Disorganized schizophrenia is a former subtype of schizophrenia, a chronic mental illness. It refers to incoherent and illogical thoughts and behaviors related to schizophrenia. However, hebephrenia is no longer considered a distinct form of schizophrenia. The change in status happened because keeping the different types separate did not appear to help with diagnosis. Schizophrenia affects around 1.1 percent of the world's population.
What Causes Disorganized Schizophrenia
The exact cause of most mental disorders is unknown. It’s very similar is the case with disorganized schizophrenia. However, certain factors like heredity, environment, certain diseases and disorder are believed to increase the risk of this condition in people. For instance, people whose parents or siblings suffer from schizophrenia have a 10-15% chance of suffering from the disorder. However, it should be noted that schizophrenia is not only limited to genetics. It is only one of the risk factors that are believed to cause schizophrenia. Moreover, certain environmental conditions like an abnormal or abused childhood, loss of a very dear one at early age can also lead to this condition. Furthermore, certain diseases and disorders like severe viral infections during birth or at an early age, low oxygen levels during birth, etc. are also believed to be some of the factors that increase the risk of schizophrenia. However, at the same time, it should be noted that in most of the cases, a combination of genetic and environmental factors lead to disorganized schizophrenia, but it is not limited to it.
Examples of disorganized symptoms include:
- Talking in sentences that do not make sense or using nonsense words, making it difficult for the person to communicate or engage in conversation
- Shifting quickly from one thought to the next without obvious or logical connections between them
- Moving slowly
- Being unable to make decisions
- Writing excessively but without meaning
- Forgetting or losing things
- Having problems making sense of everyday sights, sounds, and feelings
The risk factors for schizophrenia include:
- Genetics: Individuals with a family history of schizophrenia have a higher risk of developing the condition. If there is no history of schizophrenia, the chances of developing it are less than 1 percent. However, that risk increases to 10 percent if one parent has this condition. Research has suggested that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have the same genetic basis.
- Viral infection: If a fetus is exposed to a viral infection, there is a greater risk of developing schizophrenia. There is no definitive list of viruses which pose a risk, but possible candidates include influenza, herpes, toxoplasmosis, and rubella.
- Fetal malnutrition: If the fetus suffers from malnutrition during pregnancy there is a higher risk of developing schizophrenia.
- Severe stress during early life: Children who experience extreme forms of stress early on in life may be at risk of schizophrenia. This could be due to childhood abuse or trauma.
Beginning treatment as soon as possible is crucial to making a recovery. Treatment for disorganized schizophrenia involves a multimodal approach, including the following:
- Medication management: Medication for schizophrenia can help reduce hallucinations and delusions, paranoia, and disordered thinking.
- Psychotherapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is recommended to reduce symptoms and enhance overall functioning. Through CBT, individuals identify target problems and work to develop coping strategies specific to those issues.
- Life skills training: Assistance with life skills can help individuals with disorganized schizophrenia improve social interactions and increase daily living skills, with a goal of increasing independence.
- Supported employment services: Individuals with disorganized schizophrenia benefit from training in the area of finding and maintaining employment.
- Family education and support: Individuals with disorganized schizophrenia benefit from ongoing contact with family. Support to educate family about treatment and how to support a family member with schizophrenia is crucial.
Schizophrenia is a serious, lifelong condition. Being aware of what it involves can help family and friends support a loved one who has this condition.