AskDefine | Define hebephrenia

Dictionary Definition

hebephrenia n : a form of schizophrenia characterized by severe disintegration of personality including erratic speech and childish mannerisms and bizarre behavior; usually becomes evident during puberty; the most common diagnostic category in mental institutions [syn: hebephrenic schizophrenia, disorganized schizophrenia, disorganized type schizophrenia]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Greek ἥβη ‘youthful beauty’ (also Ἥβη ‘the goddess Hebe’) + φρήν ‘mind’.




  1. A type of mental disorder occuring during puberty.
  2. A form of schizophrenia characterised by inappropriate behaviour and emotional responses.

Extensive Definition

Disorganized schizophrenia is a subtype of schizophrenia as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This type is characterized by prominent disorganized behavior and speech (see formal thought disorder) including word salad, and flat or inappropriate emotion and affect. The criteria for the catatonic subtype of schizophrenia must not have been met as well. This type of schizophrenia is also known as hebephrenia, and is named after the Greek goddess of youth, Hebe, in reference to the typical age of onset in puberty.
Unlike the paranoid subtype of schizophrenia, delusions and hallucinations are not the most prominent feature, although fragmentary delusions and hallucinations may be present.
The emotional responses of people diagnosed with this subtype can often seem strange or inappropriate to the situation. Inappropriate facial responses may be common and behavior is sometimes described as 'silly', such as inappropriate laughter. Complete lack of expressed emotion is sometimes seen, as is an apparent indifference, anhedonia (the lack of pleasure), and avolition (a lack of motivation). Some of these features are also present in other types of schizophrenia, but they are most prominent in Disorganized Schizophrenia.
This form of schizophrenia is typically associated with early onset (often between the ages of 15 and 25 years) and is thought to have a poor prognosis because of the rapid development of 'negative' symptoms and decline in social functioning.
Disorganized schizophrenia is thought to be an extreme expression of the 'disorganization syndrome' that has been hypothesised to be one aspect of a three-factor model of symptoms in schizophrenia The other factors being 'reality distortion' (involving delusions and hallucinations) and 'psychomotor poverty' (poverty of speech, lack of spontaneous movement and various aspects of blunting of emotion).


hebephrenia in Bosnian: Hebefrena shizofrenija
hebephrenia in German: Hebephrene Schizophrenie
hebephrenia in Dutch: Gedesorganiseerde schizofrenie
hebephrenia in Uzbek: Gebefreniyali qoʻzgʻolish
hebephrenia in Polish: Schizofrenia zdezorganizowana
hebephrenia in Russian: Гебефренический синдром
hebephrenia in Finnish: Hebefreeninen skitsofrenia
hebephrenia in Ukrainian: Гебефренія
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