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October 1976

Schizo-affective Psychosis: Fact or Fiction?A Survey of the Literature

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Psychiatry, University of Southern California School of Medicine, Los Angeles.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1976;33(10):1167-1178. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1976.01770100029002

• The classification of functional psychoses has traditionally been dichotomous with schizophrenia and manic-depressive disorder, which are considered separate entities. However, the psychiatric literature is replete with descriptions of psychoses with mixed features. A variety of names has been applied to these psychoses, including the term "schizo-affective." Confusion exists regarding the nature of these psychoses, much of it resulting from a tendency to limit investigation to an acute view of symptom complexes.

This article examines the schizo-affective states across a variety of dimensions, including the acute symptomatologic picture, response to lithium carbonate therapy, follow-up studies, family history, and genetics. While the term "schizoaffective," as commonly used, probably describes a heterogeneous group of psychoses, considerable evidence supports the hypothesis that at least a subgroup of these psychoses has a definite relationship to the major affective disorders.

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