Schizophrenia Spectrum And Other Psychotic Disorders: Schizophrenia In The DSM

Reviewed by Aaron Horn, LMFT

Published 10/11/2022

There’s a category in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, also called the DSM, for each group of mental health disorders. The DSM is used by medical and mental health professionals to diagnose mental health conditions. The diagnostic and statistical manual has gone through many changes since the first edition was released. Changes in the DSM continue to occur as we learn more about mental health conditions. The most recent version of the DSM, which is the DSM-5, was released in the year 2013, and there were quite a few changes made between this version of the DSM and the previous DSM-4. If you are researching schizophrenia and related disorders, or if you have one of these disorders yourself, you may have heard of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, or you may have heard “schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders”.But, what do these terms mean? Keep reading to learn more about schizophrenia and schizophrenia spectrum disorders.

What is Schizophrenia Spectrum and other Psychotic Disorders?

“Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders” is a category in the fifth version of the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders or the DSM-5. The full list of disorders listed in this category include:

  • Delusional Disorder
  • Brief Psychotic Disorder
  • Schizophreniform Disorder
  • Schizotypal Personality Disorder (STPD)*
  • Schizophrenia
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Substance/Medication-Induced Psychotic Disorder
  • Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition

*Note that Schizotypal Personality Disorder (STPD) is a disorder that is also considered a personality disorder and is both grouped with schizophrenia spectrum and related disorders and personality disorders. It is considered a cluster A personality disorder.

Each of these disorders has its own criteria or requirements for diagnosis.  Schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders are characterized by symptoms of psychosis, which may include a loss of touch with reality, hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thoughts, disorganized speech, or paranoia. To receive a formal diagnosis for any disorder under the category of schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders or any other mental health condition, you must visit a medical or mental health care provider who is qualified to give you an evaluation. While these disorders have similarities, they are not the same.

About Schizophrenia Spectrum And Other Psychotic Disorders

Schizophreniform Disorder is characterized by symptoms of schizophrenia (see below) that last for a shorter duration of time than they would in someone with a schizophrenia diagnosis.

Schizophrenia is a disorder characterized by symptoms that suggest a disconnect from reality, including hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, and other symptoms, like disorganized speech.

Schizoaffective Disorder is characterized by a combination of schizophrenia symptoms and mood disorder symptoms.

Delusional Disorder is characterized by delusions (firmly held false beliefs). With this disorder, someone will experience delusions or delusions but with no hallucinations, except for hallucinations that relate to or back up the delusion. Save for these delusions, people with delusional disorder can typically function normally and engage in daily activities without disruption.

Brief Psychotic Disorder is characterized by symptoms of psychotic disorders (such as hallucinations) that are only present for one day to less than one month. It should be specified if this time period occurs post-partum, during acute stress, or with other specifiers. The brief psychotic disorder is distinguished from schizophreniform disorder and schizophrenia based on one’s psychosis duration.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder (STPD) is characterized by a longstanding and ongoing group of symptoms such as unusual beliefs, perceptions, or behaviors, feelings that external events or happenings have an unusual and personal meaning, trouble socializing with others, unusual speech or unusual speaking patterns, severe social anxiety, and paranoid thoughts or beliefs.

Substance/Medication-Induced Psychotic Disorder is characterized by psychotic symptoms caused by substances.

Psychotic Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition is characterized by psychotic symptoms caused by another medical disorder or complication, such as brain tumors or a stroke.

Signs Of Schizophrenia

Signs of schizophrenia may include but are not limited to:

  • Hallucinations, which often include either seeing things that aren’t there or hearing things that are not there
  • Delusions, which refers to firmly held false beliefs
  • Disorganized thoughts and disorganized speech
  • Abnormal posture or abnormal movements
  • Trouble concentrating or focusing
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Negative symptoms (explained below)

Negative symptoms seen in those with schizophrenia refer to symptoms that “take away,” where positive symptoms referred to symptoms that add something. Often, when we hear the words positive and negative, we think of good and bad, but that is not how these words are used in this context. In this context, negative symptoms refer to symptoms such as a flat affect, lack of emotional expression, and poverty of speech. According to the DSM-5, signs of disturbance must impact a person for six months or more for a schizophrenia diagnosis to occur. During those six months, someone must be impacted by two or more of the following symptoms for at least one month (or less ONLY if these symptoms have been treated): delusions, hallucinations, disorganized speech, grossly disorganized or catatonic behavior, and negative symptoms.

What Happens After A Diagnosis of Schizophrenia?

After schizophrenia and similar disorders are diagnosed, maintenance treatment is often vital. Therapy is a common treatment option that can also be combined with other treatment options, such as medications. Always consult a medical or mental health professional for advice and guidance on medication and specific treatment options. Common therapies used for schizophrenia include cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT and cognitive enhancement therapy or CET. Like other treatment options, it is vital to speak with a medical or mental health provider to see what is best for you. It is possible to live a full, happy, and healthy life with schizophrenia. Many disorders under the category of Schizophrenia Spectrum And Other Psychotic Disorders benefit from the same or similar treatments and are treated similarly despite their differences.

Peer Support For Schizophrenia Spectrum And Other Psychotic Disorders

Peer support isn’t a replacement for medical or mental health care, but it can be an excellent supplement to treatment. Peer support options include support groups and online message boards or forums. The Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America or SARDAA is an excellent resource for finding peer support and other forms of support or care and additional information about schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders. There are support groups available that meet online, in person, and over voice call for a variety of purposes, including support groups that are meant for people living with schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders, support groups for loved ones of those with psychotic disorders, and even those meant for job-related networking. Every support group has its own rules, so it is important to learn the group’s specific rules before you attend the group. Support groups are meant to increase one’s sense of community and understanding from others. They can be highly advantageous for many people living with mental health conditions and caregivers or loved ones of those living with mental health conditions. For online forums or message boards created for those with schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders, there are a variety of websites you can use, including but not limited to and

Statistics On Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders

Here are statistics on the schizophrenia spectrum and other psychotic disorders and their prevalence:

  • According to the world health organization, 20 million individuals worldwide live with schizophrenia.
  • It is common for people with schizophrenia to have more than one diagnosis, also referred to as a comorbid health condition. Common comorbidities seen in schizophrenia include anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder, depressive disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and physical health concerns. Comorbid conditions are also common in those with schizoaffective disorder and other disorders.
  • The delusional disorder prevalence is only about 0.2%, making it rarer than many related disorders, including schizophrenia.
  • Schizoaffective disorder is often misdiagnosed at first, often solely as a mood disorder. Some sources say that it’s actually one of the mostfrequently misdiagnosed conditions.
  • It is said that schizoaffective disorder impacts about one out of every 200 people, or 0.5% of the population.

Take The Mind Diagnostics Schizophrenia Test

Do you think that you could have schizophrenia or schizophrenia symptoms? If so, consider taking the Mind Diagnostics schizophrenia test. While taking the test cannot replace a diagnosis or evaluation from a medical or mental health provider, it can give you insight into your symptoms, and it might just be the first step to getting the help you need.  Although schizophrenia can impact people of all age groups, the Mind Diagnostics schizophrenia test is for those aged 18 and older. After you complete the quiz and type in your email address, you’ll receive your results right away.

To take the Mind Diagnostics Schizophrenia test, click on this link or copy and paste it into your browser: