Often used indiscriminately to define dangerous psychiatric disorders, the word schizophrenia could be rethought. In any case, this is what doctors, psychiatrists and associations who wish to debate a new name are asking.
In a column published Tuesday February 6 in The world, a collective of doctors and patients, called for the outright abandonment of the term schizophrenia in medicine. Having left its original use, the term today suffers from “stereotypes” and “misconceptions”, harmful to patients.
A widespread and highly variable psychiatric illness
Greek schizo which means to split and wood, which designates the mind, schizophrenia is a psychiatric illness characterized by a set of very variable symptoms ranging from “hallucinations” to “cognitive difficulties” and “social withdrawal” we can read on the Inserm website. A very widespread disease which also affects 1% of the world population. Certainly, schizophrenia can disrupt patients’ reality, and in some cases go as far as hallucinations and dangerous actions. “But for the vast majority of people diagnosed, this risk does not exist. indicates the platform.
But a dangerous image in common language
However, this is what the signatories criticize, the very word peddles false ideas.
“The stereotypes that circulate about schizophrenia are still too often relayed by the media, which associate schizophrenia and split personality or duplicity, schizophrenia and violence/criminality, or schizophrenia and extreme dangerousness.”
A twist of reality that would harm mental illness itself and the affected public.
“The negative social representations and the consequences of stigma attached to them are well known and harmful, to the point that those affected are likely to suffer more from them than from the disorder itself.”
“French psychiatry must take responsibility for changing its care practices and remove schizophrenic disorders from the classifications of psychological disorders,” they conclude.
A beneficial change that has already taken place in Japan
The debate is not only French. In 1992, Japanese patients and their families called on public opinion and public authorities to change the word for schizophrenia – seishin bunretsu byo (“disease torn apart by the mind”). Ten years later, Japan opted for a more inclusive term “integration disorder”. A destigmatization which had a notable effect on the diagnosis, since it doubled in two years. People who are now taken care of properly.