Schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophreniform disorder are all among the continuum of psychiatric illnesses
Schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophreniform disorder are all psychotic disorders that have their onset in early adulthood. However, there are unique characteristics that distinguish them from each other: Absence of prominent mood symptoms; lack of disorganized thinking or speech; and duration of less than 6 months for schizophreniform disorder. For instance, a young adult experiencing his first psychotic episode might present with the following presentation: A 22-year-old male is brought in by his panicked parents because he has not been able to sleep for three days and has become increasingly suspicious that others are out to get him. Although he agrees that his behavior is bizarre, the patient steadfastly denies having any delusions or hallucinations. His speech is rambling but organized and logical most of the time.
Schizophreniform disorder is a mental illness that involves some of the same symptoms as schizophrenia, including hallucinations, delusions, disordered thoughts, and stereotyped behavior. However, in schizophreniform disorder these symptoms do not last for as long a period of time as they do in schizophrenia. People with this form of schizophrenia are not hospitalized as often as individuals with schizophrenia who require more intensive care. The symptoms tend to come and go rather than remaining constant. After their symptoms have been present for six months or more, individuals may be diagnosed with another condition such as schizoaffective disorder rather than schizophreniform disorder if there has been no improvement in symptoms.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders estimates that 1.1% of Americans suffer from schizophrenia. However, a lesser known alternative diagnosis is schizophreniform disorder, which is slightly more difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are less severe and the duration of illness is shorter. While schizophreniform has similar signs and symptoms to schizophrenia, it is often referred to as an “atypical psychosis.”
Schizoaffective disorder resembles bipolar disorder in that mood swings can be a feature of the illness. Schizoaffective disorder, however, involves symptoms of both schizophrenia and depression at the same time. The schizophreniform version is characterized by a single episode of an altered state of consciousness or psychosis, as opposed to more common chronic forms that involve multiple such episodes.
Schizophreniform differs from schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder by duration of the disorder. Schizophreniform is a severe mental illness that features some symptoms of schizophrenia, but affects
Schizophreniform disorder differs from schizophrenia in that it lasts shorter than six months and its symptoms are less severe.
Schizophreniform Disorder is a “psychotic disorder” characterized by an acute onset of psychotic symptoms that would meet criteria for schizophrenia if duration criteria were met. The notable difference between the two disorders is the duration of their symptoms. While someone with schizophrenia may exhibit symptoms for a period of six months or longer, schizophreniform disorder lasts anywhere from one to six months.
Schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophreniform disorder are all among the continuum of psychiatric illnesses characterized by psychotic episodes. Which of the following clusters of features best distinguishes schizophreniform disorder?