentence. Those with catatonic excitement will also engage in mimicking behaviors. With these behaviors the patient will mimic the moves and words of other people.

Those with catatonic subtype will appear to be out of touch with reality. They will present themselves in ways that seem contorted or unnatural to others.

Disorganized subtype

People who suffer from disorganized subtype schizophrenia experience disorganized thoughts. The disorganized thoughts will lead to erratic behavior. This could manifest in different ways, including difficulty or disinterest in communicating. Emotional instability is also common in this type of schizophrenia. The emotional processing capabilities will be diminished. This results in a flat affect. It also results in inappropriate behavior and emotions in different situations.

Paranoid subtype

Paranoid subtype is the most well known form of schizophrenia. People with paranoia subtype schizophrenia experience:

  • Hallucinations – Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not real.
  • Delusions – Believing things that are not real.

As a result of the hallucinations and delusions the patient will experience paranoia. The paranoia can manifest in several different ways. Some may become paranoid of close friends and family. Others may begin to believe conspiracy theories. It is even possible for some to believe they are being sent secret messages through innocuous objects. Such objects can include television, radio, newspaper, or innocent inquiries from others. They will experience psychotic symptoms and fall out of touch with reality.

Undifferentiated subtype

People diagnosed with undifferentiated subtype will experience symptoms of schizophrenia. However, they do not fit the criteria for a specific subtype. This means that there will not be one symptom that dominates over other symptoms.

Residual subtype

If a person goes without experiencing symptoms for a period of one year they may receive a diagnosis of residual schizophrenia. This is another term for a schizophrenia case being in remission.

Please note that diagnosing schizophrenia has changed in recent years. Doctors and mental health professionals no longer use subtypes as specifiers. Instead, they determine the diagnosis based on a spectrum. Subtypes are still utilized by pinpointing the most affecting symptom. Professionals may use the most affecting symptom in the diagnosis, such as auditory hallucinations.


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