5 Types of Schizophrenia

Medically Reviewed By Marc S. Lener, MD
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Before 2013, medical professionals categorized schizophrenia into five main types. These were paranoid, disorganized, residual, undifferentiated, and catatonic schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental health condition affecting approximately 1 in 300 people worldwide. This includes around 1.5 million adults in the United States alone.

Schizophrenia is a type of psychosis, which means that it affects your relationship with reality. It can cause you to see and believe things that are not real.

This article looks at the different types of schizophrenia, their main symptoms, and their treatment options.

What are the different types of schizophrenia?

Young man looking away in thought or concern
Lucas Ottone/Stocksy United

Doctors have historically used types of schizophrenia to help with diagnoses. It is worth noting that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5) dropped the use of these schizophrenia types in 2013.

However, there are still references to these types in existing literature, and it may be helpful to consider these historical classifications when considering the different ways in which the condition can appear.

The different types of schizophrenia were:

View our schizophrenia hub for more information about the condition.

Symptoms of all types of schizophrenia

Although certain types of schizophrenia have their own symptoms, there are a number of symptoms that are common across all types. These include:

  • hallucinations, which occur when you see and hear things that do not exist
  • delusions, wherein you experience false beliefs not based on reality
  • muddled thoughts and disorganized thinking or speech
  • unusual motor behavior
  • negative symptoms, such as a loss of motivation or concentration

A diagnosis of schizophrenia requires at least one of the following to be present:

Learn more about the symptoms of schizophrenia here.

Paranoid schizophrenia

Paranoid schizophrenia was the most common type of schizophrenia. It was usually characterized by prominent hallucinations or delusions. Unlike with other types of schizophrenia, negative symptoms — such as feeling down or lacking motivation — may not have been as present.

As with schizophrenia generally and other mental health conditions, medical professionals have not yet determined a clear-cut cause. They must always consider clinical symptoms and signs to make a diagnosis.

Learn more about paranoid schizophrenia here.

Disorganized schizophrenia

Also known as hebephrenic schizophrenia, disorganized schizophrenia typically emerged in teenagers and young adults. Unlike paranoid schizophrenia, this type of schizophrenia was usually characterizable by prominently disorganized thoughts and speech.

Other symptoms of disorganized schizophrenia included:

  • unemotional facial expressions and mannerisms
  • finding it difficult for people to understand you
  • unpredictable behaviors, such as irresponsible pranks or exaggerated giggling

Treatment for disorganized schizophrenia typically included a combination of antipsychotic medications and talk therapies.

Residual schizophrenia

Residual schizophrenia typically occurred following a history of psychosis. People who had this type may now only experience the negative symptoms of schizophrenia.

Negative symptoms of schizophrenia include:

  • a lack of motivation
  • slow movements
  • changes in sleeping patterns
  • inadequate personal hygiene
  • difficulties setting goals
  • becoming withdrawn
  • issues with concentrating

Treatments for residual schizophrenia, as with other types of schizophrenia, included antipsychotic medications and psychological therapies. Some success was had specifically with music therapy, though more research is needed.

Undifferentiated schizophrenia

Undifferentiated schizophrenia was a catch-all type of schizophrenia for individuals whose presentation crossed over into different types of schizophrenia without being easily differentiated.

Treatment was mainly with antipsychotic medications and therapy. It is always important to continue this course of treatment even after symptoms reduce to prevent them from reemerging.

Catatonic schizophrenia

Catatonic schizophrenia was the rarest type of schizophrenia. It was distinguishable by unusual movements, which could frequently change between high levels of activity and stillness. Some people who had catatonic schizophrenia do not speak at all.

Before the DSM-5 dropped the different types of schizophrenia, catatonic schizophrenia was moved out of the umbrella of schizophrenia into its own clinical entity of catatonia. This was because it could apply to a broader range of mental health conditions.

When to contact a doctor

If you have symptoms of schizophrenia, contact your doctor as soon as possible. The earlier a doctor can diagnose it, the better your chance that treatment will help you manage the condition.

How do doctors diagnose schizophrenia?

To receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia, you must have at least two of the main symptoms. These include:

  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • disorganized speech
  • disorganized or catatonic behaviors
  • negative symptoms, such as a loss of motivation and concentration

At least one of your symptoms must be either:

  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • disorganized speech
  • disorganized or catatonic behaviors

Learn more about how doctors diagnose schizophrenia here.

How do doctors treat schizophrenia?

Once you have received a diagnosis, you will usually receive a combination of antipsychotic medications and psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy.

This combination is tailored to the needs of the individual and the presentation of the condition. Some people respond better to medications, while others find therapy more helpful.

Schizophrenia is long term, and so is the treatment. It is important that you continue treatment even after your symptoms have started to subside. Otherwise, you may experience a relapse.

Contact your doctor if you are currently receiving medications or therapy for schizophrenia and you would like to discuss other options.

Learn more about schizophrenia

Summary

Schizophrenia was historically categorizable into five types: paranoid, disorganized, residual, undifferentiated, and catatonic. However, medical professionals no longer use these classifications during diagnosis.

Some schizophrenia literature still references these types. It can also be helpful to refer to the older types to help with understanding this complex condition.

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Medical Reviewer: Marc S. Lener, MD
Last Review Date: 2022 May 27
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