Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide

Schizophreniform Disorder

Anne Leonpacher, M.D., Russell Margolis, M.D.
Schizophreniform Disorder is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins Psychiatry Guide.

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DEFINITION

  • Disorder characterized by symptoms of schizophrenia, with a total duration greater than one month but less than the six months required for a schizophrenia diagnosis
    • Regarded by DSM-5 as a schizophrenia spectrum disorder [1]
  • When an individual has a new-onset psychosis, the course of illness and eventual diagnosis may be uncertain.
    • Up to 20% may have a single psychotic episode without any subsequent episodes.
    • When an episode lasts less than a month with a full return to baseline, the DSM categorizes this as a brief psychotic disorder [1].
    • About 80% of cases are later diagnosed with schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or an affective disorder.
      • Thus, schizophreniform disorder is often a provisional diagnosis until longitudinal follow-up establishes a more specific diagnosis.
    • Individuals who have a single psychotic episode fulfilling criteria for schizophreniform disorder have been found to present with more positive and affective symptoms, and to have better functioning five years later, compared to those diagnosed with schizophrenia.

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Last updated: May 5, 2015