Schizoaffective disorder – the reliability of its clinical diagnostic use

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Abstract

Objective

Patients with psychoses often suffer from affective symptoms. The originally broad concept of schizoaffective disorder (SAD) has been significantly narrowed, transformed into a convoluted set of criteria both in the ICD-10 and DSM-IV. We examined the reliability of the clinical use of this diagnosis in university settings.

Method

All patients discharged from two university hospitals in Copenhagen in year 2002 with a diagnosis of ICD-10 SAD (n = 59) were re-evaluated using the Operational Criteria (OPCRIT) checklist expanded by additional items and applied to hospital chart material. Diagnoses were allocated by OPCRIT algorithm and by consensus of two psychiatrists.

Results

No patients fulfilled the SAD lifetime diagnosis according to DSM-IV criteria and the raters diagnosed only six patients as possible ICD-10 SAD.

Conclusion

A moratorium on the clinical use of the SAD diagnosis is suggested.

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