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Schizophrenia: a critical psychiatry perspective

Moncrieff, J; Middleton, H; (2015) Schizophrenia: a critical psychiatry perspective. Current Opinion in Psychiatry , 28 (3) pp. 264-268. 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000151. Green open access

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Abstract

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The term ‘schizophrenia’ has been hotly contested over recent years. The current review explores the meanings of the term, whether it is valid and helpful and how alternative conceptions of severe mental disturbance would shape clinical practice. RECENT FINDINGS: Schizophrenia is a label that implies the presence of a biological disease, but no specific bodily disorder has been demonstrated, and the language of ‘illness’ and ‘disease’ is ill-suited to the complexities of mental health problems. Neither does the concept of schizophrenia delineate a group of people with similar patterns of behaviour and outcome trajectories. This is not to deny that some people show disordered speech and behaviour and associated mental suffering, but more generic terms, such as ‘psychosis’ or just ‘madness’, would be preferable because they are less strongly associated with the disease model, and enable the uniqueness of each individual's situation to be recognized. SUMMARY: The disease model implicit in current conceptions of schizophrenia obscures the underlying functions of the mental health system: the care and containment of people who behave in distressing and disturbing ways. A new social framework is required that makes mental health services transparent, fair and open to democratic scrutiny.

Type: Article
Title: Schizophrenia: a critical psychiatry perspective
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1097/YCO.0000000000000151
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1097/YCO.0000000000000151
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Psychiatry, disease model, disease model of mental disorders, schizophrenia, schizophrenia diagnosis, Community
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Division of Psychiatry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1492563
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