There are five types of schizophrenia; paranoid, disorganized, catatonic, undifferentiated and residual, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders published by the American Psychiatric Association. Different types of schizophrenia are defined and diagnosis based on the most significant schizophrenic symptoms the patient suffers at that time. Since symptoms of schizophrenia can change over time, it is not uncommon for a diagnosis to change in accordance with the symptoms. In part because of these changing diagnoses, the American Psychiatric Association is considering removing all types of schizophrenia from the next edition of the of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
The most well-known type of schizophrenia is paranoid schizophrenia. As the name implies, its defining characteristic is the persistent thoughts of conspiracy or persecution. These thoughts usually manifest themselves in auditory hallucinations or voices that reinforce the patient's views that the world is out to get him or her. Individuals suffering from paranoid schizophrenia may seem entirely normal most of the time, and delusions of persecution may only surface when they are under stress or pressure. Many times the symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia can be treated with medication.
While hallucination and delusions are commonplace for sufferers of paranoid schizophrenia, they are less common for those diagnosed with disorganized schizophrenia. For this type of schizophrenia the most common feature is a disorganization of the thought process. This may manifest itself in memory loss or emotional instability. Many times, the individual will display inappropriate emotions, laughing during times of stress or crying during times of happiness. His or her thought processes may become so disorganized and out of sync with reality that attempts to communicate with he or she in a normal manner may be completely ineffective. He ore she may even loose the ability to speak clearly in some cases.
Catatonic schizophrenics are known to behave in a manner that could almost be described as bipolar. Someone with this form will frequently fluctuate between periods of severe catatonia, where he or she is nearly incapable of movement, and periods where he or she will not stop moving. Often the catatonic states into involve unusual or even painful body positions that can include unusual limb movements or facial contortions. Catatonic schizophrenia may also manifest itself in echolalia and echopraxia, where a person mimics what another says or does.
Undifferentiated schizophrenia is usually given as a diagnosis when a patient's behavior doesn't fit in a diagnosis for the three other types of schizophrenia. Usually this person will shift between the other various types of schizophrenia, exhibiting catatonic symptoms one day and paranoid symptoms the next. A diagnosis of residual schizophrenia is usually a secondary diagnosis given after the major symptoms of schizophrenia subside, either from environmental changes or because of anti-psychotics being prescribed. The person diagnoses may still have symptoms of the disease, but these are greatly diminished, usually to the point where the patient is no longer seen as a threat to themselves or others.