“Undifferentiated schizophrenia” is used as a label for cases of schizophrenia that don’t match any of the established types of schizophrenia. Undifferentiated type schizophrenia differs from “residual schizophrenia,” which refers to chronic conditions after an acute schizophrenia episode.
Undifferentiated Schizophrenia Symptoms
Although they’re just as severe, the symptoms of undifferentiated schizophrenia are not as specific as the symptoms of other types of schizophrenia.
In some cases, undifferentiated schizophrenia symptoms change often, resembling the symptoms of various types of schizophrenia at different times and defying classification. In other cases of undifferentiated schizophrenia, symptoms are stable but they don’t match the description of the symptoms of other types of schizophrenia.
Undifferentiated schizophrenia symptoms vary from case to case. Any symptoms seen in other types of schizophrenia may be present, including:
- Catatonic symptoms
- Disorganized thinking
- A flat affect characterizing dulled emotions
A gradual worsening of “negative” symptoms often occurs in cases of undifferentiated schizophrenia. Negative symptoms result from the loss of mental function. “Positive” symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions result from excessive mental functioning.
Negative symptoms associated with undifferentiated schizophrenia include:
- Deadened or dulled emotions
- Improvised or impaired speech
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Loss of interest in activities
- Social withdrawal.
Diagnosing Schizophrenia, Undifferentiated Type
A diagnosis of undifferentiated schizophrenia must meet the criteria for general schizophrenia, but cannot match any of the three established types of schizophrenia: paranoid schizophrenia, disorganized schizophrenia or catatonic schizophrenia.
Furthermore, undifferentiated schizophrenia must include psychotic symptoms. If psychotic symptoms are not present or they cause only minimal problems, a diagnosis of residual schizophrenia or post-schizophrenic depression may be the preferred diagnosis.
Treatment of Undifferentiated Schizophrenia
The treatment of undifferentiated schizophrenia symptoms is similar to general schizophrenia treatment and faces the same challenges. Treatment options include antipsychotic medication, therapy and, in severe cases, hospitalization.
The wide range of symptoms coupled with the fact that persons with undifferentiated schizophrenia are only rarely aware that they need treatment complicates treatments plans for undifferentiated schizophrenia.
Types of Schizophrenia
The different types of schizophrenia have specific, distinct symptoms. Specialists believe that undifferentiated schizophrenia symptoms result from several different disorders. Researchers hope that eventually they’ll have evidence that undifferentiated schizophrenia is actually a combination of disorders. Time and research may provide more information about undifferentiated schizophrenia.
Bengston, M. (2006). Undifferentiated schizophrenia. Retrieved July 5, 2010, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/2006/undifferentiated-schizophrenia/
Mulhauser, G. (2010). Undifferentiated schizophrenia diagnostic criteria. Retrieved July 5, 2010, from http://counsellingresource.com/distress/schizophrenia/icd/undifferentiated.html
PSYweb. (n.d.). Schizophrenia (undifferentiated type). Retrieved July 5, 2010, from http://psyweb.com/Mdisord/SchizoDis/undtype.jsp