Residual Schizophrenia: What To Know | Banyan Mental Health
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Residual Schizophrenia: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental health disorder that affects a person's ability to think, feel, and behave clearly. Schizophrenia is characterized by thoughts or experiences that are out of touch with reality, disorganized speech or behavior, and decreased interest in activities that were once favored. People with this disorder may also suffer from problems with concentration and memory. Schizophrenia not only produces a variety of symptoms, but it also occurs in stages, one of them being the residual stage or residual schizophrenia.  

What Is Residual Schizophrenia? 

Schizophrenia has three distinct stages: prodromal, active, and residual stage. Each of these stages is characterized by different symptoms and may indicate the severity of the individual’s diagnosis.   Residual schizophrenia refers to the third stage of schizophrenia in which the individual experiences fewer or less severe symptoms than those seen in the active stage. While it is no longer recognized by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), the residual phase of schizophrenia is useful for describing and understanding the symptoms of schizophrenia.  Typically, people in the residual stage of schizophrenia do not experience “positive” symptoms like hallucinations or delusions. Rather they experience “negative” symptoms like lack of motivation, low energy, or depressed mood. Additionally, while the subtypes of schizophrenia are often more extreme and include symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, disordered speech, and catatonic behavior, the residual stage of the disorder is usually milder.  

Residual Schizophrenia Symptoms and Signs  

Although in the past, people with residual schizophrenia have experienced at least one episode involving the common and prominent symptoms that impact their thinking and perceptions (positive symptoms), they no longer experience those symptoms. Instead, people diagnosed with residual schizophrenia only experience negative symptoms, which include a loss or decrease in social or emotional functioning or two or more mild behavioral/cognitive disturbances.  

Common symptoms of residual schizophrenia type include:  

  • Odd beliefs 
  • Unusual perceptions 
  • Distorted thinking 
  • Flat affect or diminished emotional expression 
  • Lack of motivation to engage in meaningful activities (avolition) 
  • Inability to experience pleasure (anhedonia) 
  • Diminished speech (alogia) 
  • Social withdrawal (asociality) 
While a person can develop schizophrenia at any age, the age of onset varies between men and women. While early symptoms of schizophrenia usually appear between the late teens to early 20s in men, symptoms may appear in the late 20s to early 30s for women. If you suspect that you might have a mental illness, our Banyan mental health treatment center offers mental health diagnostic services that can confirm or deny your suspicions.

What Causes Residual Schizophrenia? 

A single cause of schizophrenia is not defined. Rather this multidimensional disorder arises from several variables. A combination of environmental, genetic, and physiological factors can alter a person’s brain chemistry, structure, and function and can increase their chances of developing schizophrenia.  

Common causes of residual schizophrenia include:  

  • Genetics: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), people with a family history of schizophrenia are six times more likely to develop the disorder. 
  • Environment: The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that exposure to environmental factors like viruses, stress, and poverty may play a role in the development of schizophrenia. Other factors like lifestyle choices, trauma, and substance abuse may also have an impact. 
  • Brain structure: Changes in brain structure and function can result in abnormal interactions between the brain’s neurotransmitters, such as dopamine. These changes may lead to psychotic episodes and the progression of schizophrenia. Changes in brain structure and chemical balance commonly result from drug and alcohol use. 
  • Substance abuse: Substance abuse, especially during adolescence, can also increase the risk of developing schizophrenia. 

Residual Schizophrenia Treatment 

While medication is often prescribed to help individuals with schizophrenia cope with their symptoms, it’s not the only solution. Medication for schizophrenia works best when combined with therapy and counseling. This multifaceted approach ensures that the individual is not just taking something to balance chemical structure in the mind but also receives the necessary guidance to change their habits and coping mechanisms.   Our center for mental illness treatment in Boca offers schizophrenia treatment that can help you or a loved one learn how to cope with their symptoms and live with their disorder.  Call Banyan Treatment Centers today at 888-280-4763 for more information about our residential mental health program in Boca.   

NIH - Impact of the DSM-IV to DSM-5 Changes on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health [Internet].  NAMI - Schizophrenia 

Related Reading:  
What Not to Say to Someone With Schizophrenia 
How Schizophrenia Was Portrayed in A Beautiful Mind 
Alyssa is Banyan’s Director of Digital Marketing & Technology. After overcoming her own struggles with addiction, she began working in the treatment field in 2012. She graduated from Palm Beach State College in 2016 with additional education in Salesforce University programs. A part of the Banyan team since 2016, Alyssa brings over 5 years of experience in the addiction treatment field.

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