Is schizophrenia a ‘real’ illness?

In an attempt to move away from the traditional language used to describe psychosis and schizophrenia, the British Psychological Society (BPS) has launched an update to its thinking on this issue.The foreword of the report it has published sets out the vision:

We hope that in future, services will no longer insist that service users accept one particular view of their problem, namely the traditional view that they have an illness which needs to be treated primarily by medication.

The report comes at a pertinent time for mental health research; last year the same organisation questioned the value of psychiatric diagnosis altogether. This new document seems to cast doubt on many received wisdoms about schizophrenia, even questioning whether it is an illness

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