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Schizophr Bull. 1993;19(1):71-84.

Subtype progression and pathophysiologic deterioration in early schizophrenia.

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  • 1Yale Psychiatric Institute, New Haven, CT 06520-7378.


It is important to elaborate what we know about the symptomatic, syndromal, and functional course of schizophrenia in order to test models for this illness. The sample of schizophrenic patients from the Chestnut Lodge followup study was subtyped using classical (modified DSM-III-R) criteria and deficit/nondeficit (Schedule for the Deficit Syndrome) criteria. During the first 5 years of manifest illness, the subtype phenomenologies were moderately stable. Instability consisted of a drift toward disorganization (hebephrenia) and nonspecificity (undifferentiated) among the classical subtypes, and toward the deficit subtype within that categorization. Over the same time, positive symptoms were relatively stable, but negative symptoms became significantly worse. Such changes probably reflect "deterioration" because they were associated with poorer functional outcome an average of 15 years later. These data dovetail with other reports in the literature and suggest a hierarchy of symptomatic/syndromal progression in early manifest schizophrenia that may reflect active deterioration processes at work. We suggest that any theory of schizophrenic pathophysiology must account for these patterns of symptom course.

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