Residual schizophrenia is a mild form of schizophrenia that can persist for a year or more after a psychotic episode. The patient still experiences some symptoms of the more severe form of this mental health condition, but does not experience total disorganization or a complete disruption of daily life. There are treatments available for residual schizophrenia, including medications as well as psychotherapy. Some patients recover well after an adjustment period.
To be diagnosed with schizophrenia, patients generally need to experience some combination of delusions, hallucinations, disorganized behavior, a flattened affect, and disorganized speech. If hallucinations or delusions are severe, that may be enough for a diagnosis. When symptoms of schizophrenia are intense, the patient is said to be having a psychotic episode. Patients in psychosis have a complete break with reality and their symptoms dominate their experience of the world.
After such episodes end, some patients experience residual schizophrenia. They are not psychotic, but they do have low-level negative symptoms of schizophrenia like depression, disinterest in the world, a decline in motor skills, confusion, or apathy. Hallucinations and delusions may occur, but they are usually low level. If someone has a history of psychotic episodes and experiences these symptoms, it can mean that the person has residual schizophrenia.
A thorough evaluation by a psychiatrist is needed to diagnose this condition. There are several mood disorders that can have similar symptoms and it is important to rule out those potential causes because they are treated differently. After careful review of a patient's medical history and one or more sessions with the patient, a psychiatrist can provide a diagnosis and make treatment recommendations.
Some medications can help balance the mood of a patient with residual schizophrenia. These can help the patient engage in the tasks of daily life. Psychotherapy can also be beneficial for some patients, giving them an opportunity to talk with a therapist in a focused environment about issues that may be troubling them. Therapy can include discussions about coping techniques and other tools that a patient may find useful.
People with schizophrenia can experience a social stigma. There are numerous misconceptions about this mental illness and the forms it takes. There are a number of different types of schizophrenia, and they can manifest in very different ways in individual patients. People with friends or family who have been diagnosed with this condition can find a number of resources for learning more about it and finding out how they can help their loved ones.