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Schizophreniform Disorder

By

Carol Tamminga

, MD, UT Southwestern Medical Dallas

Last full review/revision May 2020| Content last modified May 2020

Schizophreniform disorder causes symptoms of schizophrenia, but the symptoms last only 1 to 6 months.

As in schizophrenia, people with schizophreniform disorder have symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking and speech, and bizarre and inappropriate motor behavior (including catatonia) that indicate loss of contact with reality. (See also Introduction to Schizophrenia and Related Disorders.)

Because of this similarity, doctors carefully assess how long psychotic symptoms have been present. If they last longer than a month but resolve within 6 months after they begin, a schizophreniform disorder is diagnosed. However, doctors must rule out any temporary psychosis that might be the result of a substance use disorder or another medical condition.

If psychotic symptoms persist longer than 6 months, schizophrenia is the most likely diagnosis but some people instead develop bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder.

People are treated with antipsychotic drugs and supportive psychosocial care. After symptoms resolve, drug treatment is continued for 12 months and then gradually tapered while the person is closely monitored for the return of psychotic symptoms.

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