From the Editor

No such thing as schizophrenia?

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This issue of Current Psychiatry poses the question: “Does schizophrenia exist?” Isn’t it shocking that we are still asking this in 2006? After all, our specialty treats a sizable proportion of patients diagnosed with schizophrenia.

I have been trying to think of analogous questions other Quadrant HealthCom Inc. specialty journals might consider:

  • Would Contemporary Surgery ask “Does appendicitis exist?”
  • Would The Journal of Family Practice ask “Does the common cold exist?”
  • Would OBG Management ask “Does pregnancy exist?” (Well, maybe our question about schizophrenia is not quite that extreme.)

C. Raymond Lake, MD, PhD, professor of psychiatry at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, and Nathaniel Hurwitz, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine, make a strong case that psychiatrists frequently fail to recognize severe bipolar disorder by assuming that psychosis means schizophrenia. These authors then examine recent evidence that schizophrenia may not exist as an independent disorder.

Because Drs. Lake and Hurwitz acknowledge that their view is a minority opinion, we asked Henry A. Nasrallah, MD, editor of Schizophrenia Research, for his perspective. He argues persuasively for a fundamental distinction between schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Discussions such as this reinforce my belief that psychiatry continues to evolve as a medical specialty. What do you think? To voice your opinion, click here. We will publish selected letters in Current Psychiatry.

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