‘Schizophrenia’ term ought to be abolished

by Medindia Content Team on Oct 10 2006 3:36 PM

A group of mental health experts announced that the term schizophrenia should be done away with, as it has no scientific authority, is vague and stigmatizing.

"It is a harmful concept," said Professor Marius Romme, a visiting professor of social psychiatry at the University of Central England in Birmingham. He added, "Symptoms such as delusions, hearing voices and hallucinations are not the results of the illness but may be reactions to traumatic and troubling events in life. "

Speaking at a news conference, Richard Bentall, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Manchester, said, "The concept of schizophrenia is scientifically meaningless. "It groups together a whole range of different problems under one label -- the assumption is that all of these people with all of these different problems have the same brain disease," he added.

Around 1% of people in the U.S. and Britain are affected by Schizophrenia. Atypical antipsychotic drugs are used for the treatment, that are directed to reduce the symptoms. However, side effects like weight gain, an increased risk of diabetes and sexual dysfunction can be caused by the drug.

Paul Hammersley of the University of Manchester who recently helped launch The Campaign for the Abolition of the Schizophrenia Label (CASL), said, "There is no agreement on the cause of the illness or its treatment. According to CASL, the term schizophrenia is very harmful to those to whom it is applied and means unpredictability, being dangerous, unable to cope and someone in need of life-long treatment.

"It is like cancelling someone's life," said Hammersley. "We generally believe this word has to go." Even other psychiatrists feel that the term schizophrenia is an incorrect term and suggests bizarreness. However, they worry that if the term is abolished, there could be problems in categorizing patients with psychosis.

"If we don't have some way of distinguishing between patients, then those with bipolar disorder or obsessional disorder would be mixed up with those currently diagnosed as having schizophrenia and might receive treatments wholly inappropriate for them," said Robin Murray, a professor of psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry in London.

Dopamine dysregulation disorder is term he recommended to replace the term schizophrenia. He added, "This term more accurately reflects what is happening in the brain of someone who is psychotic. "