Is recovery attainable once someone had a diagnosis of schizophrenia? The short answer is, “it depends.” The answer has a lot to do with how recovery is defined, as will be discussed in greater detail in this review. Currently there is no agreed-on definition of recovery pertaining to someone with schizophrenia or a related persistent psychotic disorder. Therefore, we will review the various meanings in how the word “recovery” is used in the context of someone with schizophrenia. It is my belief that a large part of the current difficulties arise from the lack of precision in some of the terminology, which then creates misunderstanding and unnecessary controversy.
This review will try to sort out what is — and is not — known about the recovery process. To make matters even more complicated, right now there is no consensus among researchers as to whether schizophrenia is best characterized as a progressive disorder whose natural history is to get worse with time, or is a neurodevelopmental problem that, while serious, is not progressive. If the field cannot come to agreement on this issue, this uncertainty creates many challenges in helping clinicians formulate appropriate long-term treatment plans.
Reported by Peter J. Weiden, MD
Medscape Psychiatry & Mental Health
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