Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder, characterized by hallucinations, delusional thinking, a distorted perception of reality, poor cognitive skills, and disorganized speech or behavior. Affecting roughly 1% of the population in the United States, schizophrenia is characterized by hallucinations, delusional thinking, a distorted perception of reality, poor cognitive skills, and disorganized speech or behavior.
The causes of schizophrenia are similar to those of other psychiatric disorders; genetics and family history, environmental factors, and changes in brain chemistry. Common misconceptions and stigmas about people with schizophrenia are that they tend to become violent and have split personalities.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness states that schizoaffective disorder affects about 0.3% of the population. Men and women experience schizoaffective disorder at a similar rate but men develop the illness at a younger age. The National Institutes of Health estimates approximately 1.1% of American adults will be diagnosed with schizophrenia at some point in their life. Schizophrenia can occur at all ages but tends to occur in the late teens to the early 20s for men, and the late 20s to early 30s for women. Experiencing schizophrenia at ages younger than 12 or older than 40 is very uncommon.
There are five different types of schizophrenia; all of which are determined by the symptoms shown by the patient.
Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common subtype of schizophrenia in the United States and typically reveals itself during a person’s teenage or young adulthood years. Paranoid schizophrenia is similar to psychosis and is characterized by delusional thoughts such as someone is out to harm you, or a loved one will abandon you.
A patient is known to have a schizoaffective disorder when they’re struggling with not only schizophrenia but also with co-occurring depression or bipolar disorder. For that reason, a person with schizoaffective will show a wide variety of symptoms such as symptoms of mania, symptoms of depression, and general symptoms associated with schizophrenia. Symptoms schizoaffective individuals display with regularity include:
- Depressive Symptoms – Persistent feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, sadness, guilt, or suicide. Severe lack of energy and takes no interest in activities that used to bring joy.
- Mania Symptoms – Increased activity in all aspects of life, rapid thoughts, increased heart rate, sleeps less, becomes easily agitated or distracted, talks rapidly.
- General symptoms related to schizophrenia – Delusional thinking, hallucinations, disorganized movements, lack of facial expressions.
Catatonic schizophrenia is a rare form of schizophrenia with symptoms that are more recognizable in a person’s physical actions rather than their thoughts. Individuals with catatonic schizophrenia are often mistaken to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Individuals with catatonic schizophrenia often have symptoms that include:
- Excessive movement with no purpose or exhibits a strange posture.
- Acts as if they’re in a stupor and are unresponsive to those around them.
- Imitates the words of other people or makes no sense in their speech.
- Displays unwarranted fits of anger.
Disorganized schizophrenia is commonly referred to as “hebephrenia” and is characterized by a schizophrenic individual that displays disorganized speech, thinking and behavior. Disorganized schizophrenia is seen most often in teens and young adults between the ages of 15 and 25. People displaying this subtype of schizophrenia often have difficulty with their cognitive skills such as memory, motor skills, attention span and intelligence.
Residual schizophrenia is the mildest form of schizophrenia characteristic when positive symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia (hallucinations, delusional thinking) are not actively displayed in a patient although they will still be displaying negative symptoms (no expression of emotions, strange speech). An individual with residual schizophrenia could be transitioning from an acute phase of schizophrenia to remission or vice versa. Residual schizophrenia is not cyclical and can disappear or reappear at any time.
Schizophrenia is best treated using a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The medications most often used to treat schizophrenia include antipsychotic drugs or neuroleptics like Prolixin, Loxapine, and Thorazine. The most ideal treatment options for schizophrenia include cognitive behavioral therapy, cognitive enhancement therapy (also called cognitive remediation therapy), social skills training, and individual psychotherapy. After an individual with schizophrenia receives these types of treatments for several months, they become better equipped to manage their symptoms, especially as they age out of young adulthood.
Living well despite having schizophrenia is possible. Pasadena Villa’s long-term intensive residential treatment programs are ideal for individuals struggling with schizophrenia and other related psychotic disorders. Our intensive residential treatment programs typically range from 3-5 months followed by 6-9 months of transitional and community-based housing.
To learn more about our trademarked Social Integration Model or to schedule a complimentary assessment, please call the Pasadena Villa admissions office at 877-845-5235 or fill out our contact form. We currently offer treatment at two residential locations in both Orlando, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee, and outpatient services in Raleigh, North Carolina. Pasadena Villa accepts most major insurance plans and gives its clients the ability to pay privately.