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Schizophr Res. 2011 Sep;131(1-3):24-30. doi: 10.1016/j.schres.2011.06.022. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Practitioner perceptions of attenuated psychosis syndrome.

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University of Hawaii, Manoa, HI, USA.


The "Attenuated Psychosis Syndrome" (APS, sometimes referred to as the "schizophrenia prodrome") is characterized by subthreshold psychotic-like symptoms and functional decline, and is often associated with significant disability. These symptoms may cause impairment and are of further interest due to their predictive relation to schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. These symptoms currently are not represented in the diagnostic system for mental health, and it is unclear how they are conceptualized by relevant professionals. The current study surveyed a national sample (n=303) of clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, and general practitioners regarding their clinical appraisal of APS. Practitioners were asked to respond to vignettes representing three conditions: psychosis, subthreshold psychosis (indicating 'attenuated' psychosis symptoms), and no psychotic symptoms. Practitioners' responses suggested that APS is viewed consistently with a DSM-IV-TR defined mental disorder and that most clinicians may diagnose this condition as a full threshold psychotic disorder. Findings tentatively suggest that the inclusion of an attenuated psychosis symptoms category in the forthcoming DSM-5 may be helpful in improving diagnostic reliability and facilitating best practice among community practitioners.

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