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Misdiagnosis of a prodromal phase can be critical for recovery

Symptoms that seem to signal an emerging psychosis might be instead a result of early sexual or physical abuse. An incorrect diagnosis of early schizophrenia can have disastrous consequences for the patient.

A doctoral thesis recently defended at LiU explores the metapsychiatric analysis of the prodromal phase of schizophrenia.

During recent years, psychiatric research has focused on the discovery and treatment of psychosis. Special attention is given to the prodromal phases of schizophrenia. Prodromes are early symptoms that indicate the onset of a disorder.

In a recent doctoral thesis The Prodromal Phase of What? A Metapsychiatric Analysis of the Prodromal Phase of Schizophrenia , behavioral scientist Anna-Karin Neubeck demonstrates that psychotic symptoms can indicate severe early trauma.

"Schizophrenia is often presented as an incurable neural disease without a clinical link to past trauma. A diagnosis of emerging schizophrenia might channel the patient into a stigmatic therapy that causes a self-fulfilling prophecy."

"A diagnosis of schizophrenia brings with it a fear of incurability. If a prodrome is identified as an indicator of early schizophrenia, the patient's sense of helplessness will be reinforced," says Anna-Karin Neubeck.

"If the therapy, on the other hand, heeds a patient's traumatic history, the chance of recovery will be improved," says Dr. Neubeck.


Page manager: therese.winder@liu.se
Last updated: 2009-06-03