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ICD-10 F20
ICD-9 295
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Schizophrenia (from the Greek word σχιζοφρένεια, or shjzofre'neja, meaning "split mind") is a psychiatric diagnosis that describes a mental disorder or a psychotic disorder, characterized by impairments in the perception or expression of reality and by significant social or occupational dysfunction. A person experiencing schizophrenia is typically characterized as demonstrating disorganized thinking, and as experiencing delusions or hallucinations, in particular auditory hallucinations.[1]

Although the disorder is primarily thought to affect cognition, it can also contribute to chronic problems with behavior, interpersonal relationships, and emotion. Due to the many possible combinations of symptoms, a debate is ongoing about whether the diagnosis necessarily or adequately describes a disorder, or alternatively whether it might represent a number of disorders. For this reason, Eugen Bleuler deliberately called the disease "the schizophrenias" plural, when he coined the present name.

Diagnosis is based on the self-reported experiences of the patient, in combination with secondary signs observed by a psychiatrist, clinical psychologist, Social Worker, or other mental health professional. No laboratory test for schizophrenia exists. Studies suggest that genetics, early environment, neurobiology and psychological and social processes are important contributory factors. Current research into the development of the disorder often focuses on the role of neurobiology, although a reliable and identifiable organic cause has not been found. In the absence of a confirmed specific pathology underlying the diagnosis, some question the legitimacy of schizophrenia's status as a disease. Furthermore, some propose that the perceptions and feelings involved are meaningful and do not necessarily involve impairment.

The term schizophrenia translates roughly as "splitting of the mind", and comes from the Greek σχίζω (or schizo, "to split" or "to divide") and φρήν (or phrēn, "mind"). Despite its etymology, schizophrenia is not synonymous with dissociative identity disorder, also known as multiple personality disorder or "split personality"; in popular culture the two are often confused. People with schizophrenia are generally not more violent or dangerous than other members of the population.

Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia are highly likely to be diagnosed with other disorders. The lifetime prevalence of substance abuse is typically around 40%. Comorbidity is also high with clinical depression, anxiety disorders, and social problems, and a generally decreased life expectancy is also present. Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia typically live ten to twelve years less than those without the disorder, owing to increased physical health problems and a high suicide rate. Unemployment and poverty are common. [2]

History of the disorder[]

A nonspecific concept of "madness" has been identified in antiquity, but schizophrenia was only classified as a distinct mental disorder by Kraepelin in 1887. He was the first to make a distinction between schizophrenia and manic depression and named it Dementia praecox .

The term schizophrenia is derived from the Greek words 'schizo' (split) and 'phren' (mind) and was coined by Eugene Bleuler to refer to the lack of interaction between thought processes and perception.He suggested the name schizophrenia, as it was obvious that Kraepelin's name was misleading. The word "praecox" implied precocious or early onset, hence premature dementia, as opposed to senile dementia from old age. Bleuler realized the illness was not a dementia, as it did not lead to mental deterioration. Rather, schizophrenia led to a sharpening of the senses and a greater awareness of memories and experiences.

Main article: Schizophrenia: History of the disorder

Problems with the concept and the validity of the term schizophrenia[]

However, there has been an increasing acknowledgement of the methodological weaknesses, poor prognostic power, symptomatic variability and general weaknesses inherent in the diagnostic validity of the term 'Schizophrenia', the psychological literature has increasingly tended to focus on specific or discrete symptoms or aspects associated with it (Bentall, 1990).

Main article: Schizophrenia - Definition problem

Evolutionary factors in schizophrenia[]

Main article: Schizophrenia - Evolutionary factors

Related articles[]

Main article: Schizophrenia - Diagnosis
Main article: Schizophrenia - Biological factors
Main article: Schizophrenia - Genetic factors
Main article: Schizophrenia - Environmental factors
Main article: Schizophrenia - Children
Main article: Schizophrenia - Developmental factors
Main article: Schizophrenia - Cognitive features
Main article: Schizophrenia - Theoretical approaches
Main article: Schizophrenia - Course of the condition
Main article: Schizophrenia - Epidemiology.
Main article: Schizophrenia - Risk factors.
Main article: Schizophrenia - Etiology.
Main article: Schizophrenia - Service planning and care pathways
Main article: Schizophrenia - Assessment.
Main article: Schizophrenia - Comorbidity.
Main article: Schizophrenia - Treatment.
Main article: Schizophrenia - Relapse prevention
Main article: Schizophrenia - Prognosis.
Main article: Schizophrenia - Suicide
Main article: Schizophrenia - Service user page.
Main article: Schizophrenia - Carer page.

Other terms[]

See also[]

Further information about schizophrenia and approaches to it, suggested by authors such as R.D. Laing, Emil Kraepelin, Eugene Bleuler, Karl Jaspers and Kurt Schneider, as well as books, can be found within the articles for those authors.

Notable people thought to be affected by schizophrenia



  1. American Psychiatric Association (1994) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition TR Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
  2. Brown, S. (1997) 'Excess Mortality of Schizophrenia. A Meta Analysis' in The British Journal of Psychiatry, vol 171, pp 502-508


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General reading[]

  • Bentall, R. (2003) Madness explained: Psychosis and Human Nature. London: Penguin Books Ltd. ISBN 0713992492
  • Boyle, Mary,(1993), Schizophrenia: A Scientific Delusion, Routledge, ISBN 0415097002 (Amazon Review).
  • Green, M.F. (2001) Schizophrenia Revealed: From Neurons to Social Interactions. New York: W.W. Norton. ISBN 0393703347
  • Jones, S. and Hayward, P. (2004) Coping with Schizophrenia: A Guide for Patients, Families and Caregivers. ISBN 1851683445
  • Keen, T. M. (1999) Schizophrenia: orthodoxy and heresies. A review of alternative possibilities. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 1999, 6, 415-424. PDF. An article reviewing the dominant (orthodox) and alternative (heretical) theories, hypotheses and beliefs about schizophrenia.
  • NICE (2003) Schizophrenia: full national clinical guidelines on core interventions in primary and secondary care, NICE, London.
  • Read, J., Mosher, L.R., Bentall, R. (2004) Models of Madness: Psychological, Social and Biological Approaches to Schizophrenia. ISBN 1583919066. A critical approach to biological and genetic theories, and a review of social influences on schizophrenia.
  • Szasz, T. (1976) Schizophrenia: The Sacred Symbol of Psychiatry. New York: Basic Books. ISBN 0465072224
  • Torey, E.F., M.D. (2001) Surviving Schizophrenia: A Manual for Families, Consumers, and Providers (4th Edition). Quill (HarperCollins Publishers) ISBN 0060959193
  • Vonnegut, M. The Eden Express. ISBN 0553027557. A personal account of schizophrenia.

Further reading[]

  • Achimovich, L. (2005). Review of Models of Madness: Psychological, Social and Biological Approaches to Schizophrenia: ANZJFT Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy Vol 26(2) Jun 2005, 108-110.
  • Bowen, M. (1960) A family concept of schizophrenia. In: D.D. Jackson (ed.) The Etiology of Schizophrenia, New York: Basic Books.
  • Clark, R.E. (1948) The relationship of schizophrenia to occupational income and occupational prestige, American Sociological Review 13: 325-30.
  • Clausen, J.A. and Kohn, M.L. (1959) Relation of schizophrenia to the social structure of a small city. In: B. Pasamanick (ed.) Epidemiology of Mental Disorder, Washington, DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.
  • Leff, J. (1992) Over the edge: stress and schizophrenia, New Scientist 4 January.
  • Read J, Mosher L, Bentall R, eds. (2002) Models of madness: psychological, social and biological approaches to schizophrenia.
  • Strauss, J. and Carpenter, W. (1981) Schizophrenia, New York: Plenum Press.


Schizophrenia - Academic support materials

  • Schizophrenia - Lecture slides
  • Schizophrenia - Lecture notes
  • Schizophrenia - Lecture handouts
  • Schizophrenia - Multimedia materials
  • Schizophrenia - Other academic support materials
  • Schizophrenia - Anonymous fictional case studies for training

External links[]

Critical approaches to schizophrenia[]

Critical approaches to schizophrenia (from non-Scientologist sources)[]

News, information and further description[]

Psychosis-this needs amending only example
Psychosis | Psychopathy  
Types of Psychotic Disorder
Schizophrenia | Paranoid schizophrenia | Schizotypal disorder  | Persistant delusional disorder | Induced delusional disorder | Schizoaffective disorders  | Disorganized schizophrenia | Schizotypy |
Assessing Psychosis
Psychological tests | Functional assessment | Early detection |Assessment issues |Schizophrenia - Evaluation protocols |
Treating Psychosis
Early intervention | CBT |Relapse prevention | Psychotherapy |Medication |Family therapy | Rehabilitation | Continuing care |
Psi This page uses content from the English-language version of The Psychology Wiki. The original article was at Schizophrenia. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. The text of both The Psychology Wiki and Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.