Schizophrenia and its related disorders affect more people in the United States than many people may think. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), “Across studies that use household-based survey samples, clinical diagnostic interviews, and medical records, estimates of the prevalence of schizophrenia and related psychotic disorders in the U.S. range between 0.25% and 0.64%.” Now, while those numbers may seem minuscule, they appear more significant when considering the U.S. population: Such statistics represent 850,000 to 2.1 million people in the U.S. who are currently being affected by schizophrenia and its related disorders.
What Exactly Is Schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia has some very specific qualifications and characteristics. According to the NIMH, “Schizophrenia is a mental disorder characterized by disruptions in thought processes, perceptions, emotional responsiveness, and social interactions. Although the course of schizophrenia varies among individuals, schizophrenia is typically persistent and can be both severe and disabling.”
Schizophrenia also has various subtypes and related disorders. All of these share many of the same signs and symptoms of schizophrenia but also have some unique characteristics of their own.
What Are the Subtypes of Schizophrenia?
There are many known subtypes of schizophrenia. These include:
- Paranoid schizophrenia
- Hebephrenic schizophrenia
- Catatonic schizophrenia
- Undifferentiated schizophrenia
- Residual schizophrenia
- Simple schizophrenia
- Unspecified schizophrenia.
Now, perhaps the most well-known subtype of this group is paranoid schizophrenia. Paranoid schizophrenia is also one of the more severe subtypes of schizophrenia as it can inhibit cognitive functioning quite significantly. According to the peer-reviewed journal titled Schizophrenia Research: Cognition, “Paranoia is the most commonly reported delusion among individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia spectrum illnesses and is evident in almost 50% of individuals seeking initial help for a psychotic disorder.” Also, “[N]on-paranoid patients have shown better emotion recognition performance than paranoid patients, perhaps due to a tendency for paranoid patients to inaccurately identify neutral facial expressions as anger.”
Schizophrenia Related Disorders
There are also many related disorders associated with schizophrenia that don’t qualify as subtypes. Related disorders can include:
- Schizophreniform disorder
- Delusional disorder
- Brief psychotic disorder
- Substance-induced psychotic disorder
- Shared psychotic disorder
- Schizoaffective disorder.
Now, just as paranoid schizophrenia is the most common subtype of schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder is the most common related disorder. Schizoaffective disorder is a disorder that shares symptoms with both schizophrenia and two specific mood disorders. These mood disorders are bipolar I and major depression. Furthermore, these mood disorders are also what distinguishes schizoaffective disorder’s two types.
Understanding the Related Disorders of Schizoaffective Disorder: Bipolar Type & Depressive Type
There are two types of schizoaffective disorder. These are the bipolar type and the depressive type, both of which share the signs and symptoms of schizophrenia.
They differ however in how they show signs and symptoms of mood disorders. The primary distinction between the two types of schizoaffective disorders is mania.
Moreover, schizoaffective disorder bipolar type has symptoms of both extended episodes of mania followed by slightly shorter periods of depression. However, the depressive type of schizoaffective disorder differs in that it has more severe periods of depression and has no symptoms of mania. Both types do, however, share many of the same symptoms as subtypes and other related disorders to schizophrenia.
What Are Some of the Warning Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia and Its Related Disorders?
While there are too many signs and symptoms of schizophrenia and its subtypes and related disorders to list, the following are some of the more common ones:
- Becoming delusional, which includes believing in people, places, and things that are known to be false
- Engaging in substance use as a coping mechanism to deal with the uncertainties and anxieties of the disorder
- Experiencing some or all of the following hallucinations; visual, audible, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory (tasting things that are not there).
- Losing interest in one’s appearance and personal hygiene
- Experiencing disorganized thinking and speech (having trouble conveying thoughts and ideas)
- Feeling lethargic and lacking motivation
- Losing interest in activities that were once enjoyed
- Feeling hopeless
- Becoming easily agitated and responding to events aggressively
If any, some, or all of these warning signs and symptoms are present, it is highly recommended that professional mental health care be sought as soon as possible.
All Can Recover Who Want It: The Phoenix Recovery Center
Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we believe that everyone struggling with mental illness deserves a chance to recover if they want it. We also believe that with the type of comprehensive recovery plans that we offer, there is a very good chance the clients we take on will recover.
Now, we understand that seeking help for mental illness is one of the hardest things a person may ever do. However, we also know that it is one of the most rewarding. The first step for someone struggling is reaching out a hand for help. Our hands are always ready and waiting to take it when they do.
If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with a mental illness like schizophrenia or one of its related disorders, we can help get you and your loved ones on the right track to long-term recovery. For more information on mental health issues and addiction recovery, please reach out to The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.