Types of schizophrenia: What are they and are they still used?

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition associated with unusual expressions or perceptions of reality. It can lead to significant social or occupational dysfunction.

It can feature auditory hallucinations, or hearing things that are not there. Less commonly, the person may experience visual hallucinations, in which they see things that do not exist.

There may be bizarre or paranoid delusions, and disorganized speech and thinking.

Schizophrenia is normally diagnosed in early adulthood. The United States (U.S.) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), estimate that schizophrenia affects between between 0.6 and 1 percent of the global population.

Classification and diagnosis

A doctor writing schizophrenia on a clipboard
Schizophrenia is a serious mental health issue.

In the past, there were different subtypes of schizophrenia, including:

paranoid schizophrenia

disorganized, or hebephrenic schizophrenia

catatonic schizophrenia

childhood schizophrenia

schizoaffective disorder

In 2013 the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 5th edition (DSM-V) changed the method of classification to bring all these categories under a single heading: schizophrenia.

According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), the decision to eliminate these various subtypes was based on the conclusion they had “limited diagnostic stability, low reliability, and poor validity.” It was concluded that they did not help to provide better treatment or to predict how patients would respond to treatment.

Two other important changes were made to the diagnostic criteria in 2013.

One was the removal of the requirement for a person to experience bizarre delusions and to hear two or more voices talking during an auditory hallucination to receive a positive diagnosis.

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The second was that, to receive a diagnosis, a person must have at least one of the following symptoms:



disorganized speech

Click here for a more comprehensive article on schizophrenia.

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