DSM 5 Schizophrenia (A guide)

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DSM 5 Schizophrenia – A complete guide about this mental illness called Schizophrenia according to the DSM 5.

In this guide, we will discuss the criteria of the DSM 5 Schizophrenia, the category to which this disorder belongs, its causes and treatment.

DSM 5 Schizophrenia

DSM 5 Schizophrenia is presented in DSM 5 as one of the mental diseases that are part of the Spectrum category of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders.

Schizophrenia is characterized by the presence of episodes of psychosis with auditory voices, delusions (which may be false beliefs) and disorderly thinking.

The person who has schizophrenia has delusions or delusions, which can be delusions of persecution, delusions of grandeur, delusions of prejudice, somatic delusions, jealous delusions, these being some of the most common.

In hallucinations, the person has perceptions of things that it has generated in its mind and lives them as if they were real when in reality they are not.

The person can hear things that no one has said, smell things that do not have any smell or see things that are not there.

The symptoms of schizophrenia take the person to a point where, due to these behaviours, it is difficult for them to carry out their daily activities.

Through the DSM 5 Schizophrenia, you can know what are the key criteria to detect the diagnosis and how to differentiate it from other psychotic disorders to provide a more successful treatment.

DSM 5 Schizophrenia criterion

The diagnosis according to the DSM 5 Schizophrenia is based on what are the symptoms, the form and the durability that these present to diagnose a person with schizophrenia.

A. Two or more symptoms mentioned below must occur for a significant part of the time over one month.

The symptoms are:

  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Disorganized speech (the person present inconsistency with the things he says and does)
  • Disorganized behaviour
  • Negative symptoms.

B. A decrease in activities that you did before such as work, share with others or personal care from the beginning of the disorder.

C. Continuous signs of the disorder persist for a minimum of six months.

D. Disorders such as schizoaffective and depressive or bipolar with psychotic characteristics are ruled out because no major manic or depressive episodes have occurred concurrently with active phase symptoms, and mood episodes have occurred during phase symptoms active

E. The symptoms of the disorder are not related to the effects of a substance such as a drug or medicine.

F. In the case of disorders such as autism or early childhood communication disorder, the additional diagnosis of schizophrenia is only made if notable delusions or hallucinations are also present for a minimum of one month.

DSM 5 Schizophrenia (A guide)

DSM 5 Schizophrenia subtypes

The DSM 5 Schizophrenia does not contemplate the subtypes, which were eliminated when version 5  of the manual was published.

In the previous version, DSM 4, the following were contemplated:

  • Paranoid type: there is the presence of delusions and hallucinations, but the thought disorder, disorganized behaviour or affective flattening are not.
  • Disorganized type: in this type, the disorder of thought and flat affection are present together.
  • Catatonic type: the subject can be almost motionless or exhibit agitated and purposeless movements.
  • Undifferentiated type: Psychotic symptoms are present, but the criteria for paranoid, disorganized or catatonic types are not met.
  • Residual type: positive symptoms (delusions, thoughts and disorganized speech and hallucinations) are present only at low intensity.

DSM 5 Schizophrenia causes

The causes of DSM 5 Schizophrenia have been under scientific research since there is no single cause as to why this disorder develops.

There is a multifactorial cause that can explain why there are people who develop schizophrenia.

Genetic factors

Various scientific studies have found evidence that this disorder can be inherited.

They explain that from 80% to 87% the person can inherit this mental illness.

Some studies try to identify which are those genes that cause a person to develop schizophrenia.

The studies have been complex and fragile, so research needs to continue.

Prenatal factors

Some of these studies reject genetics as one of the causative factors of schizophrenia.

Research indicates that, when reviewing a history of a person with schizophrenia and seeing that they have no family members who have had the disease, it is common to find complications around the birth of the person with the disease.

Diseases during pregnancy or at birth, such as influenza virus or malnutrition or perinatal asphyxiation, can contribute to the person having greater risks of developing the disease or already having it.

It also points out the influence of the birth of a baby in various seasons.

Being born in seasons like spring or winter in places like the northern hemisphere is related to people who have the disease.

Social factors

Social factors are taken into account when talking about the causes of schizophrenia.

Living in an urban environment can help the person develop the disease.

Other risk factors may also be poverty, racial discrimination, social exclusion, family dysfunction, unemployment or poor housing conditions.

Other studies highlight that people who have been physically or sexually abused during childhood, a part of them are prone to develop the disorder.

Drugs abuse

While it is true that a part of people with schizophrenia abuse drugs, it has been difficult to find a relationship between drug use and schizophrenia.

Between the two theories for this causality are if the use of substances causes schizophrenia or if the use of substances is a consequence of schizophrenia.

DSM 5 Schizophrenia treatment

The treatment of DSM 5 Schizophrenia is a combination of pharmacological and psychological treatment.

The person who has this type of mental illness must understand that schizophrenia is a disorder that has no cure.

The treatment is intended to reduce symptoms so that the person can have a better quality of life.

The person who is diagnosed with DSM 5 Schizophrenia must understand the importance of following the treatment indicated by the area professional.

This disease does not heal itself over time, however, if the person is not treated for this disease the symptoms can get worse causing problems to obtain a better quality of life.


The pharmacological treatment for DSM 5 Schizophrenia includes a series of medications to improve the behaviours and thoughts of the disease. The most used are:

  • Antipsychotics: These medications are intended to reduce the psychotic symptoms that people with schizophrenia have. These exert brain modifications to make hallucinations disappear.
  • Atypical antipsychotics: the most commonly used are clozapine, olanzapine and risperidone. They are used in the initial phase of the disease, treating the first episode of psychosis.
  • Benzodiazepines: these medicines can be used alone or in combination with antipsychotics. Its purpose is to minimize agitation, thought disorders, delusions and hallucinations.

Psychological treatment

The psychological treatment for DSM 5 Schizophrenia comprises a series of therapies to orient the patient about the disease and help him deal with the symptoms that it presents.

Individual psychotherapy is used, where the person suffering from schizophrenia attends a series of therapeutic appointments where the disease is talked about, how the person suffering from the disorder feels and various techniques that can be implemented to reduce symptoms.

Group therapy is also given, where people who have the disorder meet and have the purpose of talking about how they handle the disease and give support to others who have the disease.

Family education is also important because many people do not know specifically about schizophrenia and may confuse symptoms with another disease or not believe that the person who has schizophrenia has a disease.

When a family has a member who suffers from the disease, knowing more will help you deal with the symptoms and give you the support that member deserves.

DSM 5 Schizophrenia (A guide)

FAQs about DSM 5 Schizophrenia

Can a person take medication for schizophrenia?

A person cannot self-medicate for schizophrenia.

The medication must be given by a mental health professional, who makes the necessary diagnosis and decides the type of treatment a person with this disease should take.

What is the code for the DSM 5 Schizophrenia?

The code for schizophrenia is 295.90

How is DSM 5 Schizophrenia diagnosed?

The DSM 5 Schizophrenia is diagnosed according to the criteria established in the DSM 5, which is the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders and is performed by a mental health professional.

What other disorders are part of the spectrum of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders?

Apart from schizophrenia, there are the following disorders that are part of the spectrum category of schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders:

– Delusional disorder

– Brief psychotic disorder

– Schizophreniform disorder

– Schizoaffective disorder

– Substance / medication-induced psychotic disorder

– Psychotic disorder due to another medical condition

– Unspecified Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorder

How can I support a person suffering from schizophrenia?

If you know someone or have a friend with schizophrenia, it is important to show your support.

Encourage that person to seek professional help and tell them that this is something it will be able to overcome.

Find information about the disorder so you can know more about the symptoms and help at the time of its manifestation.

Keep a positive attitude all the time and let that person know that he can count on you.


The DSM 5 Schizophrenia provides all the criteria to make the correct diagnosis of this type of mental illness.

It is important to know that schizophrenia when diagnosed, its treatment must be performed so that improvement can be seen.

The person suffering from the disease suffers from the symptoms and behaviours of this type of disorder.

Psychoeducation is something important when talking about schizophrenia. It is important to know everything that this disease implies.

For a person with a family member or close friend who suffers from it, it can be difficult, but if the person leads its treatment correctly, it can lead a healthy lifestyle and suffer less from what causes the disease.

  1. Surviving Schizophrenia: A Memoir
  2. Schizophrenia 
  3. A Critical History of Schizophrenia (Palgrave Studies in the Theory and History of Psychology)
  4. Schizophrenia: Causes, Symptoms, Signs, Diagnosis and Treatments – Revised Edition – Illustrated by S. Smith
  5. The Complete Family Guide to Schizophrenia: Helping Your Loved One Get the Most Out of Life
  6. Schizophrenia for Dummies 
  1. AFTER WINTER: A Real Life Schizophrenia Treatment Story
  2. What it’s like Living with Schizophrenia/Schizoaffective Disorder
  3. Why Do People With Schizophrenia See Things (Schizophrenia Explained)?


  1. Schizophrenia 
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