Schizophreniform disorder is a mental disorder characterized by a transitory psychotic episode. The most common symptoms are: delusions, hallucinations, catatonic behavior, social withdrawal, and disorganized speech. Other symptoms may include: lack of energy, poor hygiene, apathy, etc. These are all very similar to schizophrenia, but they will disappear spontaneously after 1-2 months (but less than 6 months).
V. Magnan described this disorder in the 19th century as one with an unexpected debut, unsystematic symptoms, and delirium prone to mystical and persecutory themes, aprosexia, and spatiotemporal confusion.
The prevalence of schizophreniform disorder is distributed among sexes equally, but the peak onset will be between ages of 18-24 years in men and 24-35 years in women.
If the symptoms persist beyond 6 months we no longer face a schizophreniform disorder diagnosis, but one of schizophrenia. There is also a significant risk associated with schizophreniform patients, especially if they go into a depression after their psychotic episodes. This is where psychotherapy may help patients understand their psychotic episodes and it is likely to improve the prognosis and recovery as patients are less prone to experience relapse.
I. Barrelet published a statistical prognosis regarding this disorder in 1986 showing the following evolution: 1 out of 7 cases are actually signs of schizophrenia, 1 out of 4 cases was the sign of bipolar disorder psychosis, and in 1 out of 10 cases it was an acute symptom of bipolar disorder. However, despite this statistic, prognosis is usually optimistic. A relapse is influenced by physical health, use of substances and alcohol, family history, environment, and other episodes.