How long does schizophreniform disorder last?

Samir Kadri
Author: Samir Kadri Medical Reviewer: Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD Last updated:

If you notice yourself behaving abnormally or erratically, thinking in a delusional manner about different events in your life, or regularly hallucinating, you may have schizophreniform disorder.

It can feel disconcerting to experience the above symptoms, and it is recommended you consult a doctor if you do. The doctor will assess your symptoms and, if necessary, refer you to a mental health professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist for a consultation.

If you are deemed to show symptoms of schizophreniform disorder, the encouraging news is that it is a temporary disorder. Managing your symptoms correctly gives you the best chance of overcoming your symptoms and living a life free of psychosis.

How long does schizophreniform disorder last?

Schizophreniform disorder is a short-term psychotic illness with a similar profile to schizophrenia, however sufferers only present symptoms for one to six months. [1]

If the symptoms persist for more than six months, the diagnosis may be changed to schizophrenia. However, it’s important to note that not all individuals with schizophreniform disorder go on to develop schizophrenia.

The duration of schizophreniform disorder can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience symptoms for only a few weeks or months, while others may have a more extended course.

Treatment, such as medication and therapy, can help manage symptoms and improve outcomes for individuals with schizophreniform disorder.

How can treatment improve schizophreniform disorder?

Treatment for schizophreniform disorder can have a significant impact on the duration and outcome of the condition. The goal of treatment is to alleviate symptoms, improve cognitive functioning, and give a patient the best chance of not developing schizophrenia.

Effective treatment for schizophreniform disorder typically involves a combination of medication, such as antipsychotic drugs, and psychosocial interventions like therapy and support services.

Medications help manage symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized thinking, while therapy can assist in improving coping skills, reducing stress, and enhancing social and occupational functioning.

Engaging in treatment early and adhering to the recommended treatment plan can potentially shorten the duration of schizophreniform disorder. Prompt intervention and comprehensive treatment may help prevent symptom exacerbation and support the individual’s recovery.

It’s important to note that the response to treatment can vary from person to person. Some individuals may respond well to treatment and experience a significant reduction in symptoms within the defined time frame of schizophreniform disorder, while others may require more time or ongoing treatment to achieve stability.

If symptoms do resolve, drug treatments are continued for 12 months and gradually tapered off. [1]. During this period, patients are closely monitored for any re-emergence of psychotic symptoms. [1]

It is recommended to seek medical advice for an accurate diagnosis, individualized treatment plan, and regular monitoring of symptoms and progress. Doctors and mental health professionals can provide the most expert counsel tailored to your specific situation.

What questions should I ask a medical professional about schizophreniform disorder?

When discussing schizophreniform disorder with your doctor, it’s essential to ask questions that help you better understand the condition, its symptoms, and the recommended treatment. Here are some questions you might consider asking:

  1. What is schizophreniform disorder, and how does it differ from other related mental disorders?
  2. What are the common symptoms of schizophreniform disorder?
  3. Will I require hospitalization if I present symptoms?
  4. What are the potential risks or complications associated with schizophreniform disorder?
  5. What diagnostic tests or assessments are used to determine the presence of schizophreniform disorder?
  6. Are my symptoms indicative of another mental health disorder, such as major depressive disorder?
  7. What medications are commonly prescribed for schizophreniform disorder, and what are their potential side effects?
  8. Are there any non-medication approaches, such as therapy or psychosocial interventions, that are recommended for treating schizophreniform disorder?
  9. How long is the typical duration of treatment for schizophreniform disorder?
  10. What are the expected outcomes and prognosis for individuals with schizophreniform disorder?
  11. Are there any lifestyle changes or self-care strategies that can support recovery from schizophreniform disorder?
  12. How can I involve family members or loved ones in the treatment process?
  13. Are there any support groups or resources available for individuals with schizophreniform disorder and their families?

Remember that these questions are just a starting point, and you may have additional queries specific to your situation. It’s crucial to be as honest as possible with your doctor to gain a comprehensive understanding of your mental health condition and discover the treatment option that best suits your needs.

  1. Tamminga, C. (2023b, April 18). Schizophreniform Disorder. MSD Manual Professional Edition.
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Samir Kadri
Author Samir Kadri Writer

Samir Kadri is a medical writer with a non-profit sector background, committed to raising awareness about mental health.

Published: Jul 28th 2023, Last edited: Feb 21st 2024

Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD
Medical Reviewer Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD LSW, MSW

Dr. Jenni Jacobsen, PhD is a medical reviewer, licensed social worker, and behavioral health consultant, holding a PhD in clinical psychology.

Content reviewed by a medical professional. Last reviewed: Jul 27th 2023