Outline and Evaluate the Classification and Diagnosis of Schizophrenia (16 marks)



Classification of Schizophrenia


  • There is no single defining characteristic of schizophrenia - schizophrenia is a collection of seemingly unrelated symptoms; as a result there are many misconceptions and eaggerations surrounding the nature of schzophrenia.
  • DSM-5 - one positive symptom must be present e.g. delusions, hallucinations or speech disorganisation.
  • ICD-10 - two or more negative symptoms are sufficient for diagnosis e.g. avolition and speech poverty.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

  • Symptoms are the behaviours and thoughts by which a mental disorder is diagnosed.
  • Symptoms of schizophrenia are split into positive and negative symptoms.

Positive symptoms = additional experiences beyond those of ordinary existence.

  • Hallucinations - when individuals see or hear things that aren't real.
  • Delusions - false ideas that an individual convinces themselves is true; common delusions include paranoia (belief that people are watching you or wanting to hurt you), delusions of grandeur (belief that you are important, heroic or have super abilities), delusions of identity (individual thinking that they are someone else), thought insertion (belief that your thoughts are not your own and have been put into your mind by someone else).
  • Disorganised thoughts - "thought disorder" or "loosening of associations"; speech may become tangential (randomly alternting from one topic to another or giving answers to unrelated questions). Speech may also be highly circumstantial (speaking continuously; providing irrelevant details and never getting to the point).

Negative symptoms = loss of usual abilities and experiences.

  • Speech poverty  - a reduction in the amount and quality of speech; may include a delay in verbal responses during converstaion - DSM emphasises speech disorganisation and incoherence.
  • Avolition - severe loss of motivation to carry out everyday tasks (e.g. work and personal care); results in lowered actvity levels and an unwillingness to carry out goal-oriented behaviours.

Diagnosing Schizophrenia


  • ICD-10 - clinicians will try to place the patient in one of the 7 types of schizophrenia; however, there are usually different elements of each type of schizophrenia going on so it may be down to whichever "type" the…


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