Introduction: Psychiatrist´s opinion on functional recovery (FR) of patients with schizophrenia may modulate the therapeutic expectations and how to manage the disease.
Objective: This study aims to know the opinion of psychiatrists on FR, and to analyze the relationship between functioning and symptoms.
Methods: A qualitative and quantitative, descriptive and exploratory study. Two data collection techniques were used: a) a written survey consisting of 12 questions, directly, anonymously and confidentially answered by 132 psychiatrists; b) 5 focus group discussions involving 42 psychiatrists.
Results: 69.8% of psychiatrists considered realistic to get FR in schizophrenia and another 30.1% chose an intermediate response. The clinical priority for the 94% is to optimize the functional outcome of their patients, but only 14.4% commonly use rating scales. 91.7 % believed that there are differences between typical and atypical antipsychotics in terms of FR, and 83.3% believed essential to implement psychosocial interventions to achieve this goal. According to psychiatrists, FR is a complex concept and a primary therapeutic goal. Negative and cognitive symptoms are the strongest predictors of poor functioning. The low functioning of a patient, even in symptomatic stability, usually requires a re-evaluation of treatment.
Conclusion: For psychiatrists, FR is a useful concept and a clinical priority, although there are doubts about how to achieve it.