Not everyone living with schizophrenia experiences it in the same way. It may depend on the subtype, and disorganized schizophrenia is one of them.
Schizophrenia is a formal mental health diagnosis. Yet, there’s more than one type of schizophrenia, and this categorization depends on the symptoms you may be living with.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) no longer
Subtypes of schizophrenia include:
- paranoid schizophrenia: schizophrenia symptoms with intense persecutory delusions
- catatonic schizophrenia: schizophrenia symptoms with catatonia
- hebephrenic or disorganized schizophrenia: schizophrenia symptoms with disorganized features
The DSM-5 establishes the formal symptoms of the condition. These include:
Although schizophrenia can be a misunderstood and stigmatized condition, with professional support, it’s possible to manage symptoms and live a fulfilling life.
Disorganized schizophrenia is sometimes referred to as hebephrenic schizophrenia because its onset is usually between ages 15 and 25. “Hebephrenia” is rooted in the Greek word for “adolescence.”
Symptoms that may be considered “disorganized” include:
- incoherent speech or speech that switches quickly from topic to topic
- flat facial expressions or those that aren’t appropriate to the situation
- showing little to no emotion in gestures and tone of voice
- unpredictable reactions (for example, laughing in a serious situation)
- disorganized thought processes and behaviors that affect work, school, hygiene, and relationships
Someone with disorganized schizophrenia might also experience delusions and hallucinations, and other symptoms of schizophrenia.
Before schizophrenia is diagnosed, a health professional may want to rule out other potential explanations for the symptoms, such as:
Formal symptoms of schizophrenia
To receive a schizophrenia diagnosis, someone must persistently experience two or more of the following symptoms for at least a month:
- incoherent speech or rambling
- severely disorganized behavior in one or more aspects
- negative symptoms like avolition, lack of pleasure, blunted affect, or alogia
Clinicians also need to confirm:
- presence of one or more of the first three symptoms (delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized speech)
- these symptoms have a significant impact on one or more major areas of the person’s life (work, school, relationships)
- continuous signs of disturbance over a period of six months
People with schizophrenia are prone to disorganized speech, thinking, and behavior. This shows up differently in different people, and not everybody with schizophrenia will behave the same.
Disorganized means that there’s no consistent pattern or that it’s difficult for you to formulate and express ideas, or behave accordingly to the situation.
When you live with hebephrenic schizophrenia, you’re more likely to experience these disorganized symptoms.
- difficulty followiig conversations
- hard time using and ordering words correctly to form coherence sentences
- tendency to repeat words or ideas
- coming up with made-up words
- answering questions with unrelated information
- jumping from one topic to another quickly
- incoherent writing
- difficulty understanding what others are expressing
- hard time reading or listening, or following an idea
- low ability to organize thoughts and ideas
- difficulty following and completing tasks
- forgetting and losing things
- difficulty creating and following a plan or routine
- difficulty focusing or remembering things
- pacing or wandering around aimlessly
- difficulty following tasks like maintaining hygiene, getting dressed, or cleaning
- childlike or regressive behavior
- social withdrawal
- difficulty attending school or work
- emotionless facial expressions or mannerisms
Yes. All subtypes of schizophrenia can be treated with a combination of:
- medications (particularly antipsychotic medication)
- talk therapy, particularly cognitive behavioral therapy, social skills training, and social cognition training
- social support from family and community
- self-care strategies
- hospitalization (if and when needed)
The treatment plan for disorganized schizophrenia will vary from person to person depending on your specific circumstances and needs.
Although schizophrenia can’t be cured, it’s possible to live a fulfilling, happy life with the condition because symptoms can be managed with professional support.
Symptoms may re-emerge from time to time, but sticking with professional treatment can help you tremendously.
Although the DSM-5 doesn’t distinguish between different types of schizophrenia, some clinicians categorize the condition depending on the most impactful symptoms.
Disorganized schizophrenia is also called hebephrenic schizophrenia because it usually develops during the teen years.
Disorganized schizophrenia is associated with symptoms like disorganized speech, thinking, and behavior. These can make it difficult to carry out daily tasks and communicate with others.
Hebephrenic schizophrenia can also present with other symptoms like lack of motivation, no emotional expression, hallucinations, and delusions.
Disorganized schizophrenia can’t be cured, but all types of schizophrenia can be treated. This means you can manage your symptoms so they don’t affect your life.
Treatment for schizophrenia typically includes:
- talk therapy
- self-care strategies