Everything you need to know about disorganized schizophrenia

Disorganized schizophrenia is a former subtype of schizophrenia, a chronic mental disorder. Hebephrenia or disorganized schizophrenia refers to illogical and incoherent behaviors and thoughts associated with schizophrenia.


However, hebephrenia is not any longer considered a specific type of schizophrenia. The alteration in status happened because keeping the various types separate didn’t appear to assist with diagnosis. Since 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) have defined schizophrenia as one condition, which can or cannot include disorganization.


Fast facts on disorganized schizophrenia:

  • Schizophrenia can be a severe, lifelong mental disorder that will involve disorganized and illogical thinking and behavior.

  • Disorganized schizophrenia, or hebephrenia, is no longer a subtype, but since 2013, it’s been included under the heading’ schizophrenia.’

  • Treatment is out there, and if an individual adheres thereto, it can enable them to deal with lifestyle.

  • The complications of schizophrenia are often severe, but support from family and friends may help an individual avoid a number of these.

Symptoms of disorganized schizophrenia

The signs of schizophrenia fall under the subsequent key symptom categories of all psychotic disorders. The disorganized schizophrenia symptoms include:

  • Delusions: The patient has false beliefs of guilt, persecution, or grandeur. It’s quite uncommon for people with schizophrenia to explain plots against them, or to believe they need extraordinary powers and gifts. Some patients may hide to guard themselves against an imagined persecutor.

  • Disorganized thoughts and speech: The patient is unable to make coherent or logical thoughts, and this is often signified by disorganized speech. During a conversation, the individual is unable to stay on the topic. They leap from one topic to another. In severe cases, speech could also be perceived by others as unintelligible garble.

  • Hallucinations: These involve feeling, seeing, tasting, or smelling things that aren’t there. Hearing voices is the commonest hallucination.

  • There can also be unprovoked agitation or sexual behavior publicly. Excessive movement, bizarre actions, freezing in situ, or a scarcity of response to instructions or conversation are other ways this symptom can manifest.

  • Negative symptoms: This refers to the lack to function normally and may include symptoms like a scarcity of private hygiene, social withdrawal, and an inability to point out emotions like avoiding eye contact or speaking during a monotone voice.


Causes and risk factors

The disorganized schizophrenia causes include:

  • Chemicals within the brain like the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin – could also be involved within the onset of schizophrenia.

  • The condition might be caused by faulty cell-to-cell signaling within the brain, consistent with 2009 research published within the journal Molecular Psychiatry. Scientists within the study identified 49 genes that employ differently within the brains of schizophrenia patients compared to healthy controls.

Risk factors

The risk factors for schizophrenia include:

  • Genetics: Individuals with a case history of schizophrenia have a better risk of developing the condition. If there’s no history of schizophrenia, the probabilities of developing it are but 1 percent. However, that risk increases to 10% if one of the parents has the condition. Research has suggested that schizophrenia and manic depression have an equivalent genetic basis.

  • Viral infection: If the fetus is exposed to virus infection, there’s a greater risk of developing schizophrenia. There’s no definitive list of viruses that pose a risk, but possible risks also include influenza, rubella, herpes, and toxoplasmosis.

  • Fetal malnutrition: If the fetus has suffered from malnutrition during pregnancy, there’s a higher risk of developing disorganized schizophrenia.

  • Age of oldsters when an infant is born: Children born to older parents have a better risk of developing schizophrenia than children who are born to younger parents.

  • Alcohol and Drugs: Using substances that affect the mind or mental processes during adolescence may increase the danger of developing schizophrenia. Illegal drug use is common among people who have schizophrenia, although it’s not certain whether such drug use may be a cause, or an impact, of the condition.

  • Severe stress during early life: Children who experience extreme stress early in life could also be in danger of schizophrenia. This might flow from childhood abuse or trauma.


Diagnosis of disorganized schizophrenia

If schizophrenia is suspected in a person, a series of medical and psychological disorganized schizophrenia tests are conducted to rule out other conditions. Such tests include:

  • Physical exam: The patient’s height, weight, pulse, vital sign, and temperature are checked. The doctor also will hear the guts and lungs and check the abdomen to rule out alternative physiological causes.

  • Complete blood count: to see for alcohol and drug use, also as a thyroid function.

  • MRI or CT scan: These imaging techniques are wont to search for brain lesions or other abnormalities in brain structure. An EEG can also be wont to check for brain function.

  • Psychological evaluation: A psychiatrist or doctor will check psychological state status by asking patients about their thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns. They’re going to search for anything unusual within the appearance or behaviors of the patient, and that they will take an in-depth family and private medical record.


Diagnostic criteria

To receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia, a variety of criteria must be met. The DSM-5 outlines the symptom criteria. The symptoms are:

  • delusions

  • hallucinations

  • disorganized speech

  • disorganized behaviors

  • negative symptoms


The person must experience two of the five above-mentioned key symptoms of psychotic disorders, and a minimum of one symptom must be among the primary three listed.

Image Credits: Getty Images

Treatment of disorganized schizophrenia

People with schizophrenia require treatment on an ongoing basis, even when symptoms seem to have gone away. At these times, patients may believe they’re fine and need no more help, but if they stop taking their medication, symptoms usually return.


Treatment varies counting on the severity and kinds of symptoms, the health of the patient, their age, and other factors.

  • Medication: Atypical or second-generation antipsychotic drugs are wont to treat psychiatric conditions. They differ from typical or first-generation antipsychotics, as they’re less likely to cause extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS). EPS includes Parkinsonian-type movements, tremor, and rigidity. Side effects of atypical antipsychotics include weight gain, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Other drugs could also be wont to address additional psychological state issues in those with schizophrenia, like anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants

  • Hospitalization: When symptoms get severe, the patient may have to be hospitalized. A hospital setting could also be safer, and it increases the probabilities of the patient getting proper better sleep, nutrition, and help with hygiene.

  • Psychotherapy: Counselling or psychotherapy could also be suggested, usually in conjunction with medication. These techniques treat issues with psychological state and emotional regulation. Psychotherapy helps people to spot their feelings and ways of thinking, increasing their ability to deal with challenging situations.

  • Vocational and social skills training: This training can help people live independently. It is often an important part of recovery. There could also be help find work, housing, and joining self-help groups.

  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): ECT involves sending an electrical current through the brain to supply controlled seizures or convulsions. It’s going to help patients at high risk of suicide, depression, or those with other severe symptoms who haven’t skilled other treatments or who cannot take antidepressants. The controlled seizure that’s triggered by the ECT is assumed to impress a serious neurochemical release within the brain. Side effects may include STM loss, which usually resolves quickly. The doctor must clearly explain the pros and cons of ECT to the patient, their guardian, or loved ones before completing the treatment.

The importance of compliance in treatment

Compliance in the treatment means following the treatment plan. It can be challenging for patients with schizophrenia, and a big number stop taking their medication within the first 12 months – making the situation worse for themselves and people around them.


Complications of schizophrenia may include:

  • depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicidal behaviors,

  • malnutrition,

  • hygiene problems,

  • substance abuse,

  • inability to seek out or maintain employment, which can end in poverty and homelessness,

  • family conflicts,

  • inability to review or attend school,

  • smoking-related issues,

  • becoming a victim of crime.

Some people with schizophrenia say smoking helps them concentrate, but it interferes with medications and causes serious health issues.


Schizophrenia may be a serious, lifelong condition. Being conscious of what it involves can help family and friends support a beloved who has this condition.


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