Disorganized Schizophrenic

Back

Disorganized schizophrenia is one of the subtypes of this complex and chronic psychiatric disorder. It is sometimes referred to as hebephrenic schizophrenia. The primary symptoms include problems with thought processes and speech, behavior, and emotional expression and response.

 

Characteristics and Symptoms

There are three prominent symptoms which are characteristic of disorganized schizophrenia:

  • Disorganized speech
  • Disorganized behavior
  • Flat or inappropriate affect (emotional expression and response)

Disorganized speech may involve several different things. The person may slip from one topic to the next, even in midsentence. When answering a question, the response may be only vaguely relevant, or it may have nothing to do with the question at all. If the person’s speech is severely disorganized, it may sound like nonsense – gibberish. In clinical terms this is often referred to as “word salad”. S/he may make up words, which are called “neologisms”.

Disorganized speech is a result of abnormal or illogical thought processes. The person has a difficult time organizing his/her thoughts and it shows up in his/her speech. Sometimes people with disorganized schizophrenia exhibit what is referred to as “thought blocking”. When this occurs, the person may suddenly stop right in the middle of a sentence – as if the thought abruptly disappeared midstream.

Disorganized behavior often involves the inability or motivation to initiate a goal-oriented task, or to complete the task once it is started. In more severe cases, the disorganized schizophrenic is unable to do very basic things, like fix a meal, or take a shower. S/he may dress bizarrely, such as wearing multiple layers of clothing on a hot summer day, or engage in inappropriate or bizarre behavior. It is not unusual for someone with this type of schizophrenia to neglect personal hygiene and have a very unkempt appearance.

Flat affect means the person shows or expresses very little or no emotions at all. S/he often has a blank look on his/her face. His/her speech may be a monotone. Inappropriate affect is exhibited when they show emotion which is out of context. They may be talking about something and suddenly laugh or act silly for no apparent reason.

 

Additional Diagnostic Criteria

In order to meet the diagnosis of schizophrenia, regardless of the type, these other criteria must also be met:

  • A marked decline in functioning, after the onset of symptoms, in at least one of the primary aspects of the person’s life (e.g., work, school, relationships, self-care).
  • Signs of the disorder are present continuously for a period of at least 6 months. For at least one month of that time period (less if they subside due to effective treatment), the active-phase symptoms (e.g. delusions, hallucinations, extremely disorganized behavior, etc.) must be present.
  • Schizoaffective disorder (a disorder similar to schizophrenia but with prominent mood episodes) or other mood disorder have been ruled out.

 

Other Characteristics

Individuals who present with disorganized schizophrenia may also exhibit other odd or unusual characteristics, such as grimacing, standing or sitting with an odd type of posture, withdrawing socially, and moving about in a clumsy manner. S/he may experience delusions or hallucinations, but they are not prominent. They also often have a difficult time with their school or work performance. Individuals with disorganized schizophrenia are often unable to live independently.

Written By Dr. Cheryl Lane, PsyD


View as PDF


Back


The Have I Got A Problem website is a free online resource to help people better understand any issues or concerns they may have about mental health or addiction. The website includes resources specifically focused to; general Mental Health, Depression, Stress, Anxiety, Insecurities, Self-harm Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Anger Management, Eating Disorders, Coping, general Addiction, Alcohol, Smoking, Gambling, Drugs, Cocaine, Heroin, Marijuana (Cannabis) Ecstasy, PCP, Mephedrone, Ketamine & Crystal Meth.

The site was created to give the public information to help them understand mental health and addiction issues and to assist people in making better informed decisions about their life and personal choices.

www.haveigotaproblem.com was created and is run by 'Advising Communities’, which is a UK registered charity (Charity No. 1061055)

Quotes

"Creative people, like those with psychotic illnesses, tend to see the world differently to most. It's like looking at a shattered mirror."

Mark

MoreSend us your Quotes

Tips & Hints

  • Spot the signs of an acute schizophrenic episode

    Learning to recognise the signs that you’re becoming unwell can help you manage your illness. These signs can include losing your app...
    More
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol

    While alcohol and drugs may provide short-term relief from your symptoms of schizophrenia, they are likely to make your symptoms worse ...
    More
  • Take your medication

    It is important to take your medication as prescribed, even if you don’t start to feel better immediately. Continuous medication can ...
    More
  • Have regular reviews

    As part of the care program approach, you will be in contact with your healthcare team regularly. A good relationship with the team mea...
    More
  • Self-care

    Self-care is an integral part of daily life. It means that you take responsibility for your own health and wellbeing with support from ...
    More
  • More Tips & Hints