What Is Disorganized Schizophrenia?
Disorganized schizophrenia is a mental illness which causes the patient to lose touch with reality and behave in a nonsensical and inappropriate way. Their speech, thoughts, and actions can seem misplaced or purposeless. An example can be hysterical laughter in response to death or unfunny occurrences. This is not the same as nervous laughter, which is common among folks who do not have schizophrenia.
- Disorganized communication: This includes speech, thoughts, and writing. Sufferers may lose track of conversations and end up jumping to many different topics. They may invent words. If asked to write down what they are thinking, their writing is also disorganized and does not make sense.
- Disorganized actions: Sufferers are unable to complete commonplace acts without attempting to do other unrelated things. An example is getting out of the bathroom mid-shower to watch TV. People who have disorganized schizophrenia may become confrontational, look messy, disregard socially acceptable behavior, have uncoordinated movements, and do things like dress inappropriately for the weather.
- Flat affect: To have flat affect is to be expressionless, lack eye contact, and have uncommon or inappropriate body language. Someone who has a flat affect may have a limited range of emotion, if any.
- Inappropriate emotional expression: Examples of inappropriate emotional expression are displaced laughter, such as at a funeral or when someone pulls out a chair to sit down.
- Delusions: A delusion is a belief that does not reflect reality. For example, if someone truly believes that one arm is longer than the other and objective measures such as a ruler indicate that both arms are the same size, he or she is delusional.
- Hallucinations: A hallucination is seeing or hearing nonexistent things such as voices that nobody else can hear. An example is voices telling the patient that there are spy cameras watching them.
- Trouble with school or work: This can be trouble with quality or attendance.
- Social isolation
- Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
- Antipsychotics can help the sufferer maintain contact with reality.
- Mood stabilizers can help the sufferer maintain an even mood and avoid things like unwarranted confrontations.
- Antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications are not made specifically for schizophrenia, but may help depending on what symptoms the patient exhibits.
- Avoiding nonprescription drugs and alcohol will help avoid negative interactions with prescribed medication.
- Individual counseling: Mental health professionals can help the patient understand the disorder and help them work through it.
- Family counseling: This is mainly for the patient's family and loved ones. Mental health professionals can educate loved ones on what disorganized schizophrenia is, what its symptoms are, what an episode looks like, and how to help the patient deal with it.
- Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): Formerly known as shock therapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) delivers electric shocks to the brain in hopes of changing the brain's chemistry in order to reduce schizophrenia.
- Hospitalization: If sufferers can no longer take care of themselves or are at risk of harming themselves or others, hospitalization is required.
Causes of schizophrenia in general can be biological or environmental; disorganized schizophrenia can have the same causes. Reasons people get different types of schizophrenia are unknown.
- Biological causes
- Genes: Schizophrenia tends to run in families. Someone born into a family in which schizophrenia exists is more likely to develop it than someone born into a family without schizophrenia.
- Brain structure or chemistry: The way the brain develops can be a reason for schizophrenia
- Environmental causes
- Issues during infancy such as lack of oxygen or exposure to a virus
- Early parental loss
After reading up on disorganized schizophrenia, you should be able to:
- Define disorganized schizophrenia
- Recognize many of the symptoms associated with disorganized schizophrenia
- Identify treatment options available for disorganized schizophrenia
- List some potential causes
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