Disorganized Type of Schizophrenia: Symptoms & Overview

Instructor: Vidhi Desai
There are many different types of schizophrenia that have been studied. About one percent of the world's population and 2.1 million Americans have schizophrenia. Of these people, 50% have not received treatment. It is extremely difficult to recover from schizophrenia without treatment. In this lesson, we will be focusing on a specific type of schizophrenia called disorganized schizophrenia.


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.


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Trouble with school or work: This can be trouble with quality or attendance.
  8. Social isolation
  9. Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

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