Schizophreniform Disorder

Anne Leonpacher, M.D., Russell Margolis, M.D.


  • 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 5 years later, compared to those diagnosed with schizophrenia.

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Last updated: August 2, 2017