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, 5 (1), 53-5

Renaming Schizophrenia: A Japanese Perspective

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Renaming Schizophrenia: A Japanese Perspective

Mitsumoto Sato. World Psychiatry.

Abstract

In order to contribute to reduce the stigma related to schizophrenia and to improve clinical practice in the management of the disorder, the Japanese Society of Psychiatry and Neurology changed in 2002 the old term for the disorder, "Seishin Bunretsu Byo" ("mind-split-disease"), into the new term of "Togo Shitcho Sho" ("integration disorder"). The renaming was triggered by the request of a patients' families group. The main reasons for the renaming were the ambiguity of the old term, the recent advances in schizophrenia research, and the deep-rooted negative image of schizophrenia, in part related to the long-term inhumane treatment of most people with the disorder in the past. The renaming was associated with the shift from the Kraepelinian disease concept to the vulnerability-stress model. A survey carried out seven months after renaming in all prefectures of Japan found that the old term had been replaced by the new one in about 78% of cases. The renaming increased the percentage of cases in which patients were informed of the diagnosis from 36.7% to 69.7% in three years. Eighty-six percent of psychiatrists in the Miyagi prefecture found the new term more suitable to inform patients of the diagnosis as well as to explain the modern concept of the disorder. The Japanese treatment guideline for "Togo Shitcho Sho" was developed in 2004 under the framework of the vulnerability-stress model.

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