Schizophrenia is a diverse disorder characterized by a variety of symptoms. Disorganization is a difficult symptom to address.
Disorganization makes it difficult for a person to collect and organize their thoughts. It also significantly distorts speech, making communication extremely difficult. Inappropriate or erratic behavior can sometimes be a sign of disorganized schizophrenia. So, these symptoms might make it difficult for people with schizophrenia to collaborate with others and interact in social situations.
Disorganized schizophrenia, also known as hebephrenia, was once identified as a subtype of the disorder but is now just seen as a collection of behaviors or symptoms that many people with schizophrenia experience. Let’s see the signs, symptoms, and treatment for disorganized schizophrenia
Symptoms and Signs of Disorganized Schizophrenia
Each person with schizophrenia has a unique set of symptoms, which are classified into three categories: positive, negative, and cognitive symptoms.
#1. Positive Signs and Symptoms of Disorganized Schizophrenia
Some “positive” ideas or behavior—those that are not experienced by people who do not have disorganized schizophrenia—include the following:
- Speech or conduct that is disorganized
- Atypical motor behavior
#2. Negative symptoms of Disorganized Schizophrenia
Negative symptoms have a significant impact on quality of life and can be extremely difficult to manage. So, they are as follows:
- Expressions of depression in the spoken word
- Expression of emotion is difficult.
- a lack of enthusiasm for activities
#3. Cognitive Signs and Symptoms of Disoraganized Schizophrenia
These symptoms, like name, are associated with cognitive issues, such as:
- Having memory problems
- Concentration problems
- Having difficulty organizing your thoughts
Speech and behavior issues may be more severe in people with disorganized symptoms of schizophrenia.
Change in Schizophrenia Subtypes
The “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” or DSM, was developed to assist healthcare professionals in properly diagnosing people suffering from mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. This guidebook is updated regularly to reflect new research and clinical suggestions from renowned mental health specialists.
The DSM-4 classifies schizophrenia into various subcategories, including paranoid and disorganized. However, the current version of the DSM-5 has eliminated these classifications in favor of employing dimensions to reflect diversity in schizophrenia symptoms.
As a result, disorganization is now seen as a symptom rather than a subtype of the condition. Nonetheless, understanding disorganized symptoms is critical, especially whether you are a person living with schizophrenia or a loved one caring for someone with this disorder.
Causes of Disorganized Schizophrenia
The precise etiology of schizophrenia is unknown, but a variety of genetic and environmental factors, as well as their interactions, have been discovered to contribute to the disorder. Several genes, including DISC1, have been linked to an increased risk of schizophrenia. Life events, such as trauma, might also increase the risk.
According to one idea, the neurodevelopmental hypothesis, schizophrenia is caused by a breakdown in brain development early in life. Many people believe that because symptoms normally do not occur until adolescence or later, when the brain is mostly grown, this may be the key to understanding the illness. This, however, is simply one of several theories.
Excess dopamine, a neurotransmitter (or chemical messenger) that governs both motor and cognitive function, is linked to schizophrenia within the brain. However, numerous other neurotransmitters, like glutamate and GABA, could be the culprit (gamma-aminobutyric acid).
A person who exhibits two or more of the following symptoms fits the criteria for schizophrenia, according to the DSM-5. In addition, the symptoms must have been present for at least one month and involve at least one of the first three items on the list:
- Disorganized speech
- Behavior that is grossly disordered or catatonic
- Negative signs and symptoms
Individuals must also demonstrate reduced functioning at employment, in interpersonal relationships, and in self-care.
Schizophrenia can be diagnosed by a psychiatrist or another mental health practitioner. To rule out probable medical or neurologic causes to the symptoms, a physician may perform a physical exam, run diagnostic tests such as blood work, and arrange a brain scan such as an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
A mental health professional may consider the following conditions:
- Major depressive disorder accompanied by psychotic or catatonic symptoms
- Schizoaffective disorder is a kind of schizophrenia.
- The schizophreniform disease is a kind of schizophrenia.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety condition.
- Dysmorphic condition of the body
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
They must also establish that the symptoms are not the product of substance addiction or another medical issue. Once all of the test results have been evaluated and all other possible explanations have been eliminated, a conclusive diagnosis of schizophrenia can be made.
Treatment of Disorganized Schizophrenia
There are several drugs available for the treatment of disorganized schizophrenia.
There are two types of treatment for disorganized schizophrenia: first-generation antipsychotics and second-generation antipsychotics. Older drugs are referred to as “the first generation,” whereas newer treatments are referred to as “the second generation”. So, the older drugs include those that target the brain’s dopamine system. Other neurotransmitter systems are also affected by newer drugs.
The following first-generation antipsychotics (along with brand names) are used for the treatment of disorganized schizophrenia:
- Chlorpromazine is a kind of antihistamine (Thorazine)
- Fluphenazine is a kind of antihistamine (Prolixin)
- Haloperidol is a prescription medication (Haldol)
- Loxapine is a kind of antidepressant (Loxitane)
- Perphenazine is a kind of antihistamine (Trilafon)
- Thiothixene is a kind of thiothixene (Navane)
- Trifluoperazine is a trifluoperazine derivative (Stelazine)
The following second-generation antipsychotics (along with brand names) are used to treat schizophrenia:
- Aripiprazole is a type of antidepressant medication (Abilify)
- Asenapine is a type of medication (Saphris)
- Clozapine is a type of antipsychotic medication (Clozaril)
- Iloperidone is a type of antidepressant medication (Fanapt)
- Lurasidone is a prescription medication (Latuda)
- Olanzapine is an antidepressant medication (Zyprexa)
- Paliperidone is an antidepressant medication (Invega)
- Risperidone is an antidepressant medication (Risperdal)
- Quetiapine is a type of anti-anxiety medication (Seroquel)
- Ziprasidone is a prescription medication (Geodon)
Clozapine, a novel second-generation antipsychotic medicine, is the only antipsychotic licensed by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of refractory schizophrenia (resistance to treatment) (FDA). It is also the only one that has been shown to lessen suicide risk. However, it is accompanied by several medical hazards.
While drugs can be extremely helpful, even newer medications are frequently associated with undesirable side effects such as weight gain. Hence, some people may be put off by these negative effects and decide not to take the drugs.
There are now medications that do not need to be taken daily, which may be a suitable alternative for people who do not want to or cannot take tablets regularly. These are known as long-acting injectables. Also, they can only be given by a healthcare expert. They might be found in your system for several weeks. So, to find the best way to manage disorganized schizophrenia symptoms, it is critical to discuss all possible treatment options with a doctor.
People suffering from schizophrenia may benefit from psychotherapy, also known as talk therapy. Mental health professionals who have been trained to work with people who have this condition may be able to provide unique tools and strategies to help manage symptoms. Different therapeutic approaches, such as the ones listed below, can be tailored to address the most difficult-to-treat behaviors and symptoms:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): Assists people in understanding how their distorted thoughts contribute to their symptoms and behaviors.
- Supportive psychotherapy: Assists a person in processing their experiences and coping with schizophrenia.
- Cognitive enhancement treatment (CET): Promotes cognitive performance and confidence in cognitive abilities through computer-based brain training and group sessions.
When to Seek Assistance
Many persons with disorganized schizophrenia can manage their symptoms with the assistance of their healthcare providers. However, some people may continue to struggle with particular behaviors or symptoms. They may also stop taking their prescription without informing anyone. So, this can put them and their loved ones in a stressful scenario.
It is critical to understand when to seek emergency assistance. If a person with schizophrenia is in immediate danger of harming themselves or others, a loved one should phone 911. If they are having suicidal thoughts, they should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 to obtain help from a certified counselor.
The diagnosis of a mental health disease such as schizophrenia can be extremely distressing. Many persons with schizophrenia can work and engage in social contacts. This is depending on the severity of their symptoms and how they respond to treatments. However, the stigma attached to this ailment may make it difficult for people to accept a diagnosis and adhere to their treatment plan.
Here are some suggestions to help you manage your illness:
#1. Managing stress:
Because stress can provoke psychosis and exacerbate schizophrenia symptoms, it is critical to keep it under control. Don’t take on more than you’re capable of. Also, to stay calm and stress-free, practice mindfulness or meditation.
#2. Getting enough sleep:
If you’re taking medicine, you’ll probably need more sleep than the typical eight hours. Many people with schizophrenia have difficulty sleeping, although lifestyle adjustments such as frequent exercise and limiting coffee can help.
#3. Avoiding alcohol and drugs:
It is critical to avoid using alcohol and drugs. Substance abuse reduces the effectiveness of medication and also worsens symptoms.
#4. Maintaining connections:
Including friends and family in your treatment plan will help you heal faster. People suffering from schizophrenia frequently struggle in social circumstances, so surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.
There are numerous resources available to assist persons suffering from schizophrenia, including:
- The Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (SARDAA)
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Support groups in your community
Helping a Loved One
People suffering from schizophrenia may require a great deal of assistance from family and friends. Family members or friends may need to remind a loved one to take their medication, attend planned medical visits, and maintain their health.
So, here are some pointers for carers of people with disorganized schizophrenia:
#1. Respond quietly:
Because your loved one believes the hallucinations and delusions are genuine, explain calmly that you see things differently. Respect others while refusing to tolerate harmful or unacceptable behavior.
#2. Pay attention to triggers:
You can assist a family member or friend in understanding—and attempting to avoid—situations that trigger their symptoms, induce a relapse, or disturb routine activities.
#3. Assist in ensuring that medications are administered exactly as prescribed:
Many people wonder if they still need the drug when they feel better or if the side effects bother them. So, encourage your loved ones to take their medication regularly to prevent symptoms from returning or worsening.
#4. Understanding lack of awareness:
Your family member or acquaintance may be oblivious to the fact that they suffer from schizophrenia. So, show your support by assisting them in remaining safe, receiving counseling, and taking the recommended drugs.
#5. Assist in abstaining from drugs and alcohol:
These substances have been linked to the worsening of schizophrenia symptoms and the onset of psychosis. If a loved one has a substance use disorder, they must get treatment.
Schizophrenia has no treatment and is a chronic (long-term) disorder. Caregivers must remember to take care of their own health as well as that of their loved ones and to seek help when necessary.
Don’t be afraid to contact organizations and facilities that can assist you, such as the ones listed below:
- NAMI Family Support Group is a support group for families affected by mental illness.
- Caregiver Action Network is a non-profit organization that advocates for caregivers
- Alliance of Family Caregivers
Disorganized Schizophrenia FAQ’s
What are examples of disorganized behavior?
Disorganized behavior can present itself in a number of ways. It can include unusual or weird behavior such as smiling, laughing, or talking to oneself, as well as being preoccupied with/responding to internal stimuli. It can include meaningless or ambiguous behavior or movements.
How common is disorganized schizophrenia in the US?
Schizophrenia is not a common condition, although it can be severe and chronic. Schizophrenia affects around 1% of the world’s population, and approximately 1.2 percent of Americans (3.2 million) suffer the illness.
What does a schizophrenic do all day?
Previous EMA research has indicated that people with schizophrenia spectrum disorder spend more time alone, and when they are among others, they report less pleasure and a greater desire to be alone.