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Nord J Psychiatry. 2018 Jan;72(1):1-8. doi: 10.1080/08039488.2017.1368701. Epub 2017 Aug 28.

Severe clinical events in 100 patients with schizophrenia: a retrospective clinical description using a system-specific psychopathological approach.

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a Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy II , Ulm University , Günzburg , Germany.
b Medical Practice for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy Lang , Gersthofen , Germany.
c Institute of Psychiatric Phenomics and Genomics , LMU München , Munich , Germany.
d Translational Research Center , University Hospital of Psychiatry , Bern , Switzerland.
e Department of Psychiatry, Psychosomatic and Psychotherapy , Bezirkskrankenhaus Kempten , Kempten , Germany.


Catatonic states and numerous other severe clinical events can complicate the course of schizophrenia. Whether these severe courses are associated with particular system-specific symptom dimensions remain unclear. Aim is to assess the frequency of severe clinical events in a clinical population and to investigate the association of these events with sociodemographic data and system-specific psychopathology, combining qualitative and quantitative data. We performed a comprehensive retrospective description of a well-described and geographically stable sample of 100 patients with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder and linked severe clinical events with sociodemographic data at inclusion into the study (as indicators of social functioning) and symptoms at first admission, classified with the Bern Psychopathology Scale (BPS). We found 12 mentions of catatonic stupor or excitement, 45 of suicide attempts, 26 of suicidality, 18 of deliberate self-harm, 18 of self-threatening behaviour other than deliberate self-harm, 34 of violence against other persons, 18 of violence against objects and six of sexual harassment. Disinhibited language on first admission seemed to be a protective factor against suicidality and disinhibited motor behaviour seemed to predict self-threatening and violent behaviour. Catatonia and violence in particular seemed to be socially disabling. This exploratory study showed that the BPS is a promising instrument and might represent a system-specific approach in identifying patients at risk for severe sequelae of schizophrenia. This will have to be tested in future prospective studies.


Bern psychopathology scale; Catatonia; risk factors; self-harm; suicide; violence

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