Hide this

What Are the Different Types of Schizophrenia


Each schizophrenic falls under a subtype of schizophrenia defined by a unique indicator. This indicator may be one dominant symptom only or a combination of positive and negative symptoms.

For example, schizoaffective disorder exhibits schizophrenia alongside another mental disorder. Undifferentiated schizophrenia can be thought of as "general" schizophrenia, as it doesn't display any one dominant symptom. Below are the different types of schizophrenia and their characteristics.

Paranoid Schizophrenia

Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common subtype of schizophrenia, and is largely defined by the presence of auditory hallucinations or delusional thoughts "about persecution or conspiracy."1

In other words, you may think that you’re being chased by an unseen group for a crime you think you committed, but those thoughts aren't actually real at all.

Oftentimes, paranoid schizophrenics are diagnosed late into their illness because they often look normal to other people. Only when you experience a major stressful event in your life that exposes your paranoid thoughts to your family will they call the attention of mental health professionals.

Disorganized Schizophrenia

The main indicator for this type is a confused thought process.2 Your ability to maintain logical thinking is largely affected, such as jumping from one subject to another during a conversation, for example.

Another indicator is disorganized behavior, wherein you may exhibit actions that are very much out of place depending on the situation, such as wearing multiple layers of clothing on a hot day.

Catatonic Schizophrenia

There are two types of catatonic behavior that define this schizophrenia subtype:3

Catatonic stupor: a dramatic reduction in activity, to the point where all sorts of movement may stop. Waxy flexibility may develop as well, a condition where someone places you in a certain position and you become immobilized for a long time.4

Catatonic excitement: characterized by hyperactivity and the presence of stereotypic behavior, a condition that creates repetitive but purposeless actions. You may also mimic what another person is saying (echolalia) or doing (echopraxia).5

Residual Schizophrenia

This subtype only refers to those who have had a history of schizophrenia before, and the severity of negative symptoms has reduced drastically.6 You may still suffer from positive symptoms like hallucinations or paranoia, but they appear less frequently. To fall under this subtype, at least one negative symptom is still apparent and your last schizophrenia attack occurred at least a year ago.

Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is a mixture of schizophrenia and either depression or bipolar disorder. This type of schizophrenia is typically hard to diagnose because of the myriad of symptoms that depression or bipolar disorder may bring.7

Depression is marked by prolonged feelings of sadness and worthlessness, as well as cognitive problems like problems with concentrating and remembering details.8 On the other hand, bipolar disorder causes shifts in mood — one moment you may feel elated, and then you suddenly feel low, often to the point of sadness.

The cycle between high and low emotions may become so intense and frequent that they begin to interfere with your daily life and affect your relationships and work or academic performance. The two tables below indicate the symptoms for the mental disorders that may coexist with schizophrenia.9,10

Depression Symptoms

Poor appetite

Weight gain or loss

Changes in sleeping patterns


Lack of energy

Loss of interest in hobbies or favorite activities

Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness

Guilt or self-blame

Troubles with thinking or concentration

Thoughts of death or suicide

Bipolar Disorder Symptoms

Bipolar Mania (High) Bipolar Depression (Low)
Euphoria or irritability Depressed mood and low-self esteem
Increased energy and activity Low energy levels and apathy
Excessive talk or racing thoughts Sadness, loneliness, helplessness and guilt
Inflated self-esteem Slow speech, fatigue and poor coordination
Unusual energy, plus a lowered need for sleep Insomnia or oversleeping
Impulsiveness Suicidal thoughts and feelings
Reckless pursuit of gratification Poor concentration

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

When you exhibit a mixture of schizophrenia symptoms but do not fall into a specific type of schizophrenia or have a dominant symptom, you may be diagnosed with undifferentiated schizophrenia.11,12

Typically, you must meet two symptoms, such as hallucinations and disorganized behavior to fall under this subtype, but the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) mentions that you may only need to exhibit one symptom.13

< Previous

What Is Schizophrenia?

Next >

Schizophrenia in Children

Click Here and be the first to comment on this article

Thank you! Your purchases help us support these charities and organizations.