Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that affects a person’s thoughts and behaviors. The classifications and types of schizophrenia have changed over the years.

Schizophrenia is characterized by a range of thought- and behavior-related symptoms, such as delusions, hallucinations, and unusual ways of thinking.

Schizophrenia typically involves psychosis, which is a loss of connection with reality in some form. This includes hearing voices or holding false beliefs that may lead to paranoia.

This condition affects less than 1% of people in the United States. People usually receive their diagnosis between their late teens and early 30s.

This article looks at the types of schizophrenia, including current and past classifications, and other conditions related to schizophrenia.

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The classification of schizophrenia types changed with the 2013 update of the manual that mental health professionals use to diagnose mental health conditions. This is called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM).

The previous version, the DSM-IV, described the following five types of schizophrenia:

The current version, DSM-V, no longer uses these categories. The features of these types — including paranoia, disorganized speech and behavior, and catatonia — are all still features of a schizophrenia diagnosis, but experts no longer consider them distinct subtypes.

The DSM committee made this decision because they recognized that the previous distinct types had overlapping symptoms and low diagnostic precision.

When making a diagnosis of schizophrenia, a mental health professional will make a note of the person’s specific symptoms and each symptom’s severity to determine the best treatment plan for the individual.

The DSM-5 helps mental health professionals diagnose schizophrenia by describing key symptoms.

They may diagnose schizophrenia if a person has at least two of the following symptoms for a significant amount of time (usually over 1 month):

  • delusions
  • hallucinations
  • disorganized speech
  • very disorganized or catatonic behavior
  • negative symptoms, such as reduced emotional expression

For a person to receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia, at least one of their symptoms must be delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized speech. The symptoms must also interfere with their work life, school life, social life, or self-care abilities.

The severity of a person’s schizophrenia will depend on the amount, frequency, and severity of each of these symptoms.

If they experience catatonia, they may receive a diagnosis of schizophrenia with catatonia.

Schizophrenia is extremely rare in children, affecting around 0.04% of children in the U.S. People may refer to this as childhood-onset schizophrenia or early onset schizophrenia.

Mental health professionals use the same criteria to diagnose schizophrenia in both adults and children.

Learn more about schizophrenia in childhood here.

Schizophrenia is the most well-known condition of its type, but there are a range of conditions that involve psychosis and other schizophrenia-like symptoms.

The DSM-5 lists schizophrenia alongside a number of other conditions, called schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders.

These include the following:

  • Schizotypal personality disorder: This involves discomfort in close relationships, disturbances in cognition or perceptions, and eccentric behavior.
  • Delusional disorder: This involves the person having delusions for 1 month but no other psychotic symptoms.
  • Brief psychotic disorder: This occurs when symptoms of psychosis last for longer than a day but less than a month.
  • Schizophreniform disorder: This occurs when symptoms of schizophrenia last for less than 6 months.
  • Schizoaffective disorder: This mainly involves symptoms of schizophrenia, but it also involves significant mood symptoms, such as mania or depression.
  • Substance- or medication-induced psychotic disorder: Psychotic symptoms can arise due to alcohol, cannabis, hallucinogen, or sedative use or from taking medications such as anesthetics, anticonvulsants, heart medications, chemotherapy drugs, or antidepressants.
  • Psychotic disorder due to another medical condition: This is most often due to untreated endocrine, metabolic, or autoimmune conditions or temporal lobe epilepsy.

The symptoms of schizophrenia may overlap with those of bipolar disorder, which is a condition that causes changes in mood, energy, activity, and behavior.

Learn more about the symptoms of schizophrenia versus those of bipolar disorder here.

The DSM-IV classified the following types of schizophrenia as separate conditions, but experts no longer recognize them as diagnostic categories since the publication of the DSM-V in 2013.

Paranoid type

Paranoid schizophrenia was characterized by being preoccupied with one or more delusions or having frequent auditory hallucinations. It did not involve disorganized speech, catatonic behavior, or a lack of emotion.

Delusions and hallucinations are still elements of a schizophrenia diagnosis, but experts no longer consider it as a distinct subtype.

Disorganized type

Disorganized schizophrenia was characterized by disorganized behavior and nonsensical speech. Another prominent feature was flat or inappropriate affect.

Disorganized speech and thought are still elements of a schizophrenia diagnosis, but experts no longer consider this as a distinct subtype.

Catatonic type

Catatonic schizophrenia was characterized by catatonia. This causes a person to experience either excessive movement, called catatonic excitement, or decreased movement, known as a catatonic stupor.

For example, they may be unable to speak (mutism), may repeat another person’s words (echolalia), or may mimic actions (echopraxis).

Catatonia can occur with schizophrenia and a range of other conditions, including bipolar disorder. For this reason, mental health professionals now consider it to be a specifier for schizophrenia and other mood disorders, rather than a type of schizophrenia.

Undifferentiated type

Undifferentiated schizophrenia involved symptoms that did not fit into the paranoid, disorganized, or catatonic types of schizophrenia.

Residual type

In residual schizophrenia, a person would have had several symptoms of schizophrenia but would not exhibit prominent delusions, hallucinations, disorganization, or catatonic behavior.

They might have had mild symptoms, such as odd beliefs or unusual perceptions.

People with schizophrenia may have another mental health condition, or a comorbidity.

Based on a 2013 study, 56% of people with schizophrenia also had one of the following conditions:

  • depression
  • an anxiety disorder
  • a substance use disorder

Some people with schizophrenia have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease due to the higher incidence of smoking and decreased engagement in health promoting behaviors.

Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that affects a person’s thoughts and behaviors. The classifications and types of schizophrenia have changed over the years.

Mental health professionals no longer use the terms paranoid schizophrenia, disorganized schizophrenia, or catatonic schizophrenia.

Instead, they use the umbrella term schizophrenia to describe the condition as a whole and make a note of which specific symptoms an individual is experiencing.

Schizophrenia is a complex condition, and there are many related conditions with similar symptoms.

If a person is concerned about symptoms that they or a loved one is experiencing, they can find more resources from the National Institute of Mental Health or look for mental health services on the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website.

Read the article in Spanish.