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Online Discussions

Updated 15 December 2009
Printable version

Live Discussion: Do We Need Schizoaffective Disorder?

Stephan Heckers

Rajiv Tandon

SRF Live Discussion Series: Anticipating the DSM-V
Schizophrenia Research Forum is presenting a series of live discussions focusing on areas of contention within the evolution of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) psychotic disorders area.

The first discussion on 22 July 2009, Is the Risk Syndrome for Psychosis Risky Business?, focused on the proposal to create a diagnostic category for people possibly in the prodrome for schizophrenia.

The discussion on 15 December 2009 was led by Stephan Heckers of Vanderbilt University and Rajiv Tandon of the University of Florida, and addressed the value of the schizoaffective diagnosis. Please read the backgrounder below and the article by Heckers mentioned therein. Then add your comments.

Suggested Reading: Heckers S. Is schizoaffective disorder a useful diagnosis? Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2009 Aug ;11(4):332-7. Abstract

Our apologies; due to copyright issues, we will not be able to provide access to Stephan Heckers's article, "Is schizoaffective disorder a useful diagnosis?"

See Draft of proposed DSM-V modifications.

Click on the images below to launch the slidecasts.

View Transcript of Live Discussion — Posted 14 April 2010

View Comments By:
Rajiv Tandon — Posted 4 December 2009
Amresh Shrivastava — Posted 5 December 2009
Eugenia Radulescu — Posted 9 December 2009
Pamela DeRosse — Posted 14 December 2009
Abraham Rudnick — Posted 14 December 2009
Nick Craddock — Posted 14 December 2009
Ray DePaulo, Fernando Goes — Posted 14 December 2009
Jan Fawcett — Posted 15 December 2009

Background Text
Hakon Heimer

Emil Kraepelin divided the psychoses into non-affective (dementia praecox, later schizophrenia) and affective (manic depression, later bipolar disorder) types. This dichotomy continues to this day in diagnostic manuals (see SRF related Live Discussion). As discussed by Stephan Heckers in the background text below, Jacob Kasanin introduced the diagnosis schizoaffective disorder in 1933 (Kasanin, 1933) to describe patients with both prominent psychotic and affective symptoms. The diagnosis, with minor variations, has been part of the DSM since its first edition in 1952.

“However, the current DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder is not reliable and is of limited clinical utility,” Heckers writes. He traces the evolution of the current schizoaffective disorder diagnosis in the DSM and reviews options for revision (see list of options below, courtesy of S. Heckers). Some modifications are minor, whereas others are more radical. Do we have enough evidence to remove the diagnosis from the DSM? What does a revision of the diagnosis schizoaffective disorder mean for the more fundamental dichotomy of affective and non-affective psychoses? We invite your preliminary commentary on the options presented.

Kasanin J. The acute schizoaffective psychoses. Am J Psychiatry 1933, 90:97–126.

Heckers S. Is schizoaffective disorder a useful diagnosis? Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2009 Aug ;11(4):332-7. Abstract

Comments on Online Discussion
Comment by:  Rajiv Tandon
Submitted 4 December 2009 Posted 4 December 2009

Schizoaffective Disorder Considerations for DSM-V...  Read more

View all comments by Rajiv Tandon

Comment by:  Amresh Shrivastava
Submitted 5 December 2009 Posted 5 December 2009

The question, which has come up for discussion, is a...  Read more

View all comments by Amresh Shrivastava

Comment by:  Eugenia Radulescu
Submitted 9 December 2009 Posted 9 December 2009

The proposed discussion is fundamental as the clinical...  Read more

View all comments by Eugenia Radulescu

Comment by:  Pamela DeRosse
Submitted 14 December 2009 Posted 14 December 2009

Contrary to most other areas of investigative medicine,...  Read more

View all comments by Pamela DeRosse

Comment by:  Abraham Rudnick
Submitted 11 December 2009 Posted 14 December 2009

The diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder may be either...  Read more

View all comments by Abraham Rudnick

Comment by:  Nick Craddock
Submitted 14 December 2009 Posted 14 December 2009

I am afraid that due to access difficulties I have read...  Read more

View all comments by Nick Craddock

Comment by:  Ray DePauloFernando Goes
Submitted 14 December 2009 Posted 14 December 2009

As noted by Marneros, schizoaffective disorder remains “a...  Read more

View all comments by Ray DePaulo
View all comments by Fernando Goes

Comment by:  Jan Fawcett
Submitted 15 December 2009 Posted 15 December 2009

The Mood Disorders Committee in general currently supports...  Read more

View all comments by Jan Fawcett
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