Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Dear Counselor Shelley,

I heard someone referred to as "a high functioning schizophrenic" the other day. Can you tell me what that means?


Dear Curious,

"High functioning schizophrenic" is not an official DSM IV* diagnosis. However, this is a term used by both professionals and non-professionals. "High functioning schizophrenic" refers to a person diagnosed with schizophrenia who is generally functioning well. This does not mean that everyday will be a good day. Likely, some symptoms will remain. However, symptoms causing the most impairment in functioning will be absent, or more than likely, greatly reduced. A period of "high functioning" can last for a few weeks to many years. Length is usually, but not always, determined by the amount of stress the patient is experiencing and if they are recieving consistant appropriate treatment.

Thanks for the great question Curious!

Remember, my office door is always open. E-mail your professional or personal questions to me. I would love to hear them!

* Not familiar with the DSM IV? Check out the clinic archives.

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