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Conspiracy of silence? Telling patients with schizophrenia their diagnosis

  • Robert A. Clafferty (a1), Elaine McCabe (a1) and Keith W. Brown (a1)
Extract
Aims and Method

We undertook a postal questionnaire survey of all consultant psychiatrists working in Scotland to examine whether psychiatrists themselves may contribute to the misunderstandings surrounding schizophrenia by avoiding discussion of the diagnosis with their patients.

Results

Two-hundred and forty-six (76%) responded. Ninety-five per cent thought the consultant psychiatrist was the most appropriate person to tell a patient their diagnosis of schizophrenia, although only 59% reported doing so in the first established episode of schizophrenia, rising to 89% for recurrent schizophrenia. Fifteen per cent would not use the term ‘schizophrenia’ and a variety of confusing terminology was reported. Over 95% reported telling patients they had mood disorders or anxiety, under 50% that they had dementia or personality disorders.

Clinical Implication

Greater openness by psychiatrists about the diagnosis of schizophrenia may be an essential first step in reducing stigma.

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Copyright
This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 0955-6036
  • EISSN: 1472-1473
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Conspiracy of silence? Telling patients with schizophrenia their diagnosis

  • Robert A. Clafferty (a1), Elaine McCabe (a1) and Keith W. Brown (a1)
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