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‘Schizophrenia is a dirty word’: service users' experiences of receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia

  • Lorna Howe (a1), Anna Tickle (a1) (a2) and Ian Brown (a2)
Abstract
Aims and method

To explore service users' experiences of receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia and the stigma associated with the diagnostic label. Seven participants were interviewed about their perceptions of these experiences. Interviews were analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis.

Results

Five superordinate themes resulted from the analysis: (1) avoidance of the diagnosis of schizophrenia; (2) stigma and diagnostic labels; (3) lack of understanding of schizophrenia; (4) managing stigma to maintain normality; (5) being ‘schizophrenic’. These, together with their subthemes, highlighted avoidance of the term schizophrenia by participants and use of alternative terms by professionals, which limited opportunities for understanding the label and challenging associated stigma. Participants strived to maintain normality despite potential stigma.

Clinical implications

There is a need to address the process of giving a diagnosis as a phenomenon of consequence within its own terms. Implications relate to how professionals deliver and discuss the diagnosis of schizophrenia.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Lorna Howe (lorna.howe@cambiangroup.com)
Footnotes
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© 2014 The Royal College of Psychiatrists. This is an open-access article published by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Declaration of interest

None.

Footnotes
References
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BJPsych Bulletin
  • ISSN: 2053-4868
  • EISSN: 2053-4876
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-bulletin
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‘Schizophrenia is a dirty word’: service users' experiences of receiving a diagnosis of schizophrenia

  • Lorna Howe (a1), Anna Tickle (a1) (a2) and Ian Brown (a2)
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