Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Signs and symptoms of schizophrenia are variable and include changes in perception, emotion, cognition, thinking, and behavior. A diagnosis of schizophrenia requires continuous signs of the disturbance for at least 6 months, during which time the individual’s level of functioning is markedly below their norm in work, interpersonal relations, or self-care. When the onset is in childhood or adolescence, the person fails to achieve an expected level of interpersonal, academic, or occupational functioning. The 6-month period must include at least two of the symptoms below that are active for a significant portion of time during a period of 1 month. At least one of these must be from the first three in the list:
A diagnosis of schizophrenia requires ruling out schizoaffective disorder and depressive or bipolar disorder with psychotic features. In addition, the symptoms cannot be attributable to the physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse or medication) or another medical condition.
Schizoaffective disorder has features of both schizophrenia and mood disorders. A diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder is given with the following requirements:
The symptoms of schizophreniform are similar to those of schizophrenia; however, with schizophreniform disorder, they last less than 6 months (but at least 1 month). Patients with this disorder return to their baseline level of functioning after the disorder has resolved. If the disorder lasts longer than 6 months, it is diagnosed as schizophrenia.
A diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder must rule out schizoaffective disorder and depressive or bipolar disorder with psychotic features. In addition, symptoms cannot be attributable to the effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse or medication) or another medical condition.
Mental Health Library Sources:
Information included in all topics of the Mental Health Library comes from the Desk Reference to the Diagnostic Criteria From DSM-5 and Kaplan & Sadock’s Concise Textbook of Clinical Psychiatry. Complete diagnostic and treatment information may be found within these publications.
Information within the Mental Health Library is not intended to be used for self-diagnosis purposes. Rather, it is provided as a public educational service to make people aware of mental health conditions. Please consult a qualified mental health professional for a diagnosis of any suspected mental health illness.
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