Schizophrenia spectrum disorders attract great interest among clinicians, researchers, and the lay public. While the diagnostic features of schizophrenia have remained unchanged for more than 100 years, the mechanism of illness has remained elusive. There is increasing evidence that the categorical diagnosis of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders contributes to this lack of progress. The 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) continues the categorical classification of psychiatric disorders since the research needed to establish a new nosology of equal or greater validity is lacking. However, even within a categorical system, the DSM-5 aims to capture the underlying dimensional structure of psychosis. The domains of psychopathology that define psychotic disorders are presented not simply as features of schizophrenia. The level, the number, and the duration of psychotic signs and symptoms are used to demarcate psychotic disorders from each other. Finally, the categorical assessment is complemented with a dimensional assessment of psychosis that allows for more specific and individualized assessment of patients. The structure of psychosis as outlined in the DSM-5 may serve as a stepping-stone towards a more valid classification system, as we await new data to redefine psychotic disorders.
Keywords: DSM; Diagnosis; Nosology; Psychotic disorders; Schizophrenia.
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