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Types of Schizophrenia - Topic Overview

There are several types of schizophrenia. The most common type is paranoid schizophrenia.

Paranoid schizophrenia

People with paranoid schizophrenia have frightening thoughts and hear threatening voices. This causes them to act afraid or to argue with other people. Sometimes they attack other people or objects in their surroundings because they are afraid of them.

This type of schizophrenia often develops later in life than other types. People with paranoid schizophrenia often get better with treatment.

Catatonic schizophrenia

Catatonic schizophrenia is rare. It can cause odd behaviors such as:

  • Sitting or standing in unusual positions (posturing).
  • Allowing another person to move one's arms and legs into different positions (waxy flexibility).
  • Sitting without moving for long periods of time (stupor).
  • Being very active but with no purpose (catatonic excitement). During these episodes of intense activity, people with catatonic schizophrenia may injure themselves or other people.

Disorganized schizophrenia

Disorganized schizophrenia is rare but is the most serious type of schizophrenia. People who have this type have unpredictable behaviors.

They may act silly and giggle for no apparent reason. They often make up words and sentences that make no sense to other people. And they often don't show facial expressions. Disorganized schizophrenia is sometimes called hebephrenic schizophrenia.

Examples of disorganized speech include:

  • Making up words (neologisms). For example: "I'm going to the park to ride the wallywhoop."
  • Rhyming words (clang speech). For example: "Deck the halls with boughs of holly, folly, polly, dolly, hello Dolly, want a lollipop?"
  • Saying sentences that make no sense to other people (word salad). For example: "Give paper floor me school hop bus."
  • Repeating exactly what someone else has said (echolalia).

Examples of disorganized behavior include:

  • Repeating the same activity (word or behavior) over and over again (perseveration).
  • Repeating exactly what someone else has done (echopraxia).
  • Dressing oddly, such as wearing many sets of clothing one over the other or wearing hats, gloves, and heavy coats in the summer.
  • Doing things in public that are usually done only in private. Urinating on a street corner is an example.

Other types

Other types of schizophrenia include:

  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia. This refers to schizophrenia in which the symptoms don't fit the other types of schizophrenia.
  • Residual schizophrenia. This refers to the continued presence of symptoms of schizophrenia during a remission.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: August 31, 2012
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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