As one of the sub-types of schizophrenia disorders which affect emotional, social, and perceptual processes, the disorganized type is described as follows:

“In DISORGANIZED SCHIZOPHRENIA, a particularly severe deterioration of adaptive behaviour is seen. Prominent symptoms include emotional indifference, frequent incoherence, and virtually complete social withdrawal. Aimless babbling and giggling are common. Delusions often centre on bodily functions (‘My brain is melting out my ears’).”
W. Weiten.2000. p.428

Twenty years or so ago, one of my sociology undergrad students presented some of these symptoms in class, and on many occasions I had to stop my lecture to determine the sensibility of his questions. He sat at the back of a 75+ class, and I rarely saw him enter or leave the class unless just by himself. I imagined him to be about 21 years old. About fifty present of the time his questions, often spontaneous, were quite surprisingly cogent and informed. It was clear he was “quite bright”, as they say, in some regards.

But on the other occasions his questions were unrelated to the content of the lecture, and he seemed very confused, similar to being ‘high’ on something or other.  It was clear to me that he had a ‘mind altering’ issue, probably (I thought then) from a drug of some kind.

I raise this subject-matter because I sense that this syndrome is more prevalent in society than we are willing to disclose, or know about. From my other experiences in life for example (travel, shopping, family, social events) disorganized schizophrenia manifested itself I’m sure, but was misinterpreted by me as something else. In order for it to be correctly diagnosed, it has to be observable over months.

Treatment options, as with other similar disorders, suggest a combination of medication and cognitive therapy works best.

October 6, 2014