Disorganized schizophrenia is one of the 5 subtypes of schizophrenia. It is also known as hebephrenia. Schizophrenia is a mental disease in which the affected person has difficulty in understanding the reality. The three most primary symptoms of disorganized schizophrenia are; patients disorganized behavior, disorganized speech and flat affect (lack of emotional and facial expression). Person suffering from this form of schizophrenia is not able to interact normally with society. Patients do not take care of themselves. For example they neglect bathing, dressing in appropriate manner, etc.
This mental illness usually develops during adolescence age or in young adults between 15 to 25 years.The exact cause of schizophrenia is unknown, but according to experts genetics and environment play a role in causing this illness. The disease cannot be cured but with use of regular medications, the symptoms can be contained. With proper adherence to the treatment model patients are able to cope with their day to day life.
Causes And Risk Factors Of Disorganized Schizophrenia
The exact cause of disorganized schizophrenia is unclear. Experts suggest brain dysfunction, environmental triggers and genetics play a role in development of disorganized schizophrenia. An imbalance in brain chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin is suspected for onset of schizophrenia.
Following are the risk factors:
- Genetics: It has been known that people having family history of schizophrenia are at greater risk of developing this mental illness. The risk increases 10 times if any one parent is suffering from schizophrenia.
- Mental stress: Abuse or mental trauma during the early childhood increases risk of schizophrenia.
- Viral infection: Viral infection in mother such as herpes, influenza, rubella, toxoplasma when the fetus is in womb increases the risk of developing schizophrenia for the child.
- Fetal malnutrition: If the fetus inside womb is devoid of essential nutrition, he has higher risk of suffering from malnutrition.
- Parental age: Child born to mother with age more than 35 to 40 years is at higher risk of developing this condition.
- Drugs: Drug abuse at an early age can affect the mental functioning of the child. Substance abuse is found to be commonly associated with those suffering from schizophrenia.
Signs And Symptoms Of Disorganized Schizophrenia
Disorganized schizophrenia is one of the serious forms of schizophrenia. The main problem with such patients is it becomes very difficult for people to understand the way he speaks and behaves. It is completely irrelevant and disorganized for a normal person. Lack of emotions or blank and emotionless face is characteristic feature in this form.
The signs and symptoms of disorganized schizophrenia are as follows:
- Disorganized thinking: Patients thinking is unclear. His thoughts are not logical to make any sense. Hence what he speaks also becomes nonsensical. Thus to sustain talking with this patient becomes challenging for someone who is mentally normal.
- Disorganized speech: Since patients thinking is absurd, his speech lacks cohesion. Patient speaks randomly and changes subjects frequently which do not correlate to the substance. Person changes his talk from one topic to another without any relevance.
- Disorganized behavior: Patient may behave like a child for his age. His behavior is unprovoked. Person neglects taking care of himself. He does not take bath for days and weeks. Wear same clothes for days even though they become smelly and dirty. Does not like to change clothes.
- Flat affect: Patient has blank and expressionless face. Patient does not show any emotions on his face. He appears quiet apathetic.
- Anhedonia: These patients do not enjoy or get involved in any pleasurable activities. They do not find any person, hobby, activity enjoyable nor do they engage themselves in such activities.
- Depression, suicidal thoughts and behavior, malnourishment, conflict at home and at workplace, finding difficulty in maintaining employment are some of the complications that may be experienced by the patient.
Treatment Options For Disorganized Schizophrenia
Treatment of disorganized schizophrenia is almost similar as other forms of schizophrenia. Unfortunately there is no cure for the disease and patient has to take treatment for long period. Even when the symptoms have receded, patient must continue treatment or else symptoms will return. Treatment consists of antipsychotic medicines, psychotherapy, vocational skill training and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) if the symptom manifestation is severe.
Compliance to the treatment is the key issue for better prognosis. When the patient adheres properly to the treatment mode, he is almost free of symptoms. But if patient stops taking medications the symptoms often become worse over a period of time.