Schizophreniform Disorder, another type of psychosis

Sherman Hoover
Schizophreniform Disorder, another type of psychosis

Organic schizophreniform disorder is a type of schizophrenia, the difference is that it has a limited duration, less than 6 months.


  • What is schizophreniform disorder?
  • Symptoms
  • Causes
  • Treatment
    • References

What is schizophreniform disorder?

Like schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder is a type of psychosis in which the person suffering from it is unable to distinguish what is real from what is not. This disorder affects the way the person thinks, acts, expresses emotions and relates to others.

The diagnosis of schizophreniform disorder is made when someone has typical schizophrenia symptoms for at least one month but less than six months, including the prodromal, active, and residual phases. If the symptoms last six months or more, the diagnosis changes to schizophrenia or, in some cases, to bipolar disorder or schizoaffective disorder. On the other hand, to meet the criteria for schizophreniform disorder, symptoms cannot be the result of a medication, recreational drug, or other medical or psychological problem..


For schizophreniform disorder to be diagnosed, as in schizophrenia, at least two of the following symptoms must appear:

  • Delusions (false beliefs that the person refuses to give up, even after learning the facts).
  • Hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not real).
  • Disorganized, meaningless speech, using disjointed words and jumping from one topic to another, generating an incoherent type of communication.
  • Strange behavior such as walking in circles or constantly writing.
  • Disorganized or catatonic behavior.
  • Decreased range of emotional expression (person appears emotionally withdrawn).
  • Lack of energy.
  • Poor grooming and self-care habits.
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in life
  • Isolation from family, friends, and social activities

Also, at least one of the symptoms must include delusions, hallucinations, or disorganized language..

People with schizophreniform disorder often withdraw from loved ones and avoid social activities. This leads to a loss of normal life and social skills, as well as significant problems at school or work..

Although schizophrenia affects men and women equally, the onset is generally earlier in men, often appearing between the ages of 18 and 24, while the onset in women is more common between the ages of 24 and 35.


The causes of schizophreniform disorder are unclear, but appear to be related to genetics, an abnormal brain structure, and an environment or situation that initiates symptoms in people who are susceptible to this disease. Poor interpersonal relationships or severe stress can also trigger schizophrenia symptoms.

  • Genetics: Children of parents affected by a schizophreniform disorder have a higher risk of developing the same disease.
  • Structure and function of the brain: people with schizophrenia and schizophreniform disorder may have an alteration in the brain circuits that are responsible for thinking and perception.
  • Environment: Poor relationships or highly stressful events can trigger schizophreniform disorder in people who have inherited a tendency to develop the disease.


Psychotherapy and antipsychotic medications are the foundation of treatment for schizophreniform disorder.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help people with schizophrenia understand the disorder and provide practical ways to cope with it while improving social and problem-solving skills. Other types of therapy that take a positive approach can be just as effective, at least in the short term.

If violent or self-destructive symptoms appear, hospitalization may be necessary. Family therapy can also help family members cope with the disorder and learn effective ways to help..


  • Understanding Mental Disorders. Schizophreniform disorder. 2015; American Psychiatric Association.

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