There are four subtypes of schizophrenia. It is important to realise that no two people with schizophrenia are the same as the disorder has multiple clinical presentations and different levels of severity.
Phases of schizophrenia are:
• Pre-morbid phase: period prior to onset of symptoms.
• Pro-dromal or pre-psychotic phase:
early symptoms involving changes in thoughts, feelings and behaviour may occur prior to the onset of the frank psychotic symptoms.
• Acute phase:
psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, disorganised behaviour and disorganised thinking are experienced.
• Residual or recovery phase:
acute symptoms have subsided; some odd beliefs, vague abnormal perceptions and negative symptoms may persist.
It is often difficult to differentiate these four phases and symptoms of psychosis may occur to varying degrees, in all four phases.
Reviewed by Dr Tasneem Mahomed, MBBCh (Wits), FC Psych (SA), Mmed Psych (Wits),
Psychiatrist in private practice, Cape Town. March 2015.