Schizophrenia from a different perspective

When I arrived home for break I found that my sister, who is taking Abnormal Psychology at her school,  is currently studying Schizophrenia. For me it was interesting to read her classes’ powerpoint presentation on Schizophrenia and learn a little more about the basics that I never learned in the beginning. I know all about the biological aspect of schizophrenia and we’ve discussed the medication, but I never really got the low down on the disease. Here are a few things that I learned from the notes that I didn’t know before.

Bleuler described and coined the name Schizophrenia. There are four fundamental features which are referred to as Bleuler’s Four A’s. These are: association (thought disorder), affect (emotional disturbance), ambivalence (inability to make or follow through on decisions), and autism (idiosyncratic style of egocentric thought and behavior).  Schizophrenia also has three distinct stages: Prodroma, Active, and Residual. During the prodroma stage there are no active symptoms but there is a deterioration in social and interpersonal functioning. The active stage is when the psychotic symptoms are present. Finally, the residual phase is similar to the prodroma stage where disurbances are still evident but this period occurs after the active stage.

The class also describes the five different classifications of Schizophrenia: catatonic, disorganized, paranoid, undifferentiated, and residual. Catatonic type Schizophrenia is characterized by at least two bodily movement abnormalities, disorganized Schizophrenia involves a combination of symptoms such as disorganized speech/behavior or flat affect, paranoid Schizophrenia is commonly called simply Schizophrenia and describes a person who is preoccupied with bizarre delusions and/or auditory hallucinations, undifferentiated Schizophrenia doesn’t fit the symptoms of the other types of Schizophrenia, and residual type of Schizophrenia are in the residual stage of the disease.

I also learned about different, but related types of disorders such as brief psychotic disorder, schizophreniform disorder, and schizoaffective disorder. Brief psychotic disorder is characterized by a sudden onset of psychotic symptoms that last less than a month. Schizophreniform disorder has basically the same symptoms as Schizophrenia but lasts between one and six months. Schizoaffective disorder is Schizophrenia co-occurring with a mood disorder.

There, I’ve laid it all out for you. I hope this enlightens you as much as it has enlightened me. I really knew only the basics of Schizophrenia previous to this discussion. For me, learning about a disorder really helps me understand and relieves some of the stereotypes that I’ve heard over the years.

All the different types of Schizophrenia make me wonder what determines the type of Schizophrenia an individual develops. Unlike a “simple” biological disease there is so much more diversity in the symptoms of Schizophrenia. These is so much left to solve when it comes to diseases, psychological in particular. All these unknowns are killing me!

6 thoughts on “Schizophrenia from a different perspective

  1. Jessie: Thanks for this information. I didn’t know anything about the basics either so this was a nice recap. It is unbelievable that there are so many classifications and categories of schizophrenia and yet people who are diagnosed with schizophrenia are on the basic anti-psychosis medication. I had no idea that a certain type of schizophrenia could involve two bodily movement impairments and undifferentiated schizophrenia does not include any of the “normal” symptoms of schizophrenia. very interesting…


    1. the body aspect of schizophrenia is def. a different line of thought. I read a review in which one psychologist claimed that schizophrenia is really a whole body disorder because it effects the fatty acids, temperature, posture, etc. of the individual.


    2. This is eye-opening for me as well. My limited knowledge of Schizophrenia is confined to what was taught in the textbooks and in class, and of course all of those movies. Never mentioned in the class (or the textbook for that matter) were many different variations of this complicated disease. I inferred, however, that the disease takes many forms, for Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind displays different symptoms from Edward Norton in Fight Club. But in all seriousness, I have been wondering, with respect to basic Schizophrenia, why certain positive and negative symptoms get expressed.
      With the distinctions of different subcategories of schizophrenia, positive symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions can be isolated, correlating the behavior of patients experiencing different schizophrenic effects, and their respective brains, in order to pinpoint a specific region of the brain that exhibits the abnormal brain function.


  2. I appreciated this summary of schizophrenia. It clarified a few thing for me.

    And I thought depression was hard to define and diagnose, but schizophrenia has an even larger variation of symptoms and range of severity. Not only does it differ on the individual level, but also what sex you are and your geographical background.

    An interesting study would be to determine if individuals who grew up in ‘developing’ countries and then moved to industrialized countries exhibited the more severe symptoms of schizophrenia that is prevalent in Western cultures.


  3. This is a really helpful post. While I feel like the first article we read for class laid some of these aspects out it helps to have a more clear understanding of what a broad classification Schizophrenia is. It explains a little more why there is still so much unknown about the disease in biological terms! It helps to see the 3 stages of behavior and relate this to the possibility of different stages that lead up to the disease. Like gradual misconnections lead to gradual decrease in function.


  4. This is really interesting and helpful information Jessie! Thanks for posting this. I think that is is so fascinating that this disorder can be classified in so many ways. I know that I have met people who have been classified in almost all (if not all) of these categories-and it amazes me how different, but also how similar, each of these individuals are.


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