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Undifferentiated schizophrenia is a mental disorder which is part of the family of disorders broadly known as “schizophrenia.” There are a number of subcategories of schizophrenia including paranoid schizophrenia, catatonic schizophrenia, disorganized schizophrenia, residual schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder; undifferentiated schizophrenia is often defined as a form in which enough symptoms for a diagnosis are present, but the patient does not fall into the catatonic, disorganized, or paranoid subcategories.
Schizophrenia is characterized by a lack of grounding in reality, known as psychosis. People in a state of psychosis can experience hallucinations, delusions, and other events in which they break from reality. Individuals with schizophrenia experience psychosis and can also develop symptoms such as disorganized speech, lack of interest in social interactions, a flat affect, inappropriate emotional responses to situations, confusion, and disorganized thinking.
Patients with undifferentiated schizophrenia do not experience the paranoia associated with paranoid schizophrenia, the catatonic state seen in patients with catatonic schizophrenia, or the disorganized thought and expression observed in patients with disorganized schizophrenia. However, they do experience psychosis and a variety of other symptoms associated with schizophrenia, including behavioral changes which may be noticeable to family and friends.
This mental disorder is challenging to diagnose, and it can take weeks or months to confirm a diagnosis of schizophrenia. During this process, other causes for the symptoms are ruled out, and the patient is observed to collect information about changes in the patient's personality, modes of expression, and mood. Family members and friends may also be interviewed and asked for information with a goal of painting a more complete picture of what is going on inside the patient's mind.
There are a number of treatment options available for undifferentiated schizophrenia. Patients can discuss treatment options with their physicians, although it is important to be aware that it can take time for treatment to be effective. Once patients start experiencing a change, they may require periodic adjustments to their medications and treatment regimen to respond to changes they experience over time. Undifferentiated schizophrenia cannot be cured, but it can be managed with a cooperative effort.
It is important to be aware that managing schizophrenia requires a lifetime commitment which includes regular appointments with psychiatric professionals for evaluation. Patients may want to meet with several physicians to find a regular doctor they feel comfortable with, as every medical professional has a slightly different approach to schizophrenia treatment and it is important to have a doctor who is trustworthy to provide treatment.