Disorganized schizophrenia

Disorganized schizophrenia

Description, Causes and Risk Factors:

A severe form of schizophrenia characterized by the predominance of incoherence, blunted, inappropriate or silly affect, and the absence of systematized delusions. This form of schizophrenia usually starts between the ages of 15 and 25 years and tends to have a poor prognosis because of the rapid development of "negative" symptoms, particularly flattening of affect and loss of volition.

Disorganized schizophrenia is one of several subtypes of schizophrenia, a chronic (long-term) mental illness - it is thought to be an extreme expression of disorganization syndrome that has been hypothesized to be one feature of a 3-factor model of schizophrenia symptoms; the others factors being delusions/hallucinations (Reality distortion) and psychomotor poverty (poor speech, lack of spontaneous movement, and blunting emotion).

Disorganized schizophrenia

Causes & Risk Factors: Experts are not sure what the causes of disorganized schizophrenia and all other types of schizophrenia are. Studies suggest there is some kind of brain dysfunction, probably caused by a combination of environmental triggers and genetic factors.

    Genetics - individuals with a family history of schizophrenia have a higher risk of developing it themselves. A gene that is probably the most studied schizophrenia gene plays a surprising role in the brain: It controls the birth of new neurons in addition to their integration into existing brain circuitry, according to an article published by Cell. A Swedish study found that schizophrenia and bipolar disorder have the same genetic causes.

  • Viral infection - if the unborn baby in the womb (fetus) is exposed to a viral infection, there is a greater risk of developing schizophrenia.

  • Fetal malnutrition - if the fetus suffers from malnutrition during the mother's pregnancy there is a higher risk of subsequently developing schizophrenia.

  • Stress during early life - experts say that severe stress early on in life may be a contributing factor towards the development of schizophrenia. Stressful occurrences often precede the emergence of schizophrenia. Before any acute symptoms are evident, people with schizophrenia habitually become bad-tempered, anxious, and unfocussed. This can trigger relationship problems. These factors are often blamed for the onset of the disease, when really it was the other way round - the disease caused the crisis. Therefore, it is extremely hard to know whether schizophrenia made certain stresses happen, or whether they occurred as a result of them.

  • Childhood abuse or trauma.

  • Age of parents when baby is born - older parents have a higher risk of having offspring who develop schizophrenia, compared to younger parents.

  • Drugs - the use of drugs that affect the mind or mental processes during adolescence may sometimes raise the risk of developing schizophrenia.


The mood is shallow and inappropriate and often accompanied by giggling or self-satisfied, self-absorbed smiling, or by a lofty manner, grimaces, mannerisms, pranks, hypochondriacal complaints, and reiterated phrases. Thought is disorganized and speech rambling and incoherent. There is a tendency to remain solitary, and behavior seems empty of purpose and feeling.


Diagnosis includes the following tests:

    Physical exam - the patient's height, weight, heart rate (pulse rate), blood pressure, temperature are checked. The doctor will listen to the heart and lungs, and also check the abdomen.

  • Psychological evaluation - the Psychiatrist will ask patients about their thoughts, feelings and behavior patterns. They will discuss symptoms, when they began, how severe they are, and how they may affect the patient's life. The doctor will also try to find out how often and when schizophrenia symptoms had occurred.

  • CBC (complete blood count) - to check for alcohol and drugs, as well as thyroid function.

  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT (computed tomography) scan - the aim here is to look for brain lesions or any abnormalities in the brain structure.

  • EEG (electroencephalogram) - to check for brain function.


Disorganized schizophrenia is a condition that lasts throughout life - it is a chronic condition. Patients with disorganized schizophrenia need treatment on a permanent basis; even when symptoms seem to have gone away - a time when patients may be inclined to feel that they are fine and require no more help. Treatment is basically the same for all forms of schizophrenia; there are variations depending on the severity and types of symptoms, the health of the patient, his/her age, as well as some other factors.

A team of Healthcare professionals will be involved in treating a person with disorganized schizophrenia. Schizophrenia can affect many areas of the patient's life - thus the team will include a wide range of dedicated professionals.

Treatment options:

Typical antipsychotics - although they are as effective in treating the same symptoms atypical antipsychotics are, patients are more likely to have extrapyramidal symptoms (EPS), including involuntary movements of the face, tremor and Parkinsonian-type movements. The generic versions of these drugs are much cheaper than atypical antipsychotics.

ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) - in this procedure an electric current is sent through the brain to produce controlled seizures (convulsion). It may be used on patients with severe symptoms or depression who either have not responded to other treatments or cannot take antidepressants. It is also sometimes used for patients at high risk of suicide. Experts believe that ECT triggers a massive neurochemical release in the brain, caused by the controlled seizure. Side effects may include short-term memory loss (usually resolves rapidly). It is important that the doctor explain clearly the pros and cons of ECT to the patient and/or guardian or family member.

Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy consists of a series of techniques for treating mental health, emotional and some psychiatric disorders. Psychotherapy helps the individual understand what helps them feel positive or anxious, as well as accepting their strong and weak points. If patients can identify their feelings and ways of thinking there is a better chance of coping with challenging situations.

Social and vocational skills training - this may help the patient live independently; a vital part of recovery for the patient. The therapist can help the patient learn good hygiene, prepare nutritional meals, and have better communication. There may be help in finding work, housing and joining self-help groups.

NOTE: The above information is educational purpose. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition.

DISCLAIMER: This information should not substitute for seeking responsible, professional medical care.


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