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Study Notes

Schizophrenia: Comorbidity

A Level

Comorbidity refers to more than one disorders or diseases that exist alongside a primary diagnosis, which is the reason a patient gets referred and/or treated. So in this context it is the occurrence of two illnesses or conditions together; for example, a person has both schizophrenia and a personality disorder. Where two conditions are frequently diagnosed together it calls into question the validity of the classification of both illnesses. It could be that the findings of research are due to psychiatrists not being able to tell the difference between the two conditions. In terms of classification, it may be that, if very severe depression looks a lot like schizophrenia and vice versa, then they might be better seen as a single condition.

Buckley et al. (2009) concluded that around half of patients with a diagnosis of schizophrenia also have a diagnosis of depression (50%) or substance abuse (47%). Post-traumatic stress occurred in 29% of cases and OCD in 23%, showing that schizophrenia commonly occurs alongside other mental illnesses and the disorders are co-morbid.

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