The characteristic symptoms of schizophreniform disorder are identical to those of Schizophrenia.
Schizophreniform disorder is distinguished from schizophrenia by its duration: an episode of the disorder (including prodromal, active, and residual phases) lasts at least 1 month but less than 6 months.
In some cases, the diagnosis is given as provisional because it is uncertain if the individual will recover from the disturbance within the 6-month period. If the disturbance persists beyond 6 months, the diagnosis should be changed to schizophrenia.
Another way this disorder differs from schizophrenia is that, in schizophreniform disorder, impaired social and occupational functioning are not required criteria. While such impairments may potentially be present, they are not necessary for a diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder. However, most individuals experience dysfunction in several areas of daily functioning, such as school or work, interpersonal relationships, and self-care. Individuals who recover from schizophreniform disorder are projected to have a better functional prognosis.
For a diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder, an individual must meet at least two of the following (with one being either 1, 2, or 3)
2. Hallucinations (see schizophrenia for elaborated description of symptoms)
3. Disorganized speech (communication is incoherent or seems like a “word salad”; frequent derailment of ideas)
4. Disorganized or catatonic behavior.
5. Diminished range of emotional expression (the person can appear emotionally withdrawn)
Medina, J. (2014). Schizophreniform Disorder Symptoms. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 30, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/disorders/schizophreniform-disorder-symptoms/
Symptom criteria summarized from:
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fifth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
American Psychiatric Association. (1994). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, fourth edition. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 5 May 2014
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