What are the different types of schizophrenia?

What are the different types of schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a disease of mental health related to unusual expressions or perceptions of reality. This can lead to significant social or occupational dysfunction.

They can contain auditory hallucinations, or hearing things not real. Less frequently, the person can experience visual hallucinations, seeing images that do not appear in reality.

Bizarre or paranoid delusions may occur, and speech and thinking may be disorganized.

Typically schizophrenia is diagnosed in early adulthood. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC), report that schizophrenia affects between 0.6 and 1 cent of the global ‘s population.

Classification and diagnosis

Schizophrenia is a serious mental health issue.
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 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) modified the classification method to include all these categories under one heading: schizophrenia.

The decision to exclude these different subtypes was based on the assumption that they had “weak diagnostic consistency, low reliability and questionable validity,” according to the American Psychiatric Association ( APA). It was concluded that they did not help to provide effective care or predict how patients would respond to treatment.

In 2013 , two more major changes were made to the diagnostic criteria.

Another was eliminating a person’s requirement to undergo bizarre delusions, and hearing two or more voices speaking during an auditory hallucination to obtain a positive diagnosis.

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

  • hallucinations
  • delusions
  • disorganized speech

Click here for a more comprehensive article on schizophrenia.


Subtypes of schizophrenia used to be the following. Check out what’s changed with these categories in use.

Schizoaffective Disorder

A person with schizoaffective disorder experiences a mixture of symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations and delusions, and symptoms of mood disorder, such as mania or depression.

In the past, in order to obtain a diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder the person had to have both sets of symptoms at once.

The 2013 DSM-V update also states that, in order to be diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder , a person must have had mood disorders for the majority of the time that they have not had the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia from the time they first began to have symptoms until now.


Catatonia includes extremes of behavior:

  • Catatonia can include excessive and peculiar motor behaviors, sometimes referred to as catatonic excitement
  • Catatonia can also include decreased motor activity and engagement. For example, people in a catatonic stupor demonstrate a dramatic reduction in activity, where the patient cannot speak, move or respond. Virtually all movements stop.

Schizophrenia and a number of other disorders like bipolar disorder may occur in Catatonia. For this cause, schizophrenia and other mood disorders are now considered a specifier, rather than a form of schizophrenia.

Childhood onset schizophrenia

Schizophrenia signs usually begin during early adulthood, but they can also develop during infancy, at or before the age of 10 years. This is exceedingly rare, with less than 0.04 percent occurrence.

When a child has schizophrenia it is very dangerous and care is required.

Healthy kids can experience hallucinations though, and if this happens, it doesn’t mean a child has schizophrenia.

Disorganized schizophrenia, or hebephrenia

Schizophrenia involves disorganized thought and behaviour. The person may have incoherent thoughts and speech which are illogical.

This can make everyday tasks such as cooking meals and taking care of personal hygiene, or washing, hard to do. Individuals can not understand what the patient is saying. This can contribute to anger and restlessness.

Although disorganization is a characteristic of schizophrenia, it is no longer seen as a separate subtype.

Paranoid Schizophrenia

Although delusions may still be key to a schizophrenia diagnosis, this is no longer considered a separate subtype of the disorder.