A Brief Introduction to Clinical Schizophrenia Disorder
Of all the diagnoses, clients with Schizophrenia tend to be the most stigmatized. Schizophrenia can feel overwhelming to the person experiencing the symptoms. Witnessing or interfacing with an individual with Schizophrenia can illicit feelings of fear and anxiety in friends and family of the individual exhibiting symptoms, and even for care takers and other personnel assigned to manage such individuals. Without mechanisms to harness, manage, or eradicate the symptoms, life with Schizophrenia can feel overwhelming and out of control.
About the Hallmarks of Clinical Schizophrenia: Delusions, Hallucinations, and Disorganized Thinking (Speech)
According to the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, the hallmarks of Schizophrenia are the presence of delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking (speech).
Types of Delusions
- Persecutory Delusions: this is when the individual believes something is being done purposefully and malignantly to them
- Referential Delusions: this is when the individual infers meaning from otherwise random gestures and happenings as referencing the self
- Grandiose Delusions: this is when an individual believes that they are exceptional relative to their peers with regards to ability, wealth, or fame, when in actuality this assertion is false
- Erotomanic Delusions: this is when the individual falsely believes other people are in love with, attracted to, or sexually desire them
- Nihilistic Delusions: this is when the individual believes everyone will be subject to a catastrophic event
- Somatic Delusions: this is when the individual falsely believes they have a physical ailment
Types of Hallucinations
- Auditory Hallucinations: this is when the individual believes they have heard a sound as emanated from an external source when in fact, there has been no distinct sound; usually these sounds are heard as words spoken in a voice that the individual does not attribute as their own. Note that Hypnagogic hallucinations (sounds or voices heard while the individual is falling asleep) and hypnopompic hallucinations (sounds or voices heard while the individual is awakening) are considered normal. Religiously inspired auditory hallucinations can be considered within the realm of normal depending on the cultural context as well
- Visual hallucinations: this is when the individual believes they have seen an image of something real that does not in fact exist
Displays of Disorganized Thinking (Speech)
- Disorganized Thinking:the disordered thought process is usually detected by the display of disorganized speaking
- Derailment or Loose Association:this is when the individual changes topic of conversation erratically
- Tangentiality: this is exhibited when individuals answer questions randomly, ineffectively, or switching from one topic to another
- Incoherence or “Word Salad”: this is evident when the individual strings a series of unrelated words together as if in a coherent sentence. This can sound like random words are thrown together as in a “salad” comprised of small distinct parts.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Clinical Schizophrenia Disorder?
For an individual to be considered for a diagnosis of Clinical Schizophrenia Disorder, the individual must experience two or more of the following symptoms for most of the time during a one month period and at least one symptom must be either delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech.
- Delusion: the individual believes wholeheartedly that something is happening that is not. These can be persecutory delusions, erotomanic delusions, grandiose delusions, referential delusions, nihilistic delusions, or somatic delusions
- Hallucination: the individual experiences a sensory apperception that appears real but is in fact not embodied. Hallucinations can be visual (as in seeing things as real that are not in fact in physical form) or auditory (as in hearing things as real that are not in fact in audible form, often in the form of voices thought to be emanating from someone other than the individual producing the hallucinations)
- Disorganized speech: speaking in a manner than is incoherent, nonsensical, illogical, and can appear random
- Catatonia as in absence of movement or inertia; or, its opposite as in grossly overexaggerated physical motor actions
- Negative symptoms such as a lack and withdrawal of emotion or appropriate expression of feeling
Additional Facts About Clinical Schizophrenia Disorder
- According to the World Health Organization, individuals living with Schizophrenia have an increased risk of early death as compared with the general population, such that they are 2-3 times as likely to die an early death. The cause of early death is generally attributed to preventable physical diseases including infections, metabolic disease, and cardiovascular disease
- According to the World Health Organization, individuals with Schizophrenia suffer a higher instance of human rights violations, bias, and stigmatization
- According to the World Health Organization, Schizophrenia affects more than 23 million people worldwide and affects 25% more men than women
Treatment for Schizophrenia at Silicon Beach Treatment Center
At Silicon Beach Treatment Center, our task when treating any area of client suffering is to identify the nature of your experience with it, explore the underlying causes, and work together to usher in resiliency, foster a more hopeful outlook, and restore equilibrium. Our caring, trained professionals will work diligently to bring you the support, interventions, and treatment you need.
Please note, the information on this page is based on the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition, however, it is in no way exhaustive on the subject of each disorder discussed. This text is not intended to be the basis of self-diagnosis of any disorder. Only a trained mental health provider can provide you with an accurate diagnosis based on a myriad of factors and details specific to your particular case.