Paranoid schizophrenia is the most common form of schizophrenia, at about 65 percent. The main symptoms here are delusions such as paranoia and hallucinations such as hearing voices. Paranoid schizophrenia is therefore also called paranoid hallucinatory schizophrenia. Read all important information about this type of schizophrenia here.
Paranoid schizophrenia: diagnosis
About half of all schizophrenia patients show symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia during the course of the disease. This usually develops later than the other types of schizophrenia. She often appears only in middle-aged people.
According to the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10), the following criteria for the diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia must apply:
- The general criteria of schizophrenia are present.
- Those affected have delusions or hallucinations (predominantly auditory hallucinations).
- Inappropriate emotions or lack of expression (so-called “flat affect”) are not or only weakly.
Paranoid schizophrenia: delusions
The delusions of paranoid schizophrenia can be very different. Often the patients suffer from paranoia: They are firmly convinced that they are being monitored by other people and that they want to harm them. As a result, patients develop great distrust of others. Many patients with paranoid schizophrenia believe they are being monitored and monitored in their home. Some also feel pursued by aliens.
Another form of delusion is the delusions, Sufferers believe that normal conditions such as the weather include a message or warning for them. Sometimes the newsreader on television or radio is also considered to be the transmitter of secret messages. Many patients also assume that people who talk, talk about themselves. Mistrust can also be directed against one’s own family or partner.
Note: Family members should be aware that this often injurious behavior of a patient arises from his illness. Professional support from the attending physician can help. As a relative, you should not try to argue with the patient about his delusions. That could make the situation worse.
Paranoid schizophrenia: hallucinations
Paranoid schizophrenia often causes delusions as well as hallucinations. These are hallucinations in which something is heard, seen or even smelled that does not exist. Nevertheless, paranoid schizophrenia patients consider these perceptions real. Most common are auditory hallucinations, such as hearing voices. For example, some patients “hear” entire dialogues between different voices or receive commands from one voice.
Paranoid schizophrenia: other symptoms
In addition to delusions and hallucinations, paranoid schizophrenia patients often develop anger and anxiety. They are often restless and contentious. In very rare cases, those affected also become violent. This can happen when they feel threatened.
Note: In this case, relatives should get help immediately – the best way to call the ambulance! It is futile to use words to bring the affected person to their senses. If, due to schizophrenia, there is an acute danger to the person affected or to other people, compulsory admission may also be necessary against the wishes of the patient.
During a phase of paranoid schizophrenia, there is usually no or very little speech impairment, motor disturbance or listlessness – symptoms typical of other forms of schizophrenia. Paranoid schizophrenia patients also do not have inappropriate or paralyzed emotions. One speaks of a flat affect, if the mimic and the body posture do not allow conclusions on the inner emotional state.
Paranoid schizophrenia: prognosis
Many sufferers and relatives mainly have one question: is a paranoid schizophrenia curable? The answer is not easy. Some patients experience only an acute disease phase and then become completely healthy again. Others return to “normalcy” after several acute phases. Paranoid schizophrenia can also be chronic with permanent deficits and impairments.
In general, paranoid schizophrenia has a good prognosis if treated appropriately. Antipsychotic drugs (neuroleptics) work well in many cases. Especially with early treatment, the delusions and hallucinations can be stopped quickly. In addition, patients should also receive psychotherapeutic treatment and take psychosocial measures. This improves one’s own way of dealing with the illness and helps to recognize and eliminate possible triggering stress factors at an early stage. This additionally reduces the risk of a relapse of paranoid schizophrenia.