Schizophrenia is a psychiatric diagnosis that carries a heavy social stigma. However, experts have also questioned the validity and utility of the label. In response, some experts and service-user groups have called for different conceptualizations and terms for those experiencing psychotic symptoms.
Doctors Matcheri Keshavan and Raquelle Mesholam-Gately are currently tackling this issue. They recently completed a project in collaboration with the Consumer Advisory Board of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, MA, examining the benefits and drawbacks of renaming schizophrenia.
Matcheri Keshavan, M.D. is the Stanley Cobb Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Academic Head of Psychiatry and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Massachusetts Mental Health Center.
Raquelle Mesholam-Gately, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. She is also the director of the Consumer Advisory Board and conducts neuropsychology research in the Psychosis Research Program at the Massachusetts Mental Health Center.
In this interview, they discuss what they learned about the issues surrounding the renaming of schizophrenia in their research with consumers and service users. In particular, they reflect on how this psychiatric diagnosis can impact the therapeutic alliance necessary for effective treatment and the overall quality of life of people diagnosed.
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