MadSci Network: Neuroscience

Re: schizophreniform disorder vrs. schizophrenia

Date: Wed Apr 19 23:28:07 2000
Posted By: Gabriel Vargas M.D.,Ph.D., Post-doc/Fellow, Neurosciences/Psychiatry
Area of science: Neuroscience
ID: 956023355.Ns

Schizophrenia is a devastating mental illness with no known cause.  It has a 
genetic component but likely involves many genes.  Schizophreniform disorder 
is the name given to a cluster of symptoms which are very similar to those 
seen in Schizophrenia but occurring within a time frame of more than one 
month and less than six months.  If those symptoms (which include 
hallucinations, delusions, disorganized speech and behavior, affective 
blunting) last for less than a month the disorder is labelled brief 
psychotic disorder; if it lasts more than six months it is called 
schizophrenia.  It is thought that 60-80% of those diagnosed with 
schizophreniform disorder will eventually meet criteria for schizophrenia. 
As in the case of schizophrenia there is no known etiology. Furthermore, in 
revising the Diagnostic and statistic manual of mental disorders (DSM), the 
criteria for schizophreniform disorder was changed from symptoms lasting at 
least one week to symptoms lasting at least one month. Therefore some of the 
research that was done using the old definition will not apply. In short, it 
seems most people with schizophreniform disorder will develop frank 
schizophrenia though it is clear that a small minority do not and the 
reasons for this are poorly understood.

Kaplan & Sadock's Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry/VII 
by Benjamin J. Sadock (Editor), Virginia A. Sadock (Editor) 

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