Dissociative identity disorder and schizophrenia: Differential diagnosis and theoretical issues

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Abstract

Schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder (DID) are typically thought of as unrelated syndromes—a genetically based psychotic disorder versus a trauma-based dissociative disorder—and are categorized as such by the DSM-IV. However, substantial data exist to document the elevated occurrence of psychotic symptoms in DID; awareness of these features is necessary to prevent diagnostic confusion. Recent research has also pointed out that schizophrenia and DID overlap not only in psychotic symptoms but also in terms of traumatic antecedents, leading to a number of suggestions for revision of our clinical, theoretical, and nosologic understanding of the relationship between these two disorders.

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