Issues surrounding classification and diagnosis of schizophrenia reasons for poor reliability of diagnosis

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Psychology unit 4 revision (schizophrenia)
Issues surrounding classification and diagnosis of schizophrenia, including
reliability and validity
Reasons for poor reliability
Copeland- culture
Asked 134 American psychiatrists and 194 British psychiatrists to read
some descriptions of possible schizophrenics and to diagnose those who they
think have schizophrenia.
Found that Americans said 69% of patients were schizophrenic, but only
2% were diagnosed as schizophrenic by the British.
This shows that culture can influence reliability of diagnosis
Therefore the culture we were brought up in can affect our likelihood of
being diagnosed as schizophrenic and the reliability of the diagnosis even
when the same books are used.
Suffering from 2 mental illnesses at once
Makes it hard to get an accurate and reliable diagnosis as one illness can
hide the symptoms of another.
E.g. a patient may show signs of depression as well as negative signs of
schizophrenia such as alogia and avolition. Therefore it could be hard to
accurately diagnose as depression could be hiding the symptoms.
In order to treat a patient we have to be sure they have 2 different
illnesses as they may get the wrong treatment.
Several different books for defining schizophrenia and therefore
diagnosing patients.
DSM-IV used in UK and America. Other countries have different books.
China uses CCMD and the rest of Europe use ICD.
Therefore as different books are used to diagnose schizophrenia, patients
can be diagnosed depending on where they have come from. Therefore
diagnoses can be wrong as 2 psychiatrists may have different views on what
extent a patient is schizophrenic as they were trained with different books,
so can have a slightly different idea of the symptoms.
No objective test
Such as a blood test so there is no sure way a patient has schizophrenia
Therefore it is hard for psychiatrists to agree as their diagnosis is their
own opinion.

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Psychology unit 4 revision (schizophrenia)
Different types
More than 1 type of schizophrenia such as schizoaffective and
These are similar; the only difference is the time frame required for
symptoms to be present and that schizoaffective also needs depressive and
manic symptoms
Subjective interpretation
Diagnosis can be unreliable as characteristics can be interpreted
E.g. Mojtabi and Nicholson found American psychiatrists agreed 40% of
the time when asked to say if descriptions of delusions were `bizarre'.…read more


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