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The schizophrenias, the neuroses and the covered wagon; a critical review

Authors C Raymond Lake, Nathaniel Hurwitz

Published 15 March 2007 Volume 2007:3(1) Pages 133—143

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C Raymond Lake1, Nathaniel Hurwitz2

1Department of Psychiatry, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS, USA; 2Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CN, USA

Objective: In order to compare their validity, this review applies scientific standards for sustaining the neuroses, the schizophrenias and bipolar disorders as separate “bona-fide” psychiatric diseases. The standards for disease validation demand specific and unique symptoms.

Method: We review a wide variety of clinical and basic science comparisons between schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar in a select English-language literature.

Results: Like covered wagons, the neuroses once served us well but became obsolete and were discarded or reorganized based on what was known about commonalities of symptoms, causation and pharmacological responsivity. Bipolar patients meet unique and specific diagnostic criteria and demonstrate consistent results across a variety of scientific disciplines. Neither the neuroses nor the schizophrenias have such unique or disease specific diagnostic criteria. Psychotic mood disorders account for the DSM diagnostic criteria for schizophrenia. A recent, selected but diverse basic science literature demonstrates surprising similarities between schizophrenia and psychotic bipolar which should not exist if these disorders are distinct.

Conclusions: Like the neuroses, there is stigma, confusion and misunderstanding about the condition called schizophrenia, resulting in substantial negative impact on bipolar patients misdiagnosed as having schizophrenia. The psychoses, including the schizophrenias, likely are explained by a single disease, psychotic bipolar disorder, that has demonstrated a wide spectrum of severity of symptoms and chronicity of course, not traditionally recognized.

Keywords: schizophrenia, mania, depression, bipolar mood disorder, neurosis, psychosis, Kraepelinian dichotomy

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