5 Different Types of Schizophrenia

Catatonic Schizophrenia

In this subtype, the symptoms involve motor disturbances, disturbances in movement, and “catatonia.” Usually individuals with this subtype will experience a major reduction in overall activity to the point that they stop moving, and may appear “frozen.” This frozen state with a complete lack of movement is called a “catatonic stupor.” They also may significantly increase movement and appear to be hyperactive – this is known as “catatonic excitement.”

In other words, individuals jump back and forth between purposeless excitement and a major stupor. Individuals may also experience other movement disturbances such as engaging in stereotypies – or ritualistic, repetitive movements such as body rocking. When the individual is in an excited state, they do not engage in any sort of productive activity. During the state of catatonic stupor, the person may appear completely immobile and highly resistant to people that try to help them move.

They may stay stuck in one position for hours at a time. This subtype is also characterized by the symptom of “waxy flexibility” in which another person may move the person’s arm and they hold it locked in the position that it was moved into. In other words, they can be molded like a “wax” figure. Other patients exhibit a strong “rigidity” (i.e. negativism) to the point that it is impossible to move any of their limbs. It is also common to witness echolalia and echopraxia – mimicking speech and movements of other people.

When diagnosing this subtype, it is important to distinguish it from the disorganized-type. Additionally it is important to make sure that the individual is not suffering from neuroleptic malignant syndrome or tardive dyskinesia – which can result in similar behaviors.

Key symptoms:

  • Catatonic stupor
  • Echolalia and/or echopraxia
  • Excessive motor activity
  • Immobility
  • Negativism

DSM diagnosis:

A type of Schizophrenia in which the clinical picture is dominated by at least two of the following:

(1) motoric immobility as evidenced by catalepsy (including waxy flexibility) or stupor
(2) excessive motor activity (that is apparently purposeless and not influenced by external stimuli)
(3) extreme negativism (an apparently motiveless resistance to all instructions or maintenance of a rigid posture against attempts to be moved) or mutism
(4) peculiarities of voluntary movement as evidenced by posturing (voluntary assumption of inappropriate or bizarre postures), stereotyped movements, prominent mannerisms, or prominent grimacing
(5) echolalia or echopraxia

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