Online College Courses for Credit

2 Tutorials that teach Mental Disorders- Psychotic Disorders- Schizophrenia
Take your pick:
Mental Disorders- Psychotic Disorders- Schizophrenia

Mental Disorders- Psychotic Disorders- Schizophrenia

Author: Erick Taggart

Identify the primary symptoms associated with the different types of schizophrenia.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

46 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

299 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 33 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


Video Transcription

Download PDF

Hello class. So in today's lesson, we're going to be talking about a specific type of psychotic disorder. And remember a psychotic disorder is any kind of mental disorder that's characterized by a split or a loss of contact from reality. In other words, a person has a completely different experience of reality or the world around them which the majority of people experience in a different kind of way.

So the most recognized type of psychotic disorder is schizophrenia. And schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder that's characterized specifically by disorganized or inconsistent thoughts, emotions, and behavior. This is why it's sometimes referred to as a thought disorder as opposed to a mood disorder. Because a lot of it is based specifically on their mind and the mental states that the person is experiencing. Now, it's important to know that this is a common mistake that people make. Schizophrenia is not multiple or split personality disorder.

In fact, that's a completely different type of disorder. Oftentimes people confuse schizo with something meaning split. And while those words are similar to each other, they're completely different in terms of psychology. Now, schizophrenia has a prevalence of about 0.3 to 0.7% within the American population. So when we say that it's very recognized, that isn't to say it's very common within the population itself. And schizophrenia often develops during the teen years when a person has their first psychotic break from reality.

It's related to both heredity and environmental factors, which is to say there's a genetic component to it. But it's related to certain kinds of factors, especially things like family life. And in particular it's related to the neurotransmitter of dopamine, which is why a lot of anti psychotic drugs which are used to treat this disorder work to block dopamine uptake within the brain. There are certain major symptoms that are characteristic of schizophrenia in general. While the actual symptoms that are displayed by the person can depend on the type of schizophrenia that they have, these are the ones that you want to know for the disorder in general.

So the first two, hallucinations and delusions, are characteristic of any type of psychotic disorder. Hallucinations are any kind of imagined sensation or a feeling that a person has without any kind of stimulus outside of their body to cause it. In other words, it's something that's not actually there, but that they seem absolutely true to the person themselves. And these can be any kind of auditory, visual, tactile, any kind of sensation or experience a person might have.

The second one delusions are any kind of strong belief that a person holds and that are absolutely real to the person and the person holds them regardless of any kind of contrary evidence outside of this. So a person insists that it's true, and they can't be persuaded otherwise. And the third one is disorganized speech, which is to say the words that are being said don't seem to make sense to anybody who's outside of the person. And this shows the disorganized thoughts that often occur with schizophrenia.

And a lot of people have speculated that this disorganized speech and thought has a lot to do with problems with selective attention within people with schizophrenia, which is to say they can't focus on one thing at a time. It's kind of like all the floodgates are open, and so all thoughts and as a consequence all speech is constantly coming out of that person. And finally, we have what are called negative symptoms, which are to say things that you expect to see within a person but don't actually see occurring within a person with schizophrenia. These are normally occurring things that a person with schizophrenia doesn't have.

Especially the thing to focus on with negative symptoms in schizophrenia is a lack of emotions or a lack of appropriate motions to be specific. So a person might not display emotions, but they also might display the wrong ones for the wrong kind of situation. For example, if they receive bad news they might start laughing hysterically. Other negative symptoms within schizophrenia include speaking less or even moving less and becoming catatonic as we'll see.

So researchers and commissions had noticed that there are certain groups of seemingly different symptoms that occur under the blanket disorder of schizophrenia. And so because a lot of these symptoms occur together, they've been grouped together into specific categories. And there are four of them that we're going to look at for today. The first one is disorganized schizophrenia, which is to say when a person is very disoriented or incoherent, and they can have bizarre thoughts, as well as a lack of emotion or especially appropriate emotion.

So as an example, here's a selection from the speech of a person with disorganized schizophrenia. So this person said, but the rucker took it over, then the dog, the dog is spog, frog, leap, heap, steep, creep, deep, got to go beep. So you see a lot of those thoughts are connected in a very tenuous way, but in no way do they actually make sense. And so this reflects a very disorganized thought pattern within the person themselves.

The second one is catatonic schizophrenia, which is very different in that it's characterized by a long period of rigidity or inactivity. In other words, the person is going catatonic. They're not moving, oftentimes they're frozen in uncomfortable looking sorts of positions. And the person essentially freezes up in some way. And this can be interspersed with periods of sudden agitated bursts of activity where all of a sudden they become very active, especially very aggressive in their actions as well in between periods of being very slow and not moving barely at all. So this one is characterized especially by negative symptoms as you can see.

The third one is paranoid schizophrenia, which is characterized by delusions of paranoia and grandeur, where the person constantly feels like someone's out to get them. So they feel like they're being persecuted in some kind of way by others when in fact they're not. And this can be along with hallucinations especially things like voices in the head. So as you can see, this is an example that's used often, especially in media like TV shows and movies.

And a lot of times these types of people who are paranoid that people are out to get them, say they think the police are looking out for them, or even sometimes they think space aliens are taking over their body, things like that. A lot of times in popular media they're characterized as being very violent. And that isn't necessarily true. In fact, they're not any more violent than anybody in the normal population. The only time that they're especially violent might be when they're in the middle of something like a psychotic break where they're having especially strong or vivid hallucinations or delusions. So that's something important to note, a difference from the way that they're displayed in media.

Finally, we have undifferentiated schizophrenia, which is instances of schizophrenia that have some of the symptoms but not all of them of one type or another. This is kind of the catch all category, the other category at the very end, where a person is displaying clear symptoms of schizophrenia, say they're having hallucinations or delusions that might be interspersed with periods of catatonic states where they're not moving, they're inactive. So you see it can kind of pick symptoms from the other areas. But it doesn't necessarily fit into one category or the other. So as you can see, there's quite a bit that goes into this disorder. And this is why it's an important one to get right, so we're not showing it in an inaccurate or inappropriate way. So we're representing the people with this disorder to the best of our abilities.

Terms to Know
Catatonic Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia marked by long periods of rigidity and inactivity, where the person “freezes up”, and by sudden, agitated bursts of activity.

Disorganized Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia where a person shows very disordered and incoherent and bizarre thought as well as lack of or inappropriate emotion.

Paranoid Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia characterized by delusions of paranoia and grandeur, along with hallucinations, like voices in head.


A psychotic disorder characterized by disorganized or inconsistent thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

Undifferentiated Schizophrenia

Instances of schizophrenia that have some symptoms but not all of another type.