The Concept of Schizophrenia is Coming to an End – Here’s Why

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From The Conversation: Many researchers are beginning to acknowledge that the concept of “schizophrenia” as a discrete, hopeless, and deteriorating brain disease does not exist. In reality, there are many different causes, experiences, and trajectories of psychosis.

“Arguments that schizophrenia is a distinct disease have been ‘fatally undermined’. Just as we now have the concept of autism spectrum disorder, psychosis (typically characterised by distressing hallucinations, delusions, and confused thoughts) is also argued to exist along a continuum and in degrees. Schizophrenia is the severe end of a spectrum or continuum of experiences.

Jim van Os, a professor of psychiatry at Maastricht University, has argued that we cannot shift to this new way of thinking without changing our language. As such, he proposes the term schizophrenia ‘should be abolished’. In its place, he suggests the concept of a psychosis spectrum disorder.

Another problem is that schizophrenia is portrayed as a ‘hopeless chronic brain disease’. As a result, some people given this diagnosis, and some parents, have been told cancer would have been preferable, as it would be easier to cure. Yet this view of schizophrenia is only possible by excluding people who do have positive outcomes. For example, some who recover are effectively told that ‘it mustn’t have been schizophrenia after all’.”

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6 COMMENTS

  1. Ditch Schizophrenia for sure but please don’t replace it with a “Psychosis Spectrum Disorder”. The Psychosis approach would be “milking”.

    When I reduced drastically on medication and sought psychothereuptic help to keep myself together, the Counsellors used a “Normal Approach” and this worked very well.

  2. Maybe it would be better to simply use the name of the instigating entity, once you’ve teased it out of the general syndrome; e.g., vitamin resistant pellagra for those who find B3 effective in big doses, or post partum copper poisoning for “post partum depression” should the syndrome respond to B6 and zinc.

    • bcharris

      I agree that nutrition has a lot to do with emotional wellbeing, anyone eating fast food for a year could have a breakdown.

      What the counsellors did was sucessfully help me with any problems I had as they cropped up. “Schizophrenia” was irrelevant.

  3. “Schizophrenia” is a horrible word. So is “bipolar” and “psychotic.” Each of these words, if “leaked” to an employer, would induce discrimination and job loss. Yet the fired employee would never be told why they were fired. Even the word “disorder” or “spectrum disorder” cause serious problems. The act of labeling people causes great harm and often results in unneeded drug treatment. The mandatory generation of psychiatric labels to justify insurance billing in psychiatry should stop. Psychiatric Labeling should not be incentivized.

  4. Hi. I have a diagnosis. I have about a dozen other mental diagnoses, too. It’s fraud. Sheer crap. The doctors are the ones perpetuating the progressive degenerating brain disease crap. All the while saying the old “hope for recovery” canard. Then they say “take responsibility and learn accountability.” But then go make you a disabled dependent. Then say “I don’t coerce people.” And then they go coerce people. Mindless pencil pushing bureaucrats. Anyway I sent a comp!aint to the med board and Carl Elliott messaged me say get another doctor. But I really hate them, dude.

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