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What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious, long-term mental illness that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, trust their perceptions, and engage in everyday life. Symptoms can vary in intensity from person to person, but most people living with schizophrenia have trouble feeling anchored in reality and often experience hallucinations or delusional beliefs. Schizophrenia can cause those living with a diagnosis to mistrust the people around them, creating feelings of isolation and difficulty communicating their experiences to others.

Different Types of Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia manifests in many different ways. Prior to 2013, schizophrenia used to be divided into several different subtypes, but experts today understand that schizophrenia is a spectrum disorder, and many people experience overlapping symptoms that are subject to changes over time. However, the old subtypes can still be useful for describing the primary features of schizophrenia someone may be experiencing as well as for determining treatment plans.

Paranoid Schizophrenia

Paranoid schizophrenia is perhaps the most widely portrayed image of schizophrenia in popular culture. Characterized by visual and auditory hallucinations, delusional beliefs, and significant behavioral impairment, this is the type of schizophrenia those with the most debilitating symptoms were often diagnosed with.

Symptoms to Watch For

  • Frequent hallucinations
  • Inability to distinguish between hallucinations or delusions and reality
  • Difficulties with regular cognitive functions and memory
  • Disorganized speech or strange behavior
  • Lack of emotion or a flat affect

Hebephrenic/Disorganized Schizophrenia

As suggested by its name, this subtype is predominantly characterized by the disorganization of thought processes. There may still be some hallucinations or delusions, but these features are typically less pronounced and do not contain coherent narratives. People with disorganized symptoms often have difficulty navigating daily life and maintaining routines.

Symptoms to Watch For

  • Disorganized thoughts and speech
  • Blunted or flat affect
  • Inappropriate emotions and reactions
  • Issues managing daily activities
  • Deterioration in self-care and grooming habits

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

This classification was used for people whose symptoms did not fit solely into any of the other subtypes. To be diagnosed with undifferentiated schizophrenia, someone had to experience significant symptoms from at least 2 or more subtypes, but those symptoms could not be predominantly positive, disorganized, or movement-related. Symptoms of undifferentiated schizophrenia were thought to fluctuate with greater frequency than other types.

Symptoms to Watch For

  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Disorganized speech or erratic behavior
  • Flat affect
  • Cognitive problems

Catatonic Schizophrenia

Catatonic schizophrenia was considered a rare subtype and the result of untreated schizophrenia. Early intervention and better treatment methods have led to less frequency of catatonic symptoms for most people living with schizophrenia. Characterized by states of troubled catatonic excitement and stupor-like catatonic depression, this subtype was often confused for other disorders.

Symptoms to Watch For

  • Considerable increases or decreases in movement and activity
  • Erratic, meaningless repetitive movements and behaviors
  • Rigid posture and holding unusual body positions
  • Mimicking behaviors such as copying words or actions
  • Mutism

How is Schizophrenia Treated?

Treatment for schizophrenia usually involves a combination of approaches. Medication can help regulate symptoms, but some form of psychotherapy is typically required to make progress towards recovery. Outpatient rehabilitation services like LAT’s Intensive Outpatient Program significantly improve treatment outcomes for people living with schizophrenia. Our Team’s personalized care, mentorship, and coaching give our clients a strong foundation to build happier, healthier lives. 


In addition to one-to-one sessions, our hands-on, Cognitive Behavior focused program incorporates music, drama, and yoga groups alongside clinical work to encourage healthy engagement in meaningful activities and help clients explore different problems in their lives.

Contact Life Adjustment Team for Your Treatment Options

Life Adjustment Team has been providing state-of-the-art comprehensive care for people with schizophrenia and other mental health conditions for over 40 years in the Los Angeles area. Our record of helping clients learn the skills and tools to lead more balanced and more emotionally fulfilling lives is among the best in the industry. When you put your trust in us you can feel safe knowing you or your loved one are in the capable hands of highly trained, highly qualified professionals who are dedicated to ensuring the coaching and training you receive with us will empower you to change your life for the better. Contact our Clinical Team to get started today!